Physiotherapy is the medical practice that helps people to restore movement to their body when they sustain an injury. Professionals working in the field of physiotherapy can include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physiotherapy assistants. Together these professionals provide a range of services to patients, creating exercise programmes for them, guiding them through therapeutic movements, and giving them exercises they can do at home. They often work alongside other medical professionals to treat the person as a whole. They provide education and advice, as well as assisting with exercises and manual therapy. They might sometimes use techniques such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture to help relieve pain and improve movement.
Physiotherapists need to have a degree or postgraduate award in physiotherapy which has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. The top universities in the UK for physiotherapy include the University of East Anglia and Birmingham University. There are similar conditions to become an occupational therapist. (what does this mean? ‘Similar conditions? Do they mean requirements?) Kent and Cardiff are among the best universities for the subject. To become a physiotherapy assistant, a degree isn’t necessary. There are no concrete requirements for the role, but most employers will ask you to prove you have a good level of education. Other helpful qualifications include a first aid certificate and relevant experience.
Types of Physiotherapy Professionals
Physiotherapy professionals might work for the NHS or they might work in the private sector, for charities, or for voluntary organisations. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists are the qualified professionals who lead the treatment. Assistants provide support to therapists and patients. While a therapist designs and carries out the therapy, an assistant might talk to patients, set up equipment, help with exercises, and keep records and reports. Both more senior and junior roles are important.
Where do Physiotherapy Professionals work?
Physiotherapy professionals can work in a few different environments. Many work in hospitals, while others work in community health centres or clinics. Some GP surgeries might also have experts in physiotherapy available. Other employers of physiotherapists and occupational therapists include sports clubs, teams, and venues. Some professionals might visit people in their homes too. Both NHS and private establishments could have therapists and their assistants on site. They could work with patients who have had strokes, elderly people, orthopaedic patients, sports people, and more.
The job market for Physiotherapy Professionals
The job market for physiotherapists appears to be improving, with a slight increase in the number of advertised jobs. Demand for physiotherapists is growing in the UK, particularly in some regions. Although many jobs are with the NHS, about 30% of physiotherapists work in the private sector. The average salary for a physiotherapist is £34,454, which is above the national average. Occupational therapists early slightly higher on average, at £35,292, and while the job market isn’t growing, it isn’t declining, either.
Positions for physiotherapy assistants have risen significantly recently. The average salary is much lower than a therapist’s salary, at £23,329, but that is to be expected for a non-graduate job. Top employers for assistants include BMI Healthcare and NHS bodies. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy offer a range of opportunities for people with all levels of qualification and experience.