Physiotherapy» open the printable degree» search for more Areas of Study
The main focus of a physiotherapist is to identify and assess physical problems of patients, designing therapeutic treatment programs and implementing preventative health programs.
Physiotherapists study human musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory disorders and may specialise in a range of areas of practice. Physiotherapists often work as part of a multi-disciplinary team or independently and are may be self-employed.
Graduates are provided with knowledge and skills to practice as a physiotherapist and are eligible for registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and are able to seek employment anywhere in Australia. Opportunities are available in hospitals, rehabilitation units, community health centres, outpatient clinics, private practices, aged care, management positions and academic research.
The Bachelor of Physiotherapy Program is offered as a four year full-time degree at the Newcastle Callaghan Campus.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worth while considering the range of post-graduate study options available. Post-graduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the post-graduate study options following a degree in Physiotherapy include:
After completing a degree there are a broad range of post graduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.Further Study
Graduates from this program may find work in a variety of fields and settings.Graduates may choose to work as a physiotherapist or in areas of special interest within the physiotherapy profession.
- Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapist
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Continence and Womens Health Physiotherapist
- Exercise Rehabilitation/Injury Management Advisors
- Gerontological Physiotherapist
- Hand Therapist
- Health Promotion Officer
- Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
- Neurological Physiotherapist
- Occupational Health Physiotherapist
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
- ACT Department of Education and Training (Australia)
- Advanced Physiotherapy & Injury Prevention (Australia)
- Anglicare (Australia)
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Australia)
- CRS Australia (Australia)
- Department of Education and Training (Teach NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Health and Ageing (Australia)
- Department of Human Services (VIC) (Australia)
- Department of Human Services (Australia)
- Goulburn Valley Health (Australia)
- Hunter New England Health (Australia)
- Hunter Physio (Australia)
- Konekt (Australia)
- Life Care (Australia)
- North Care Physio (Australia)
- North Coast Area Health Service (Australia)
- NSW Department of Ageing, Disability & Home Care (Australia)
- NSW Department of Health (Australia)
- NT Department of Education and Training (Australia)
- Physical Disability Council (Australia)
- QLD Health (Australia)
- Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney (Australia)
- VicHealth (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Australia)
- Australian Physiotherapy Association (Australia)
- Australian Physiotherapy Council (Australia)
- Australian Society of Acupuncture Physiotherapists (Australia)
- Physiotherapy Allocation (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Physiotherapy are the skills, abilities and knowledge sets that are highly sought after in the industry. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
Graduate Profile Statements
- Physiotherapists possess a defined body of knowledge and procedural skills, which are used to collect and interpret data, make appropriate clinical decisions, and carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures within the boundaries of their discipline and expertise. Their care is characterised by up-to-date, ethical and cost-effective clinical practice and effective communication in partnership with patients, other health care providers, and the community. The role of physiotherapy expert/clinical decision-maker is central to the function of a physiotherapist, and draws on the competencies included in the roles of communicator, collaborator, manager, health advocate, scholar, and professional.
- Excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills are required for building effective partnerships and establishing rapport with patients, care givers, health professionals, other sectors and stakeholders, and the media. These skills are required to communicate physiotherapy messages with individuals, groups, the community and the population. These abilities are critical in empowering individuals/target groups to make informed decisions about their health and essential in eliciting patients’/target groups’ needs, beliefs and expectations about their health.
- Physiotherapists work in partnership with patients with respect to their care, and with others who are appropriately involved in the care of individuals, specific groups, communities or populations. It is therefore essential for physiotherapists to be able to collaborate effectively to build sustainable and equitable relationships with patients and multi-disciplinary/sectoral teams to facilitate the attainment of meaningful outcomes and health gains. This does not reduce the need, however, for the physiotherapist to be able to function independently when required (e.g. working in a remote location).
- Physiotherapists function as managers when they make everyday practice decisions involving resources, co-workers, tasks, policies and their personal lives. They do this in the settings of hospitals, private clinics, community health centres, health promotion units, and in the broader context of the health care system. Thus, physiotherapists require the abilities to prioritise and effectively execute tasks through teamwork with colleagues, and make systematic decisions when allocating finite health care resources. As managers, physiotherapists take on positions of leadership within the context of professional organisations and the dynamic Australian health care system.
- Physiotherapists recognise the importance of advocacy activities in responding to the challenges represented by those social, environmental, and biological factors that determine the health of patients and society. They recognise advocacy as an essential and fundamental component of health promotion that occurs at the level of the individual patient, the practice population, the health care team, the broader community, the media and at all levels of government. Health advocacy is measured by both the individual and collective responses of physiotherapists to health issues that impact at all levels of health care from the individual through to the development of public health initiatives and policy.
- Physiotherapists engage in a lifelong pursuit of mastery of their domain of professional expertise. They recognise the need to be continually learning and model this for others. Through their scholarly activities, they contribute to the appraisal, collection, and understanding of health care and relevant scientific knowledge, and facilitate the education of their students, patients, colleagues and others.
- Physiotherapists have a societal role as professionals with a distinct body of knowledge, skills and attitudes dedicated to improving the health and well-being of others. Physiotherapists are committed to the highest standards of excellence in clinical care and ethical conduct, and to continually perfecting mastery of their discipline.