Physiotherapist

Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would guide people though exercise programmes that make it easier for them to walk or move without pain. It would be up to you to work out what kind of treatment would be best for them.

You would help:

  • People with spine and joint problems, especially after an operation
  • Patients recovering from accidents, sports injuries and strokes
  • Children who have mental or physical disabilities
  • Older people with physical problems who want to become more mobile

There are a variety of treatments and techniques you could use, including:

  • Physical manipulation
  • Massage
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Electrotherapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy

You’d show people how to increase their range of movement. You’d need to be patient and encouraging but also firm to ensure your patients follow the treatment that you recommend.

It would be important to keep accurate records of patients' treatment and progress.

There are various areas you could work in, including paediatrics, outpatients, intensive care, women's health and occupational health.

You’d work closely with other health professionals, such as nurses, occupational therapists, health visitors and social workers.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Physiotherapist page on the NHS Scotland Careers website. See the Learning and development section for information about career structure, progression and rates of pay.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work 37.5 hours a week.

Environment

You could be based in a hospital or the community, in a health centre, clinic or GP surgery. If you work for local authorities, voluntary organisations or the private sector, you may be based in a nursing home, fitness centre or sports clinic. You may also visit patients in their own homes.

Travel

You may visit some patients in their own homes.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Persuading people
  • Caring for people
  • Being tactful
  • Working on your own
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Getting into physiotherapy is competitive.

You need a degree in physiotherapy (SCQF level 9/10) accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

To enter a physiotherapy degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers, including English and two sciences, or a relevant HNC/HND.  

To enter a postgraduate MSc physiotherapy (pre-registration) or MSc rehabilitation technologies (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant science subject. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Chemistry (required by most courses)
  • Physics (required by most courses)
  • Human biology
  • Physical education
  • Care

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

  • Qualifications and experience that show understanding of health and wellbeing such as Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF level 4/5) or Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5)
  • Relevant experience 
  • Ability to swim

A visit to a physiotherapy hospital department before applying to a course is helpful.