• A Career as a Chartered Physiotherapist

    Injury Help & Advice

    If you have an interest in a career in physiotherapy, it is important to be aware that professional sport is only one area that chartered physiotherapists practice. Most chartered physiotherapists work as part of a healthcare team in different situations, such as:

    Care of the Elderly

    Usually in a hospital setting, working to maintain mobility and independence in older patients who suffer from a range of age related diseases.


    Rehabilitating patients who have had surgery to their bones and joints. This surgery may be due to trauma or alternatively an elective procedure for an orthopaedic condition.


    Treating children with mental and physical handicaps such as Cerebral Palsy or Spina Bifida.

    Neurological Rehabilitation

    Working with patients who are recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injuries to restore normal movement and function. Also providing support to patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis to prevent secondary complications.

    Palliative Care

    Working in the community or in hospices to treat patients with late stage cancer or AIDS.

    Private Practice

    Working independently in private practice, clinics, hospitals, and GP surgeries, treating a wide range of conditions.

    Occupational Health

    Larger companies often have their own medical centre. Chartered physiotherapists treat employees’ injuries and evaluate the work process in order to prevent physical problems due to repetitive work tasks.

    Mental Health

    Helping people with mental illness through exercise and relaxation techniques aimed at improving self esteem and confidence.

    Musculoskeletal Outpatients

    Within hospital or GP practice settings, treating spinal and joint problems, trauma and sports injuries.

    Women’s Health

    Advising on antenatal and postnatal care, exercise and posture, and managing continence and post-gynaecological operations.

    Intensive care

    Working with seriously ill people to maintain joint function and maintain good respiratory function.

    As you can see, there are a wide range of very different specialties within physiotherapy. The thing that all areas have in common is the use of exercise and manual skills to improve patient function.

    After graduate qualification, most chartered physiotherapists gain a wide range of experience in these different clinical areas before specialising in one area. This requires further postgraduate qualifications.

    Before you apply for a place on a physiotherapy degree course, it is important that all students realise they will be required to undertake clinical placements in a wide range of the above specialities and to demonstrate basic skills in the core areas of musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and neurology, prior to qualification.

    Following qualification, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) recommends newly qualified chartered physiotherapists consolidate their knowledge by working under the supervision of more experienced clinicians. Medical insurance companies now stipulate that physiotherapists must have at least 5 years experience before they will consider them for recognition. This means that it is likely to take eight years from commencement of training for a physiotherapist to realise any ambition they might have to make a full career from private practice.

    Work Experience as a Physiotherapist

    Work experience shows you have researched a career as a chartered physiotherapist and helps you understand what the job is all about. Because of the confidential nature of the work, and the work demands on the small number of staff, work experience within a professional football club is usually not possible. Also, as mentioned earlier, this is only one area that chartered physiotherapists work in and is not reflective of the profession as a whole.

    A better alternative is to get an insight of physiotherapy within a hospital. Many physiotherapy programmes or hospital departments in your area will probably hold an open day at some stage in the year. Requests to either should be made in writing, enclosing a large stamped addressed envelope.

    Gaining work experience within the hospital physiotherapy department is helpful, but places are limited and this may be difficult to organise because of the pressures there are on busy physiotherapy departments.

    Work experience in any area of healthcare should be useful, since the university admissions tutors want to ensure that you have the ability to communicate well with a cross-section of the public and can cope with issues surrounding illness and disability. Your school careers teacher or school/local careers department should be able to assist with organising work experience, as well as helping you to write letters and make appointments.

    Studying to be a Chartered Physiotherapist

    There are three main routes:

    Full Time Programmes

    It takes three or four years of full-time study to become a chartered and state registered physiotherapist. This includes a large amount of study in your own time, and lengthy clinical placements that may not necessarily be in your university area. The course is extremely demanding and requires a substantial commitment to study.

    Part Time Programmes

    There are a number of part-time physiotherapy programmes in the UK. A few of these programmes have been set up primarily for physio assistants who would like to train as chartered physiotherapists.

