Top Careers In Physiotherapy (Job Opportunities And Salary)

Updated 4 April 2023

Physiotherapy is a branch of para-medicine that deals with treating injuries and musculoskeletal disorders of patients. Physiotherapists diagnose and treat injured and differently-abled patients, helping with their rehabilitation. It requires a sound understanding of anatomical and musculoskeletal knowledge, body posture, balance and movement. In this guide, we explore the scope of physiotherapy careers, job roles and skills and discuss the pay scale for different positions.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

Top careers in physiotherapy

Below is a list of common employers to help you understand available careers in physiotherapy:


Hospitals are the biggest employers of physiotherapists. Physiotherapists work in various departments like orthopaedics, obstetrics, cardiology, trauma care and outpatient unit. They work in close coordination with other medical specialists and provide post-surgery and physical recovery treatments to patients. In addition, they use massage, mobilisation, medical acupuncture, dry needling, electrotherapy and prescriptive exercise to help patients recover their physical movements.

Private clinics and nursing homes

Just like large multispecialty hospitals, small private clinics and nursing homes also employ in-house physiotherapists. The job role of a physiotherapist here is similar to the work in a large hospital setting. The only difference is in the number of patients they treat. Since it is a smaller setting, the therapist works closely with each patient and handles their entire recovery process.


Large multinational corporations employ in-house physiotherapists to promote the mental and physical health and wellbeing of their employees. These specialists arrange group exercise sessions and physical fitness classes to alleviate workplace stress and injuries of employees. They also offer one-on-one physiotherapy sessions to employees.

Rehabilitation centres

Physiotherapists also work in rehabilitation centres and help in improving the physical functionalities of patients in the centre. They diagnose each patient and prescribe them exercises to improve posture, movement and coordination. In a rehabilitation centre, physiotherapists focus on both the physical and mental wellbeing of each patient.

Sports and fitness centres

Physiotherapists play a crucial role in treating sports injuries. Every sports team has one or more in-house physiotherapists to help players recover from injuries and aches. Besides treating players' injuries, these professionals also focus on prevention by suggesting the right exercises and diet for each player based on their fitness levels.

Orthopaedic clinics

Orthopaedic clinics treat deformities of muscles and bones. In an orthopaedic clinic, the physiotherapist works along with the specialist to help patients recover from their deformities using regular exercise and movement. Depending on individual cases, the physiotherapist may provide treatment for patients at the clinic or their homes.

Universities and colleges

Physiotherapists interested in teaching can work as professors and lecturers at colleges and universities, training the next batch of young physical therapists. They teach both the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject to students. They also conduct practical and theory exams, evaluating the performance of students and assigning grades.

Defence establishments

Defence sectors like the military, navy, airforce, coast guard and border security force employ physiotherapists for various roles. Physiotherapists in the military work with heads of departments and plan the physical regimen and exercise schedules for officers and cadets. They also offer massage and other therapies for treating injured defence personnel.

Private practice

Experienced physiotherapists can also set up a private practice treating patients for their physical ailments. Some physiotherapists offer specialised services like treatments for seniors or children with disabilities. Other specialisations include occupational therapy, speech therapy, sports therapy and orthopaedic therapy.

Day-to-day tasks of a physiotherapist

The actual responsibilities and duties of a physiotherapist vary based on their job profile and work environment. Generally, most physiotherapists work in a hospital, at the client's home, senior care centre, sports centre, gym or a private clinic. Here are some of the typical day-to-day tasks of a physiotherapist:

  • evaluate the muscle strength and range of physical movements of patients

  • prescribe remedial exercises

  • evaluate balance in neurologically-affected patients

  • provide various therapies like ultrasonic therapy, cryotherapy, whirlpool therapy, infra-red therapy, ultra-violet therapy, diathermy, trans-electric muscle stimulation and other therapeutic exercises using machines

  • offer massage and soft tissue stimulation techniques

  • provide manual therapy and mobilisation techniques

  • help patients deal with chronic aches and pains to avoid surgery

  • offer gait and wheelchair training

  • train patients to walk with or without ambulatory aids like walking frames and crutches

  • evaluate and suggest in-home support and accessibility aids

  • improve the physical movement of patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction

