How to Become a Physiotherapist in the UK|Best Guide

Want to know how to become a Physiotherapist in the UK? Then you’re on the right page.

Physiotherapy in its basic form involves everything done by a person to alleviate mobility-related health issues, and those who perform this role are called physiotherapists.

In this article, you will be guided on how to become a Physiotherapist in the UK.

Job Roles of a Physiotherapist in the UK

The typical everyday activity of a Physiotherapist in the Uk would usually revolve around attending to patients with one movement difficulty or the other. Knowing your job role is the first step to take before considering other steps on how to become a physiotherapist in the UK.

This could have arisen as a result of the natural process of aging, or due to some unforeseen circumstance such as illnesses that affect the bones and muscles, leading to the inability of the individual to perform certain functions effortlessly, or an accident that caused either a fracture or complete dislocations of a particular body part.

So the professional will be required to diagnose the problem, and then prescribe specific treatment plans consistent with the individual involved.

Some of these treatment plans would require the use of sophisticated instruments such as; 

  • Ultrasound equipment
  • Hydrotherapy pools

Usually, the exact health condition is what dictates the need for the use of one equipment or the other.

Because of the diverse need for this service, a Physiotherapist is rarely without a job in the UK, as there are a lot of hospitals with departments needing these professionals. Even individuals employ privately the services of physiotherapists.

Educational Requirements

To practice physiotherapy legally in the UK, one must have to meet certain educational requirements, such as earning an entry-level degree by spending between four to six years in an accredited institution.

People who already have relevant degrees in courses such as; physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physiology can also apply for a two years Master’s degree.

Once you’ve successfully completed this, you will need to register to get a license to practice from the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

Meanwhile, some skills you will need to have after having gone through university education or by self indoctrination, so as to function optimally as a physiotherapist in the UK include the following;

  • The ability to speak and communicate effectively

  • The ability to relate and broker relationships easily with people, as you will need to establish a good rapport with individuals who you consult for.

  • You will need to understand the importance of working with a team, as usual, you will be working with a team of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.

  • Practical skills

  • The ability to find workable solutions.

  • You must be a sensitive person, as this will help in deducing nuances that a patient may be trying to hide.

  • You must be able to work under pressure.

  • You must a person with a genuine passion to see people get well, and live a healthy life.

  • The ability to organize oneself, schedules, and activities.

  • You must be empathetic; you can’t afford to be a cold person and believe to work successfully as a healthcare professional

There is also another alternative to earning a formal education through Universities, this is for those who do not have the mental agility to go through the rigors of university education, but want direct practical knowledge.

This can be done by enrolling in a part-time apprenticeship in physiotherapy. Those eligible for this are individuals who are above 18 years of age and have their A-levels, IB, or an advanced apprenticeship.

This program became instituted in the UK in the year 2015 and is a great development that you should take advantage of if formal university education isn’t your thing.

The duration of the program is between four to six years after which a certificate will be awarded to you by the University affiliated with it.

You should, however, after having received your license from HCPC commit to intense personal growth and development, as you’d be required to take CPD courses annually just to verify your level of expertise and knowledge in the field.

Thorough understanding of the Job Role

It is very important to have a clear understanding of what the job is all about even before going further with this guide on how to become a physiotherapist in the UK.

Most employers will love to employ professionals who have had prior experience in the job and understands the requirements and job descriptions.

One of the ways to amass a lot of this kind of experience is through job shadowing a practicing physiotherapist.

Also, some private hospitals usually run different kinds of health care campaigns, this should be something you should make yourself available for, as volunteering experiences also help to boost your CV and credibility in the marketplace.

Some Charity organizations and health NGOs such as the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, and the MS Society also create regular opportunities for individuals to earn volunteering experiences when they partner with them. Making yourself available to fill the role of a physiotherapy support worker helps you with a very good understanding of the role you are about to get into.

 You should research more about internship opportunities in Physiotherapy around you. This also is a great way to amass valuable insight.

People you’d be working with as a Physiotherapist in the UK

Majorly, the employer of Physiotherapists, and many other health care professionals in the UK is the National Health Service (NHS).

Some of the departments in your expertise and knowledge will be needed include:

  • Outpatients

  • Occupational health

  • Elderly care

  • Pediatrics

  • Stroke services

  • Women’s health

  • Orthopedics

Some other local  institutions or private sector that require the services of a Physiotherapist include;

  • Private clinics and hospitals in the UK
  • Children centers
  • Nursing home for the elderly.
  • Sport centers
  • The armed forces
  • Charity organizations and NGOs

It is also very possible to combine two or more of these without any affecting the other. For instance, people who work with the National Health Service or private clinics sometimes can work part-time with a sports center or even as a private physiotherapist to an athlete.

Some platforms post notifications of job openings, you should always keep tabs with them to always stay up to date with the recent opening as they come.

Here’s a list of links to some of these platforms you may like to consider subscribing to.

Some special recruitment agencies like Maxxima also advertise job opportunities.

Commit to intense growth

One of the major requirements to retain your license after completion is by subscribing to continuous improvement and development of your knowledge and skills.

This makes up for part of the continuing professional development (CPD), which is a very important requirement for getting authorization from the Health and Care Professional Council.

There is a program currently going on in Scotland, that provides support to students in their first year of practice with the National Health Service in Scotland, you can access this through the Flying Start NHS.

When you apply for membership with the CSP, you become privy to professional mentorship, and this usually comes with a few perks that will impact your career development, as you will continually be notified of current opportunities around you that you can take advantage of to improve yourself. Some of these opportunities include; short-duration courses, diplomas, and other forms of capacity-building certifications.

After you have successfully improved yourself to high standards and can now hold quite critical roles and solve challenging physiotherapy problems, you can then join the  Advanced Practice Physiotherapy Network (APPN).

Professional Advancement

Because of the very defined structure present in the NHS hospitals and clinics, any intentional person can work his or her way up from just a general physician to becoming a specialist in the field.

A very popular way of advancing is by applying your knowledge in different departments. This broadens your scope and knowledge and confers on you the ability to consult in diverse sub-fields.

So it is not uncommon to find a physiotherapist who is both a consultant with pediatrics and outpatients and effecting his roles very efficiently. It is through this broad range of experience that will instruct and sponsor the choice of specialty.

Professionals with a diverse understanding of a broad range of patients and clinical roles will normally earn more, so knowing how to become a physiotherapist in the UK is not enough, you must professionally advance, as they would have a lot of job roles to fill, ranging from prescription, diagnosis, and injection therapy.

If you are very good, many surgical procedures will require your expert presence, so you’d work with many consultants in the area of orthopedics, Rheumatology, and a broad spectrum of other health consultants.

It is also very possible to switch completely from health, into management-related job roles, a health professional with amazing management skills can be employed or transferred into departments that require activities such as strategy creation, budgeting, and staff management.

Conversely, you could choose to open your own business, where you’d be consulting as a self-employed physiotherapist.

How much does a physiotherapist earn in the UK?

After sampling the entries of over 10,000 physiotherapists in the UK, the average salary of physiotherapists in the Uk according to Talent is £37,998 per annum.

Of course, well-advanced physiotherapists earn as much as £44000 annually, this is a result of the level of expertise they have got and the demand for their skills.

Conclusion on How to Become a Physiotherapist in the UK

The path to becoming a Physiotherapist in the UK is a very rewarding one, although, with a lot of challenges here and there, its benefits far exceed the demands.

So if you have ever harbored a thought in this direction know what it takes to actualize that dream and aspiration.

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