    Accelerated Programmes

    There are a number of accelerated physiotherapy programmes in the UK offering licence to practice physiotherapy. Applicants who have already obtained a degree in a relevant discipline such as a biological science, psychology or sports science, (first class or upper second class honours graduates), may be eligible to study for an accelerated Masters degree programme. Upon successful completion, graduates will be eligible to apply for state registration and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

    What qualifications do I require in order to get on a physiotherapy degree course?

    This depends on the university that you apply to. The general requirements are as follows:

    England, Wales & Northern Ireland – School leavers are normally required to have three A2 level subjects at a minimum of grade C and above (one should be biological science) and normally four A1 levels at grade B including a biological science. In addition to the above, students should hold a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C and above. The latter should be taken at one sitting and include mathematics, english language and a spread of science subjects.

    The typical A level profile of a school leaver accepted for all programmes in 2000 was 24 A level points (the equivalent of 3 Bs).

    Scotland – A typical student profile is five SCE Highers at grades AABBB taken at one sitting (minimum of two science subjects).

    Eire – School leavers should have an Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of four passes in subjects at higher level – two at B grade and two at C grade.

    Other qualifications, such as BTec/HND Health Studies, GNVQ in Health and Social Care equivalent to those listed above, may be accepted but prospective students are strongly advised to contact the institutions to which they intend to apply for their specific requirements.

    Remember, each university has its own individual entry requirements. Applicants are advised to write directly to the universities of their choice, enclosing a large stamped addressed envelope, for a prospectus, which will include specific details of entry requirements. Alternatively, telephone the admissions tutor at each university for more specific information about their programme.

    How to apply for a physiotherapy degree programme

    After reading through the college prospectuses and visiting open days, applications for full time physiotherapy undergraduate degree programmes can be made through Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) www.ucas.ac.uk.

    Your school or local careers service can help guide you through this process.

    What’s the difference between choosing a physiotherapy or sports therapy course?

    Physiotherapists who treat sports injuries tend to work in elite level sport, such as a Premiership football club or with Olympic athletes, more than sports therapists. Although sports therapists work purely in sports injury treatment only a small minority of sports therapists work in elite sport.

    A level grades may end up making your decision for you. Generally, Physiotherapy degrees require three B’s or above, while the requirements for Sports Therapy degrees are less demanding.

    What undergraduate physiotherapy courses are available?

    There are over 30 physiotherapy degree programmes across the UK. In addition, there are a number of accelerated programmes in physiotherapy, mostly at masters level, to cater for those who already have a relevant undergraduate degree and wish to qualify as a chartered physiotherapist. The following courses were listed by UCAS at the time of writing (the course codes are provided) and are validated by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Health Professionals Council:

    Aberdeen R – 36

    School of Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Garthdee, Aberdeen AB10 7QG

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 01224 627 105

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 Years full time)2. MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) (2 years full time accelerated)Programme starts in January. Applications should be made directly to RGU.

    Birmingham B – 32

    School of Health Sciences (Physiotherapy), University of Birmingham, Physiotherapy – Morris House, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT

    Contact: Jacky Conduit, Admissions Tutor, T 0121 627 2020

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time). If you are interested in studying on a part-time basis, please contact the admissions tutor direct.

    Website: www.bham.ac.uk

    Bradford B – 56

    Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Unity Building, 25 Trinity Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD5 OBB

    Contact: Judith Hinton, Admissions Tutor, T 01274 236 321

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.brad.ac.uk/acad/health/

    Brighton B – 72

    School of Health Professions, Faculty of Health, University of Brighton, Robert Dodd Building (Eastbourne Campus), 49 Darley Road, Eastbourne BN20 7UR

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 01273 643 772

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    MSc Rehabilitation Sciences (pre-registration – 2 years full time accelerated). Starting March 2003.

    Website: www.brighton.ac.uk/sohp

    Bristol B – 80

    School of Allied Health Professions, Faculty of Health & Social Care, University of the West of England, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD

    Contact: The Faculty Admissions Office, T 0117 344 8442

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.uwe.ac.uk

    Cardiff W – 10

    Department of Physiotherapy Education, Ty Dewi Sant, School of Health Care Studies, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 02920 742 267

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)2. BSc Hons Physiotherapy (2 years full time accelerated). Starts Jan 2003. Please contact Cardiff for further details.

