Physiotherapist: What They Do and How to Become One

Physiotherapist_ What They Do and How to Become One | HealthSoul

Could This Be Your Dream Profession?

Whether you’re ready to embark on a new career path, are interested in physiotherapy, or just happened to stumble upon this article – you’re in the right place. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about what a Physiotherapist does and how to become one.

To put it plainly, Physiotherapy isn’t for everyone.

It requires a strong ability to pay attention to even the smallest of details – while also being flexible. No two patients will ever be the same – even if they’ve been diagnosed with the same ailment. The experts at Prosport Academy put it perfectly, you can have “two patients with the same symptoms or presentation…but two completely different drivers of their pain or problem.”

What Is A Physiotherapist?

What comes to mind when you hear “physiotherapist”?

For most, it’s probably a vague concept of someone who performs therapy for muscle and skeletal injuries and pain. While, yes, that is the gist of it, physiotherapy has gained much more traction in the medical world than it had even just ten years ago.

In simple words, a Physiotherapist is a professional who assists patients who suffer from ailments like:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Muscle Injury
  • Asthma
  • Sports Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke

What Do They Do?

The Physiotherapists will work with their clients to create a long-term plan that involves exercises, movements, and techniques, to help restore their body’s range of motion to a ‘normal’ state.

Over time they build up not only their patient’s mobility but their flexibility, strength and in turn their emotional well-being.

While there are hundreds of physical therapy methods implemented throughout Physiotherapists daily sessions, a few common techniques include:

  • Range of Motion Exercises
    • This involves moving the joints and muscles of the problem area frequently to help promote mobility.
  • Cryotherapy
  • Taping
    • Straps that are placed around a muscle injury in order to promote healing. It’s similar to the concept of wearing a brace for extra support.
  • Acupuncture
    • Needles are placed into the pressure points of a body in order to kick start the central nervous system and help with healing the muscles and a variety of skeletal factors.
  • Hydrotherapy
    • Low bodyweight exercises performed while submerged in water to help with swelling and chronic pain.

Best Traits In A Physiotherapist

As mentioned earlier, physiotherapy isn’t for everyone and the decision to embark on the path of becoming a Physiotherapist shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Physiotherapists deal with individuals who are often in a vulnerable state – not only physically but emotionally.

There are a few important traits every Physiotherapist should aspire to develop throughout their career in order to become the best practitioner they can be:

  • Compassion
    • Physiotherapists should be able to show compassion for their patients even if they aren’t able to relate to their injury. Acknowledging their pain, and moving forward with solving their struggles as the main priority should be the goal.
  • Patience/Flexibility
    • Healing takes time. Physiotherapists are in it for the long run when it comes to a lot of their patients. Having faith and patience in their work will help not only relax the client but make sure you’re both giving your all when it comes to the healing process.
  • Professionalism
    • Professionalism should be practiced in all fields. Although you want to be friendly and welcoming, it’s also important to draw the line between your personal life and professional life.
  • Realistic/Motivated
    • Being realistic and setting realistic goals, will not only help keep the patient in line when it comes to their expectations – but will make sure you’re both going the same speed when it comes to travelling down the path to success.

What Degree Do You Need?

Coming out of High School, future Physiotherapists will want to enroll in an undergraduate degree at an accredited University. Their major can vary from Biology to Kinesiology to anything in between.

A Master’s degree in Physiotherapy comes next which requires in-class time as well as clinical hours in order to gain experience.

Some Physiotherapists end their education journey with a Master’s degree but many go on to pursue a Doctorate in Physiotherapy as well.

How To Obtain Your License

Unfortunately, graduating with a Ph.D. isn’t your ticket into the workforce. Depending on where you plan on practicing you’ll have to look into their licensing requirements.

Generally, these requirements vary from country to country and even sometimes from state to state or province to province.

Obtaining your license is like the final test – literally. You’ll have to pass a licensing exam that’ll cover what you mastered during your years of schooling.

Along with the exam, you’ll most likely have to pass a criminal background check. Only then will you be able to receive your license to practice.

If you want to take it a step further, you can also apply to become a board-certified specialist. This means you specialize in a certain area of physiotherapy instead of just a general practitioner.

However, this is only possible after working in the field for a minimum of 2000 hours in your desired area of expertise and passing yet another exam.

Some area’s Physiotherapists can specialize in include:

  • Sports
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Oncology

How To Obtain Your License | HealthSoul

Getting Started

There are plenty of options available when it comes time to establish your career.  If you’re looking to further your knowledge you can always take up a residency and learn from an experienced practitioner.

Apart from furthering your education, most Physiotherapists can find full-time positions at establishments like:

  • Hospitals
  • Long Term Care Homes
  • Private Practices
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Sports Club Houses

If you still aren’t sure where to start, there are plenty of databases you can join that’ll get your name noticed in the Physiotherapy world.

Going Forward

Understanding the expectations placed on a Physiotherapist and what a typical career looks like for them is definitely the way to start. Make sure this profession will be something you love and a job you can see yourself doing for many years. Good Luck!