Career outlook for physiotherapist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


You would typically work 37.5 hours a week.


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.


You may visit some patients in their own homes.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Coaching
  • Motivating others

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Getting in

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


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/Access course.

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/Chemistry/Physics/Human Biology/Biology (a selection required by most courses)
  • 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 & Social Care (SCQF level 6) 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.