Many of you have heard of physical therapy, but what exactly is a physiotherapist? In this blog, we’ll go over what a physiotherapist does, how physiotherapy differs from physical therapy, the skills that every physiotherapist should have, and how to become a physiotherapist. So, continue reading and feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments section below!
What is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a professional who helps patients who are recovering from accidents, injuries, strokes, and other ailments. Physiotherapists also work with children who have mental or physical disabilities, as well as elderly people who have mobility issues. They focus on restoring the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and respiratory systems of their patients.
What are Some of Common Treatments Used by Physiotherapists?
Physiotherapists work in a variety of different units such as intensive care, pediatrics, and occupational health. Due to the wide array of cases that they handle, they use many different types of treatments.
Common treatments used in physiotherapy include:
- Hands-on techniques such as muscle stretching, joint manipulation, and massage
- Therapeutic exercise
- Acupuncture and dry needling
Physiotherapy vs. Physical Therapy
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same profession? The answer will differ depending on who you ask. While there are many similarities between the two, some people believe that their small differences set them apart. Minor distinctions or not, you can read more about this debate in our article titled What’s the Difference? Physiotherapy Vs. Physical Therapy. Make sure you share your stance on the issue in the comments section!
Skills of a Physiotherapist
Before you worry about how to become a physiotherapist, it’s important to understand the skills required for the job. Physiotherapists work with other healthcare professionals as a part of a team to help their patients. The ideal physiotherapist should have the following qualities:
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
- Excellent organizational skills
- Ability to solve problems quickly and effectively
- Ability to work under pressure and time constraints
- Interest in health, physiology, anatomy, and patient wellbeing
How to Become a Physiotherapist
Do you think you have what it takes to become a physiotherapist? Great! In order to start practicing, you must complete a graduate degree in physiotherapy accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Before you apply to a physiotherapy program, you must earn a related bachelor’s degree. Students pass several science courses such as physiology, psychology, and biology to be accepted. If you focused on health sciences for your undergraduate degree, you most likely have the necessary requirements to apply for a physiology graduate program.
If you majored in arts and humanities and have not completed all of the required courses, you will not have to earn another bachelor’s degree. Instead, you need to take these courses at an accredited college. Becoming a non-matriculated student means that you are only enrolled in classes that you need. Registering as a non-matriculated student will let your college know that you are not there to earn another degree.
Another path you can take is enrolling in a community college to earn the credits that you need. These classes will most likely cost less than the ones offered at a four-year school. This option is great for students looking to save money. The number of credits you need and the number of classes you take per semester will determine how long you’ll be in school. However, gaining the necessary credits should only take you anywhere from a few months to two years.
If you qualify, you’ll have hundreds of CAPTE accredited physiotherapy programs to choose from!
Once you’ve completed your physiotherapy program, you must also pass the National Physical Therapy Examination to earn your license. This license ensures that you are qualified to treat patients as a physiotherapist.
What if You Don’t Have a Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelor’s degree is an essential step in how to become a physiotherapist. You can either earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year accredited university or complete a combined bachelor’s and master’s physiotherapy program. The latter is an excellent way to save time, as you should be able to complete the program in six years.
Don’t let the stress of becoming a physiotherapist stop you from pursuing this incredibly rewarding career. Not only will you be helping people, but you’ll also have the opportunity the move up in the profession. The more experience you gain, the more opportunities you will have to get higher paying jobs. Physiotherapists play a very important role in the healthcare system, so you’re also guaranteed job security no matter where you decide to work! Sounds pretty great, right? If this job sounds like a good fit for you, don’t hesitate. Begin your journey of becoming a physiotherapist today!
Is there any advice about how to become a physiotherapist that we missed in this blog? Please let us know in the comments below!