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Physiotherapy education requirements differ greatly from one country to another. Around the world, physiotherapy and physical therapy are widely considered the same, and their training ranges from the basic work site education in medical institutions such as outpatient clinics and hospital, to professional master’s program and doctoral degree.
Becoming a Physiotherapist
Physiotherapy (better known as physical therapy in the U.S.) is a very varied career path. As a matter of fact, there are many different types of physiotherapy disciplines. Hospital departments for example, have physiotherapists for occupational health, intensive care, outpatient department, orthopedics, pediatrics, mental health, stroke services, and women’s health. Outside the four corners of the hospital, there are physiotherapists for schools and children centers, residential homes and centers for elderly people, sports clinics, gyms, professionals sports clubs and teams, leisure centers, armed services, etc.
Education Needed to Become a Physiotherapist
In the US, aspiring physical therapists have to complete graduate degree program in physiotherapy/physical therapy in university, college or educational institution accredited by the CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education). Bachelor’s degree is required for admission of these programs, and though there is no specific major stipulated, many schools require students to complete certain number of courses as prerequisite in sciences and human health in order to qualify for the admission test. Some courses may also require students to participate in either volunteer or paid work of physical therapy in a clinical setting.
In Canada, aspiring physiotherapists need to complete a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy to be able to practice in the field professionally. Most Canadian provinces also require aspiring therapists to pass the national PCE (Physiotherapy Competency Exam) after they finish their physiotherapy program.
In Australia, aspiring physiotherapists can get their education through Universities, private colleges or TAFE. Technical And Further Education (TAFE) offers various Diploma level courses like Diploma of Practice Management, which can be a ticket for anyone to get accepted for a higher physiotherapy education course. For university study, physiotherapy courses give students the best chance to improve their knowledge and hone their skills through work experience and in professional environment. In private colleges on the other hand, physiotherapy courses are usually Certificates and Diploma or Advanced Diploma levels. Some colleges also offer short-term courses on specific physiotherapy subjects, such as Clinical Practice Management and Assessment and Treatment of Sports Injuries.
Again, different countries have different education requirements for physiotherapists.
Since the field requires lifelong commitment to treating patients and administering different techniques, it also requires lifelong learning. Licensed and practicing therapists should always continue to keep up with the latest trends, accept new findings of researches and studies, learn and adapt new techniques to stay competitive and provide the best service to their clients by taking post-grad educational programs.
These programs usually include combinations of classrooms education and hands-on learning through lectures, group works, clinical placements, etc. Classroom-based learning usually revolves around human anatomy, bio mechanics, physiology, and pathology. Hands-on learning on the other hand, is more about the different physiotherapy programs and treatment techniques.
Those who seek to offer more extensive treatment and specialize in specific field can take up Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree.