Are you interested in how the body works? Physiotherapy combines sports and science to help people improve their mobility, perform better in competition, and live pain free lives.
Although a university degree is the most popular way to become a physiotherapist, you can also get your qualification through a degree apprenticeship. There aren’t many physiotherapist apprenticeships out there, but you can still find them on some of the websites we’ve listed below. Let’s dive in.
Jobs in physiotherapy
As a physiotherapist, you’ll spend your days helping patients improve their physical movement and mobility so they can recover from illness or injury or reduce their pain levels. You might work in a hospital or GP surgery, a community health centre, or you might visit patients at home. Your role will involve providing consultations and advice and assisting patients in performing physical exercises.
A chiropractor is an expert in neck and back conditions, aka. The neuromusculoskeletal system. You’ll treat health problems that affect patients’ bones, joints and muscles using techniques like X-rays, exercise recommendations and spinal manipulation (which is basically a special form of massage therapy).
Osteopathy also focuses on the musculoskeletal system to relieve problems like arthritis, joint pain and sports injuries. The treatments you’ll use include physical examinations, stretching and massage therapy. The difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath is that chiropractors specialise in the spine and joints, whereas osteopaths take care of the whole body.
Occupational therapy is similar to physiotherapy, but the goal isn’t the same. Occupational therapists (also called OTs) help patients to improve basic functions to help with their daily lives, e.g. getting out of bed in the morning. However, physiotherapists provide treatment and rehabilitation. As an OT, you will review a patient’s lifestyle and physical condition and offer ways to help them carry out day-to-day activities.
Lecturer and teacher
If clinical practice isn’t right for you, you could complete an additional training course and become a lecturer or teacher in physiotherapy. Or, you could stick with clinical practice and become a senior manager or supervisor to oversee the decisions of fellow physiotherapists.
You can browse over 60 different courses and providers on the CSP website, including an Advanced Clinical Practitioner Apprenticeship that is equivalent to a master’s degree. If you the CSP’s social media channels, you can network with thousands of qualified physiotherapists and pick their brains for information and guidance.
Check out the gov.uk website to see the Level 6 Physiotherapist Apprenticeship. This 48-month programme is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll earn £24,000 while you learn. You can use the course finder search bar on the website to find a training provider near you.
The NHS is the most popular place to look for clinical apprenticeships like physiotherapy. You’ll also find loads of ‘stepping stone’ apprenticeships that you might be interested in before pursuing physiotherapy, such as the Level 3 Senior Therapy Support Worker role.
Most course providers for physiotherapy apprenticeships are universities that have partnerships with hospitals to provide clinical apprenticeships. Your school or college can help you contact universities near you to find out if they offer the clinical course you need.
You’ll need five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including English, maths and science, to qualify for a physiotherapy apprenticeship. Depending on the course, you might also need two or three A Levels, and usually an equivalent qualification like a BTEC or an NVQ will be fine. Physiotherapy is a patient-facing role, so you’ll need to work on your communication, interpersonal and action listening skills to help you provide patients with the best possible care.
After you have completed the apprenticeship, the next task is to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to legally practice as a physiotherapist in the UK. Your employer or apprenticeship provider can help you complete the application. The HCPC is a regulatory body, which basically means they make sure you are actually a health professional if you say you are. It also has standards of conduct to check you follow the correct protocols when you’re helping patients.
Care for the public’s physical health with a physiotherapy apprenticeship
An apprenticeship in physiotherapy is just the start – in the future, you could specialise in areas like neurology, sports and children’s health to keep your career exciting and dynamic.