    Coventry C – 85

    School of Health & Social Sciences, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB

    Contact: Mrs R Gutteridge, Admissions Tutor, T 012476 888 338

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.coventry.ac.uk

    Edinburgh Q – 25

    Department of Physiotherapy, Queen Margaret University College, Leith Campus, Duke Street, Edinburgh EH6 8HF

    Contact: Alisdair MacSween, Admissions Tutor, T 0131 317 3666

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time)2. MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) (2 years full time accelerated).Starts September 2002. Contact Ms M Flynn, Course Leader T 0131 317 3645. Applications direct to QMUC.

    Glasgow G – 42

    Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry & Radiography, Glasgow Caledonian University, City Campus, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 OBA

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time). Contact Heather Gray (admissions tutor) T 0141 331 81372. MSc Rehabilitation Science (2 years full time accelerated)Contact: Tom McCarron, (admissions tutor) T 0141 331 8125. Applications should be made directly to GCU.

    Website: www.gcal.ac.uk

    Hertfordshire H – 36

    Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield Campus, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB

    Contact: Christine Mikelsons 01707 286274 [email protected]

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.herts.ac.uk

    Huddersfield H – 60

    School of Human & Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Division of Physiotherapy, Ramsden Building, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH

    Contact: Mrs G Robinson, Admissions Tutor T 01484 472701

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time

    Website: www.hud.ac.uk

    Keele K – 12

    Department of Physiotherapy Studies, Mackay Building, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG

    Contact: Sandy Robertson, Admissions Tutor, T 01782 584196

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.keele.ac.uk/depts/pt/homepage.htm

    Leeds L – 27

    School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health & Environment (Physiotherapy), Leeds Metropolitan University, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3HE

    Contact: Amanda Asghar, Admissions Tutor, T 0113 283 2600 x 5802

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.lmu.ac.uk

    Liverpool L – 41

    Department of Allied Health Professions, Division of Physiotherapy, University of Liverpool, Thompson Yates Building, The Quadrangle, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GB

    Contact: The Admissions Secretary, T 0151 794 5712

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.liv.ac.uk

    London – Brunel University B – 85

    Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Health & Social Care, Brunel University, Lancaster House, Borough Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5DU

    Contact: Admissions Tutor (Physiotherapy), T 020 8891 0121

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time). Applications should be made directly to Brunel.

    Website: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/physiotherapy

    London – King’s College London K – 60

    Physiotherapy Division, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, Kings College London, Shepherd’s House, Guy’s Campus, London SE1 1UL

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 020 7848 6338

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)2. MSc in Physiotherapy (pre-registration; 2 years full time accelerated). Please contact Kings College for further details.

    Website: www.kcl.ac.uk/prospective/index.html

    London – St George’s Hospital Medical School S – 49

    School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health & Social Care, St George’s Hospital Medical School, 2nd Floor Grosvenor Wing, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 ORE

    Contact: Secretary to School of Physiotherapy, T 020 8725 2274

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    London – University of East London E – 28

    Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science and Health, University of East London, Romford Road, Stratford, London E15 4LZ

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 020 8590 7722

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time). Please contact the admissions tutor directly if you are interested in studying on a part-time basis.

    Website: www.uel.ac.uk

    Manchester M – 20

    School of Physiotherapy, Manchester Royal Infirmary, (University of Manchester), Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Newcastle N – 77

    School of Health, Community & Education Studies, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Coach Lane Campus, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE7 7XA

    Contact: Faculty Admissions Office, T 0191 215 6665

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 year part time, inservice)- subject to validation

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (2 year accelerated programme) – subject to validation

    MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration; 2 year accelerated programme) – subject to validation

    Website: www.unn.ac.uk

    Norwich – E 14

    School of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, The Queen’s Building, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ

