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What is a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists support people to stay independent for as long as possible. They assist recovery by helping to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. At the core of physiotherapy is the patient’s involvement in their own care and treatment through education, advice and participation.

Is physiotherapy the right career for me?

Physiotherapy is a science-based profession so you will need to have an interest in anatomy, physiology and health science.

As a physiotherapist you will need to be:

  • Caring
  • Good with people and able to motivate them
  • Able to work as part of multidisciplinary team as well as having the ability to use your initiative

What do physiotherapists do?

Taking a ‘whole-person’ approach to health and wellbeing (including the patient’s general lifestyle) physiotherapists work with people who have a wide range of conditions, such as:

  • Neurological – stroke, multiple sclerosis,Parkinson’s disease
  • Musculoskeletal – back pain, whiplash related neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis
  • Cardiovascular – chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after a heart attack
  • Respiratory – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, cystic fibrosis
  • Long term medical conditions

Once a physiotherapist has assessed the problem they will decide how to treat it. This could be through movement and exercise or manual therapy (such as massage).

Where do physiotherapists work?

Training and working as a physiotherapist offers you the opportunity to work in a number of settings, including:

  • Hospitals/acute hospitals
  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Sports clubs, gyms and the leisure sector
  • Patient’s homes

How much do physiotherapists earn?

In the NHS, an entry level qualified physiotherapist position would start at Band 5; please see our Pay and Benefits section for more information.

What career progression opportunities are available for physiotherapists?

Physiotherapy offers many different and flexible employment options. Once you’ve qualified and gained some clinical experience you could become a:

  • Consultant physiotherapist in musculoskeletal services
  • Lecturer in a university
  • Physiotherapist for a national sports team
  • Researcher for a patient charity such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Running your own private practice
  • Service Manager

How do I become physiotherapist?

Do I need a degree? Yes, if you want to work in the NHS you will need to complete a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved course
Where can I train in Wales? Cardiff University.
Is there funding available? Yes, for further information about available funding and eligibility please visit Student Awards Services.
Are there postgraduate opportunities? The HCPC website provides details of approved postgraduate programmes in the UK.
How do I get experience? To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.

The Charted Society for Physiotherapy (CSP) also has useful information about getting work experience.
How do I apply for a job? Vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs; visit our Work section for more information.

The CSP also has a job section.

Useful links: