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Physiotherapy guide

Physiotherapy is not simply about expert massages. It involves research, consultation, administration and much more.

Physiotherapist treating a patient in a patient's office


  1. What's Physiotherapy?

  2. Why study Physiotherapy?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Physiotherapy graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a specialist branch of medicine that helps remediate impairments in movement, and promote patients' quality of life through physical intervention to improve mobility and function.

Why study Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy has plenty of hours in the classroom, allowing you to learn the practice inside out from the experts.

Aside from the usual brand of lectures and seminars as the core of learning, there's a fun practical aspect to studying the subject area – problem-based learning, tutorials and eventually work experience in hospitals.

A clear reason why you might study Physiotherapy is to help those who are in pain. It can make invaluable changes to a person's quality of life. Serious health problems like cystic fibrosis and arthritis can be effectively treated with physiotherapy. 

Physiotherapy is a vocational career so its tuition reflects this fact. All UK universities offering degrees in the subject area promise their students clinical placements across a range of healthcare settings. This gives you the chance to see your learning in action, giving context to all the time spent studying the theory. You'll graduate well prepared for a career in the field.

The graduate prospects for Physiotherapy students are impressively high. Courses provide you with good skills which will always be in demand, and so by gaining an official qualification, you are investing in your future.

Careers in sport are notoriously hard to come by but study for a degree in Physiotherapy and you'll give yourself a decent chance of being employed in this area. You could become a sports injury specialist for a professional sports team, the NHS or a private clinic.

Qualified physiotherapists working for the NHS start on a minimum salary of £23,032 a year. Work in the private sector and you could earn even more.

Physiotherapist assisting a patient while exercising

What jobs can you get as a Physiotherapy graduate?

Physiotherapy has a clear careers passage, and if you decide to pursue a degree in it you should consider committing to it as a career. However, there are a number of different paths through the field.

Particular job areas for a physiotherapist to work in include geriatric medicine, intensive care, mental health, outpatients, orthopaedics, paediatrics and stroke services.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Physiotherapy graduates, such as the NHS.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need?

Entry requirements fluctuate from university to university and course to course.

Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BSc Physiotherapy
  • BSc Sport Rehabilitation and Exercise Science
  • International Foundation Programme (inc. Physio and Paramedic Science)
  • BSc Veterinary Studies (Physiotherapy)

How will you be assessed?

You'll be heavily assessed while working on placement. It's based on a knowledge and skills framework that's fully explained to you once you begin the course.

When not on placement, you’ll be involved in practical and clinical sessions. Physiotherapy courses tend to have a small intake so you can be sure of small, supportive learning groups and low staff-to-student ratios.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MSc in Physiotherapy, as well as MSc Applied Exercise Physiology, MRes Exercise Physiology, PgCert Vocational Rehabilitation and MSc Cognitive Rehabilitation.

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