How To Become A Physiotherapist In 5 Steps (With Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A physiotherapist uses various treatment plans to ease discomfort and restore mobility functions. These healthcare professionals help ease the lives of patients living with chronic conditions, experiencing illnesses or recovering from surgeries. If you have a passion for helping patients recover faster, knowing more about this job role can help you make an informed decision on whether to pursue it. In this article, we discuss what a physiotherapist is, understand how to become a physiotherapist, explore their daily job duties, learn about their work environment and discover the skills required to become a successful healthcare professional.

What is a physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist or a physical therapist is a healthcare professional who helps maintain a person's physical well-being and overall mobility. They help people with illnesses and injuries to manage extreme pain and enjoy a better quality of life. Using their physiotherapy knowledge, these professionals evaluate the extent of injuries and prepare a treatment strategy to help patients recover faster.

A physiotherapist conducts hands-on therapy and requires practical training to perform physiotherapy. These professionals use manual techniques like stretching to ease discomfort and improve mobility. To help patients recover faster, a physiotherapist teaches some physiotherapy techniques to perform at home.

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How to become a physiotherapist

To understand how to become a physiotherapist, follow these steps:

1. Complete your 10+2

The bare minimum requirement for becoming a physiotherapist is completing your 10+2 with at least 50% marks. Choose physics, chemistry and biology as compulsory subjects and have mathematics as an optional subject. Mathematics can be helpful when pursuing higher education. Also, a basic understanding of chemistry, biology and physics can help you understand the core principles of physiotherapy.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

After completing your 10+2, consider pursuing a degree in physiotherapy or related areas. You can either pursue a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) or complete a diploma course in physiotherapy. For both programmes, you clear different entrance examinations. The bachelor programme is a four-year course with six months of a compulsory internship and the diploma programme is a three-year course. During your course, you study exercise therapy, sociology, physiotherapy orientation, clinical training, allied therapies, among other physiotherapy-related subjects.

3. Pursue a master's degree

You can consider pursuing a master's degree in physiotherapy and related areas based on your bachelor's degree. Pursue either a Master of Physiotherapy (MPT) or a postgraduate (PG) diploma for your career growth. Both programmes are two-year courses and you clear an entrance examination to join a master's course. During these courses, you can specialise in various sub-branches of physiotherapy, like sports, orthopaedic, clinical electrophysiology, geriatric and paediatric physiotherapy. A master's degree can help you earn a higher salary and get hired in senior positions in different medical centres and hospitals.

4. Gain experience

Apart from completing a compulsory six-month training during your bachelor's degree program, consider gaining relevant experience by working in a medical facility, hospital or clinic. When starting your career, consider working as a physiotherapist with athletic teams, small clinics, gyms and various sports teams. You may work in special schools and care homes to gain vital experience and show your dedication to the profession. Often, hospitals and medical facilities hire professionals who have some experience in a relevant field. Understanding the role and industry research can help you get hired faster.

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5. Create your resume and apply for jobs

Once you have gained the educational qualifications and experience, you can apply to jobs matching your skill set. Prepare your resume listing all your relevant skills, education, experience and everything that sets you apart from other candidates. Include your clinical experience to increase your candidature. To make your resume searchable, add keywords from the job description and edit your resume according to each job. Look for jobs in outpatient clinics, athletic training centres, nursing facilities, rehab centres, home health providers and hospitals. After creating your resume, you can apply to roles on different job search portals.

What does a physiotherapist do?

A physiotherapist may help patients with mobility issues and live with minimal or no pain. These healthcare professionals perform hands-on physical therapy to help their patients. Here are some other job duties that a physiotherapist may perform:

  • work with patients to relieve their mobility issues and pain

  • restore mobility of patients by performing various exercises

  • keep track of client's health

  • identify, diagnose and treat a patient's condition

  • refer clients to other medical professionals to restore their health

  • monitor the progress of discharged clients while patients are in the home

  • promote an active and healthy lifestyle by creating customised fitness plans

  • design treatment strategies to restore functioning, prevent disability, reduce extreme pain and enhance mobility

  • prevent progressive loss of mobility because of injuries, disease and disorders

Specialisations of a physiotherapist

When pursuing a degree in a physiotherapist, you may choose one of the following specialisations:

  • Sports physiotherapists: They specialise in injuries caused by sports or injuries that prohibit people from participating in sports.

  • Geriatric physiotherapists: These physiotherapists specialise in injuries and complaints related to older people and other disabilities that come with age.

  • Paediatrics physiotherapists: A paediatrics physiotherapist may diagnose injuries and mobility illnesses related to younger people. Often, they work with children who face developmental delays.

  • Neurology physiotherapists: These physiotherapists deal with neurological damage, disorder or disease. They treat patients with mobility disorder that results from disease or injury to the body's spinal cord, brain or extremities.

Average salary of a physiotherapist

The average salary of a physiotherapist is ₹17,561 per month. An experienced physiotherapist would earn a much higher salary than an entry-level professional. Their salary may depend upon their educational qualification, skills and location of the facility that employs them. For instance, the average salary of a physiotherapist in Pune is ₹21,100 per month and the average salary in Hyderabad is ₹20,445 per month.

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Skills of a physiotherapist

Here are a few important skills to master as a physiotherapist:

Physical strength

The physical treatment plans and therapies you perform require physical strength and agility. As you help patients with physical movements, you may assist them in sitting, walking or standing, which requires effective physical strength. These professionals require stamina and strength to treat patients throughout the day.

Communication skills

Excellent communication skills are necessary for this role as they help you ask the right question. This can help in understanding the patient's problem and creating a treatment plan. Clear communication helps teach physical therapies to patients. As you fill out detailed progress reports of patients, you require good written communication skills.

Patience

Often, physiotherapists may work with patients recovering from extreme pain, broken bones and wounds. The ability to treat such patients and improve their mobility requires a physiotherapist to have patience. Often, they may change their treatment plan in the middle to manage unforeseen changes in the patient's condition.

Organisation

Being organised helps a physiotherapist locate equipment and things they require for providing physiotherapy sessions. This can help a physiotherapist maintain a schedule and records of each client. Having excellent time management skills helps these professionals break down primary goals into smaller and manageable activities.

Problem-solving

A physiotherapist requires excellent problem-solving skills to understand a patient's condition. Using their knowledge and problem-solving skills, these professionals create exercises and therapy regimes. The ability to solve problems without losing your composure gives you the confidence to work as a physiotherapist.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

Sensitivity and empathy

Often, you may come across patients in distress and pain. These patients may not communicate their ailment with you. If they cannot tell you how they feel, your sensitivity can help you understand their condition and prescribe the right treatment. Also, a physiotherapist requires empathy to connect with patients and understand their needs. This helps in forming a long-term relationship with patients and aid them in full recovery.

Work environment of a physiotherapist

Though most physiotherapists work in a hospital environment, there is a range of places where you can work after completing your education. Some of these places are:

  • military

  • patient's home

  • outpatient clinics

  • nursing homes

  • veterinarian clinics

  • sports teams

  • gyms

  • athletic teams

  • schools

These professionals mostly work with patients, primary caregivers and patients' families. While most physiotherapists work full time, they may work part-time in nursing homes or small clinics. They can work 40 hours a week and may work on weekends depending on their client's requirements. Often, these professionals work in rotational shifts to treat patients.

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.

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