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The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

The skills you need to be a great physiotherapist

Want to find a physiotherapy degree? You’ve come to the right place. But first, let’s take a look at the skills you need to be a great physiotherapist.

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Want a career that helps people? Interested in the body, mind, and physical activity? If yes, you might want to consider becoming a physiotherapist. In this line of work, you can expect to help patients with their recovery from an illness, accident or injury using therapeutic exercise, massage, electrotherapy and so on. You should be interested in wellbeing, mental health, physical health and have a desire to improve the quality of other people’s lives. To help you decide whether this is the right career move for you, see if you possess some of the top skills you need to be a great physiotherapist.


1. Communication skills

Physiotherapists need to be effective communicators as they deal with a range of people on a daily basis. A huge part of the job is speaking to patients and other health professionals to ensure the best care is provided.


As a physiotherapist, you will need to carefully explain which exercises to do and how to do them. This needs to be communicated well as this is often a vital part of the rehabilitation of your patients. Not only will you need to be an excellent verbal communicator, but you will also need to write notes on each patient, giving clear and comprehensive instructions and advice for them to take home.


2. An aptitude for science

To become a physiotherapist, you typically need an undergraduate degree in physiotherapy, which can take three to four years on a full-time basis, depending on which country you choose for your studies. If your undergraduate degree is related such as biology, sports science or psychology, you will need a masters in physiotherapy.


Most related degrees will require A-levels (or equivalent) in at least one science subject such as biology and/or physical education. As each university sets its own entry requirements, make sure you check with each institution for specific grades. A degree in physiotherapy will cover anatomy, biology, physiology, surgery, data analysis and so on.


Check out the following universities offering physiotherapy courses in the USA:



3. Interpersonal skills

You also need to possess excellent interpersonal skills as a physiotherapist as you will be working with a diverse range of people every day. You need to build trust and respect as a physiotherapist so that your patients can feel confident and safe in your care. To achieve this, you need to be a good listener, show compassion, and motivate your patients to believe that they can get better. Building this strong rapport with patients is an important part of the job and will help you to be a successful physiotherapist.


4. Problem solving skills

Identifying the cause of pain in a patient often requires problem-solving as there could be multiple causes for the issue and it is your job to diagnose the root of the problem. You will need to use your knowledge and expertise to then find out what exercises and therapeutic remedies might lessen the pain or heal this part of the body. It is vital that each treatment plan is tailored to the specific needs of each individual patient which requires careful consideration and weighing up of different options.


Take a minute to browse physiotherapy courses in Canada:



5. Time management skills

As you may see several clients in one day, it is important to keep to a schedule so that you can fit everyone in without delays. You also need to factor in not just appointments but also meetings with other health professionals and time for your work on treatment plans. If you don’t feel like you have good time management right now, you will get plenty of practice throughout your degree and during work placements where you can observe other physiotherapists to see how they manage their time effectively.  


Thinking of studying in the UK? The following institutions offer physiotherapy degrees:



6. Patience

Some of your patients are likely to be elderly, disabled or injured which requires a high level of patience to ensure they feel comfortable and cared for. You need to be considerate of each personal circumstance as some patients may take longer to improve than others. Plus, patience is required for both the physiotherapist and the person being treated so its up to you to set an example because your patient may feel frustrated with their progress at times.


Ready to find and apply for a degree? Use our course matcher tool now to quickly find what’s right for you.

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