How to become a physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who work with patients to assess, diagnose, and treat conditions and injuries. We’ll explore how to become a physiotherapist, from education to specialisation.

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a healthcare profession that focuses on restoring movement and function. Usually, this is for people affected by injury, illness, or disability. Physiotherapists use techniques including exercise, manual therapy, and education, to help patients manage pain, improve mobility, and prevent further injury. 

Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function.
Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function.

How to become a physiotherapist

The first step towards becoming a physiotherapist is getting the necessary training. This involves completing a degree in Physiotherapy from a recognised institution. 

Another route you could take is a degree apprenticeship. This combines academic study with practical, on-the-job training. Organisations such as hospitals employ apprentices whilst they study towards their degree. 

  1. Entry requirements: To pursue a degree in Physiotherapy, you need to have completed A levels or relevant coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some universities may also need specific grades or UCAS points.
  2. Coursework: A degree in Physiotherapy spans over three years and includes lectures and placements. Students study subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology, therapeutic exercise, and manual therapy.
  3. Clinical placements: Clinical placements are a crucial part of a physiotherapy degree. Students gain hands-on experience working with patients under the supervision of qualified physiotherapists. This is done in various settings, such as hospitals and outpatient clinics.
  4. Registration: Our BSc in Physiotherapy course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Successful completion of the course, means you can apply to register as a physiotherapist with the HCPC and full membership of the CSP.

How long does it take to become a physiotherapist in the UK? 

In the UK, becoming a physiotherapist involves completing a three-year undergraduate degree program. Some universities offer accelerated programs or integrated master's degrees, which may take longer.

After completing the degree, graduates need to register with the HCPC to practice as a physiotherapist in the UK. Our BSc Physiotherapy course is approved by the HCPC, which means you can apply to register as soon as you graduate.

The process of becoming a physiotherapist in the UK usually takes around three to four years of full-time study, depending on the course and any additional requirements for registration.

Continuous Professional Development

Qualifying as a physiotherapist is just the beginning. To maintain competence and stay up to date with the latest developments, physiotherapists are required to engage in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) throughout their careers.

UCLan offers CPD courses tailored to the needs of physiotherapists, covering topics such as Managing Concussion in Sport or Leadership for Allied Health Professionals.

Specialisms in physiotherapy 

There are lots of areas of physiotherapy to work in, allowing professionals to focus on the practice that match their interests. Some common specialisms include: 

By following these steps to become a physiotherapist, you can start a career dedicated to enhancing the lives of others.