NHS Careers > Explore by career > Allied health professions > Careers in the allied health professions > Physiotherapist



Physiotherapists help and treat people with physical problems caused by illness, accident or ageing.

It sees human movement as central to the health and well-being of individuals and identify and maximise movement through health promotion, preventive healthcare, treatment and rehabilitation.

A physiotherapist's core skills include manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and the application of electro-physical modalities. They also have an appreciation of psychological, cultural and social factors influencing their clients.

A variety of settings

Many physiotherapists work in hospitals where they are needed in virtually every department. In intensive care, for example, they are needed for round-the-clock chest physiotherapy to keep unconscious patients breathing.

A physiotherapist may also work in:

  • outpatients' departments
  • intensive care
  • womens' health
  • elderly care
  • stroke services
  • orthopaedics
  • mental health and learning disability services
  • occupational health
  • paediatrics.

Hospitals often have physiotherapy gyms, hydrotherapy and high-tech equipment so that specialist therapy can be carried out.

Working in the community

Today's physiotherapist is just as likely to work in the local community as within a hospital. In fact wherever people are at risk of injury from their occupation or activity.

Nowadays, more and more physiotherapists work in the community and a growing number are employed by GPs. Treatment and advice for patients and carers take place in their own homes, nursing homes, day centres, schools and health centres.

Skills needed

You'll need to be able to build a rapport with patients and maintain communication with relatives and carers as well as other healthcare professionals, such as  occupational therapists, GPs, health visitors, district nurses and social workers.

Physiotherapy is a hands on career in every sense. You'll need to be tolerant, patient, a team player and compassionate. You will also need to be level-headed, practical and have good communication skills. Read about the other skills needed to be any allied health professional.

Entry requirements and training

Information on entry requirements and training for physiotherapy.

Career prospects

Once you had some clinical experience you could specialise in any one of a range of areas, such as orthopaedics, obstetrics or working with older people. Or you could go into research or teaching, or gain promotion to a more senior physiotherapy post. You could also move into health service management.

More information about furthering your career in physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy assistants/physiotherapy support workers

There are opportunities to work in assistant roles within physiotherapy. Staff working in a support role at a more advanced level, may be known as an assistant practitioner.

How to apply for job vacancies

Once you have completed a pre-registration programme in physiotherapy and have registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, you will normally be in a position to apply for jobs.

Job vacancies for physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants/clinical support workers are advertised in a range of places. Most NHS trusts will advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs website. Some will also advertise in trade journals and on trust websites.

For a list of trusts, please visit the NHS Choices website.

Further information

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
14 Bedford Row

Tel: 0207 306 6666
Fax: 0207 306 6611
E-mail: enquiries@csp.org.uk
Website: www.csp.org.uk