Related: Physical Therapist Vs. Physiotherapist: Learn The Difference

Necessary skills for a physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a hands-on job and requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of the various facets of human anatomy. Besides expertise in theoretical knowledge, physiotherapists also require several soft skills like empathy and responsibility as they interact with patients regularly. Check out the critical skills to become a successful physiotherapist:

  • Listening skills: the patience and dedication to listen to patient's troubles and offer them proper guidance

  • Positivity: a positive frame of mind to instil positivity in patients, thereby boosting their self-confidence

  • Counselling skills: the ability to counsel and alleviate the fears and anxieties of patients and their families

  • Diagnosis skills: the ability to evaluate the severity of pain and offer the appropriate treatment

  • Interpersonal skills: physiotherapists require the skills to work with other specialists, administrators and patients as part of a team

  • Time management skills: to attend patients punctually and be on time for appointments

  • Physical fitness: physiotherapists work using their hands; hence being physically strong and fit helps them carry out their job efficiently

Related: What Are Physiotherapy Skills? (With Examples And Tips)

How to become a physiotherapist

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a qualified physiotherapist:

  1. Complete 10 + 2 from any recognised school board. To pursue higher education in physiotherapy, students require a minimum of 50% marks in their high school board examination with biology, physics and chemistry as the main subjects.

  2. Take your preferred entrance exam. Different medical universities and colleges conduct entrance examinations for physiotherapy courses. Some popular entrance exams include the Common Entrance Test (CET), JIPMER All India Entrance Test and All India Medical Entrance Examination (AIMEE).

  3. Earn a UG physiotherapy degree**.** The Bachelor in Physiotherapy (BPT) is a four and a half-year of study and training for aspiring physiotherapists. Students learn various subjects like anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, disability prevention and rehabilitation, injuries, therapy training and more. Besides acquiring theoretical knowledge, students also undergo a 6-month compulsory internship program.

  4. Apply for a job. Once you have completed BPT, you can apply for a job as a physiotherapist in your preferred workplace. Some candidates also set up their private practice treating patients. Before you apply, it is a good practice to have a well-written resume to improve your chances of getting employed.

  5. Go for masters in physiotherapy. Interested candidates can also pursue a two-years postgraduate course in physiotherapy. To be eligible for MPT (Master in Physiotherapy), candidates require BPT from any recognised college/university.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Specialisations in physiotherapy

Candidates can choose from various specialisations while pursuing post-graduation, depending on their preferences. Based on their chosen discipline, physiotherapists take on specialised roles like:

  • Cardio-pulmonary physiotherapist: helps patients prevent or manage symptoms of bronchitis, asthma and other cardio-respiratory disorders

  • Musculoskeletal physiotherapist: treats various issues like sprains, strains, back pain, knee pain, arthritis and other posture problems

  • Post-operative physiotherapist: helps patients ease into walking after a major surgery

  • Sports physiotherapist: helps sports players reduce pain and reintroduce movement after a sports injury

  • Neurological physiotherapist: targets disorders that affect the nervous system like strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson's disease

  • Pain management physiotherapist: prescribes exercises to manage and reduce pain

  • Geriatric physiotherapist: focuses on treating the physical disorders affecting seniors

  • Paediatric physiotherapist: helps in the rehabilitation of children after an injury or disease and also works with differently-abled children

  • Women's health physiotherapist: focuses on treating female reproductive system conditions by offering prenatal and postnatal care

Physiotherapist career path

Once you complete your graduation, you have a range of options to choose from, including public and private hospitals, nursing homes, sports centres, gyms and other medical facilities. Alternatively, you can also set up a private practice working with your clients after gaining sufficient experience. If you are interested in private practice, it is a good idea to pursue a master's degree and receive specialisation to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Some physiotherapists also become part of a sports team or join the armed forces helping in the rehabilitation and pain management of sportspersons and army veterans.

Related: Top 10 In-Demand Jobs (With Primary Duties And Responsibilities)

Salary of a physiotherapist

Like any other profession, the income of a physiotherapist varies based on their experience, skills, specialisation and location. Initially, the average base salary of a physiotherapist is around ₹17,592 per month. The pay drawn by the candidate increases with experience and as they take up bigger roles. For example, a physiotherapy assistant earns an average monthly salary of ₹24,121, whereas the average base salary of a physiotherapy manager is ₹32,462 per month.

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