    Contact: Gill Emanuel T 01603 593063, Patricia Porritt T 01603 593177

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.uea.ac.uk/ahp/courses/bsc-physiotherapy and www.uea.ac.uk/ahp/courses/msc-physiotherapy

    Nottingham N – 84

    Division of Physiotherapy Education, Clinical Sciences Building, University of Nottingham, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PG

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 0115 840 4881/10

    BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.nottingham.ac.uk/physiotherapy

    Oxford O – 66

    School of Health Care (Physiotherapy), Oxford Brookes University, Department of Rehabilitation, Dorset House, 58 London Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7PEContact: Physiotherapy Secretary, T 01865 485 257

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    Website: www.brookes.ac.uk

    Salford S – 03

    School of Healthcare Professions, University of Salford, Frederick Road Campus, Frederick Road, Salford M6 6PU

    Contact: Admissions Tutor, T 0161 295 2280

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)2. BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years part-time).Applications should be made directly to the Department of Physiotherapy at Salford.

    Website: www.salford.ac.uk

    Sheffield S – 21

    School of Health & Social Care, Sheffield Hallam University, Collegiate Crescent Campus, Sheffield S1O 2BP

    Contact: Admissions Office, 4th Floor Surrey Building, Sheffield Hallam University, Pond Street, Sheffield S1 1WB, T 0114 225 3245

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)2. BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4/5 years part time) Starts September 2002. Applications direct to Sheffield.

    Website: www.shu.ac.uk

    University of Southampton S – 27

    Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

    Contact: Belinda Hatch, General Enquiries or Mrs Debbie Thackray, Admissions Tutor, T +44 (0) 23 8059 5500, F +44 (0) 23 8059 7900, E [email protected]

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years part time)

    Applications should be made directly to the Faculty of Health Sciences.

    Website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/healthsciences/undergraduate/courses/bsc_physiotherapy.page?

    Teesside T – 20

    School of Health & Social Care (Physiotherapy), University of Teesside, Centuria Building, Borough Road, Middlesborough TS1 3BA

    Contact: Admissions T 01642 384110 E [email protected]

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full time)2.

    Applications should be made directly to the School of Health at Teesside.

    Note: Anyone wishing to study physiotherapy, either BSc (Hons) or MSc must be eligible for a Department of Health bursary as self funding applicants cannot be accepted.

    Website: www.tees.ac.uk

    York – Y75

    York St John College (University of Leeds), Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO31 7EX

    Contact: Admissions Office T 01904 624 624

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (3 years full-time)

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years part-time) for physiotherapy assistantsApplications direct to YSJC.

    Website: www.yorksj.ac.uk

    Northern Ireland – Ulster U – 20

    School of Health Sciences – Physiotherapy, Faculty of Social, Health Sciences and Education, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 OQB

    Contact: Course Director, BSc Hons Physiotherapy, T 01232 366 579

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time)2. MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration; 2 years full-time accelerated). Applications should be made directly to University of Ulster.

    Website: www.ulst.ac.uk

    Applications for the following programmes should be made directly to the institution concerned:


    Faculty of Music, Arts & Health (Physiotherapy), Colchester Institute, Sheepen Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 3LL

    Contact: Jenny Morris, T 01206 518 165

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years part-time)

    London – South Bank University

    Faculty of Health, Southwark Campus, South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA

    Contact: Cheryl Pinder (Administrator), T 020 7815 8463 or email [email protected]

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years part-time) for physiotherapy assistants

    University College Dublin

    School of Physiotherapy, Mater Misericordie Hospital, University College Dublin, Eccles Street, Dublin 7, Republic of Ireland

    Contact: Dr Mary Garrett, Head of Department, T 00 353 1 304 533

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time)

    Website: www.ucd.ie

    Trinity Centre for Health Sciences

    School of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James’ Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland

    Contact: Admissions Office, University of Dublin, Trinity College, T 00 353 1 608 2003

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time)

    Website: www.tcd.ie

    Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

    School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St Stephen’s Green Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland

    Contact: Professor Marie Guidon, T 00353 1 402 2397

    BSc Hons Physiotherapy (4 years full time)

    Website: www.rcsi.ie

    Leave a comment