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Physiotherapist Job Description

Do you have a good understanding of the human body and the desire to help people?

If so, working as a physiotherapist could be the perfect job for you. This role mainly involves helping patients to work on improving their strength and mobility.

While working as a physiotherapist can be rewarding, it can also be a demanding career that requires patience. It can also take a long time to develop the knowledge and skills to become fully qualified in this career.

So, before you dive right in, check out the following physiotherapist job description, typical duties, and other important details.

the physiotherapist job description

Physiotherapist Job Description

A typical therapist job description will start by outlining the nature of the role. This will include the types of physiotherapy you would be expected to perform and the work setting. It is also likely to include an overview of the types of patients you would be working with.

The job description will also outline the other duties that are associated with this role. It should make clear the qualifications, experience, skills, and attributes that candidates need to have.

physiotherapist job description

The Different Types Of Physiotherapy

There are lots of different types of physiotherapy that you can provide. At the start of your career, you may provide several kinds before specializing later on. Let’s take a closer look at the main types of physiotherapy.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

This is one of the most common types of physiotherapy. Musculoskeletal physiotherapists treat a wide range of issues such as strains, sprains, back pain, and posture problems. This role usually takes place in the outpatient clinic of a hospital.

Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy

If you want to specialize in cardio-respiratory disorders, this role is for you. It involves designing treatment programs for patients to improve the symptoms of different conditions like chronic bronchitis and asthma.

Neurological Physiotherapy

This field involves working with patients who suffer from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and brain injuries. You are likely to provide short-term care to people who have been in an accident or are suffering from trauma.

Geriatric Physiotherapy

This type of physiotherapy focuses on the specific and complex movement needs of older patients. Some patients may have movement issues due to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, a stroke, or another ailment. Geriatric physiotherapists often work in nursing homes and focus on long-term care for select patients.

Pediatric Physiotherapy

If you are good with children, this type of physiotherapy could be for you. This mainly involves rehabilitating children after an injury or disease.

Sports Physiotherapy

You need a deep knowledge of sports injuries to do this job. You would be working with people to reduce pain and increase mobility after an injury. This role often takes place in sports and fitness centers, and you could even work with professional athletes.

Key Duties And Responsibilities

Your daily duties and responsibilities as a physiotherapist will depend on your clients and where you work. However, there are certain elements that you are sure to encounter regularly. Here are some of the main physiotherapist duties.

Diagnosing and assessing

When you meet new patients, you need to diagnose and assess their condition. Then, create a treatment plan, which you will usually agree on with the patient.

Working with patients

Many patients need help working on their strength and flexibility after an injury or illness. This can take several weeks or even months. You need to be able to advise patients on their health and lifestyle and demonstrate different exercises.

Liaising with healthcare professionals

You need to work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide complete patient care. When necessary, you must be ready to refer certain patients to specific doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Record keeping

You need to keep careful and detailed records of each patient’s progress. This includes the exercises you have helped them perform and any treatment they have received. Regularly update these records and keep family members informed when requested.

Important Skills And Attributes

You need to have a lot of knowledge and undergo training to do this job. However, there are also certain soft skills that you need to relate to patients and colleagues. Here are some of the key skills and attributes that will help you succeed.

Communication skills

You need to be able to connect with patients and form trusting relationships to help them work toward recovery. It is necessary to give clear instructions and thoroughly explain complex medical issues. This job also involves communicating clearly with relatives, carers, and other healthcare professionals.

Teamwork skills

It is essential to be able to work well with other healthcare professionals. This includes nurses, occupational therapists, doctors, and surgeons. You need to have a good understanding of the skills and abilities of your colleagues.

Time management and organization

You need to keep careful records of upcoming appointments and make sure you are on time. Fitting numerous patients into your weekly schedule. It is essential to make sure each patient receives the time and care they need.

Patience and encouragement

Many patients are likely to be in pain after their injury or surgery and feel resistant to physiotherapy. Some treatments can take many weeks or even years. You need to be able to relate well to your patients and provide them with regular encouragement.

Education Requirements

You need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field to start on this career path. After this, you must obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from a CAPTE-accredited physical therapist program.

Most DPT programs take at least three years to complete and include lab activities, classroom work, and clinical internship experience.

Pass a licensure exam…

After graduating, you need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. This is followed by a licensure exam in the state you want to live and practice in. The licensure requirements vary by state, and you need to make sure you comply with them.

Continuing Education

Once you are fully qualified and licensed, you can advance your career by joining a clinical residency or fellowship. Alternatively, you could choose an area of physiotherapy to specialize in.

Clinical residency

This is a structured program you can take part in after graduation. Clinical residencies usually last for a year and provide you with practical experience.

Clinical fellowship

This type of program boasts a similar structure to a residency and usually comes afterward. A fellowship is ideal if you have your sights set on focusing on a special type of physiotherapy. It focuses on a particular area of practice and includes mentored clinical experience.

Certification and specializations

After you have gained a certain amount of practice experience, you can become certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. You will have to pass an exam and complete an APTA-accredited residency program. You can also become certified if you have completed at least two thousand hours of clinical work.

Let’s Help You Become A Physiotherapist!

Let’s first take a look at a few alternatives you might be interested in, such as my Massage Therapist Job Description, Physical Therapy Technician Job Description, Occupational Therapist Job Description, or how about Healthcare Jobs That Require No Experience.

Well, we’ve researched and found amazing introductions into Physical Therapy such as an Introduction to Physical Therapy, The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair, or even Physical Rehabilitation, and Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, along with Neurologic Interventions for Physical Therapy, and the Acute Care Handbook for Physical Therapists all available online in 2022.

Furthermore, we recommend reading the Physical Therapy Documentation: From Examination to Outcome, or The Ultimate Guide to Pediatric Physical Therapy Documentation: For Student Physical Therapists and PTs, or what about the Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy: From Art to Evidence, and Acute Care Physical Therapy: A Clinician’s Guide and of course the NPTE Secrets Study Guide: NPTE Exam Review for the National Physical Therapy Examination to help with your studies.

Starting as a physical therapist assistant? Then, take a look at Therapeutic Exercise for Physical Therapy Assistants: Techniques for Intervention (Point, Physical Therapy Clinical Handbook for PTAs, Dreeben-Irimia’s Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice for Physical Therapist Assistants, and lastly, the Physical Therapy Assistant also available online today.

Final Thoughts

While it can take time and persistence to qualify as a physiotherapist, there are plenty of jobs in this industry. The average salary for a physiotherapist is around $90,000 per year. If you have specialist skills and a lot of experience, you could earn up to $126,000 per year.

You can increase your earning potential by traveling and providing physiotherapy in people’s homes. Although, it can take time to establish a base of dedicated clients who trust and rely on you. With patience and skill, you could establish a practice and work either alone or with a colleague.

All the very best with your Physiotherapist Job!

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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