Explore a career as a sports physiotherapist

August 15, 2016

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Sports physiotherapists are qualified physiotherapists who work specifically with athletes to prevent injury and assess, treat and rehabilitate athletes who have sustained any type of sports-related injury. These professionals typically work with sporting teams and organisations as well as in hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, fitness centres, private homes, and workplaces.

Detailed job description

As a sports physiotherapist, your main tasks would include treating sports-related injuries, helping in the recovery and rehabilitation of sports players and offering them advice on how to enhance their athletic performance and avoid sports injuries. Specific job duties may include developing a customised rehabilitation plan for each client and working with them to help them recover and regain strength using a combination of hands-on therapy and stretching exercises. You will also be responsible for tracking their progress as they work with you and practice on their own.

Essential skills and abilities

Since sports therapists generally work on a one-to-one basis with their clients, excellent interpersonal and communication skills are very important. The work can be physically demanding as you may often need to move or lift a person. To be able to carry out your job efficiently, you will need to ensure that you are in peak physical condition.

Education & training requirements

To specialise in this field, you will first need to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy. This is a 4-year full-time course. Another option is to obtain an associated Bachelor’s degree in a specialty such as exercise physiology, followed by a postgraduate qualification in physiotherapy.

Once you are a qualified physiotherapist, you can later choose to specialise further in sports physiotherapy. Before you can practice independently in this field you need to first obtained titled membership of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). The APA title is a professional mark of recognition.


The salary range for sports physios in Australia varies greatly depending on the practice setting and their level of experience. The average annual salary range for a sports physiotherapist working in private practice is between $90,000 and $110,000. Sports physios involved in high-level sporting teams can earn about $110,000 to $150,000 a year. There would be a lot of travelling in this role.

Rewards and challenges of the job

It takes hard work and commitment to work in this specialty. The work can also be physically demanding with a lot of heavy duty hands-on work, especially if you work with a sporting team. During the season you may find yourself working seven days a week, massaging, advising and treating athletes before and after their game and sometimes even during the game. It can be very taxing.

Despite the challenges working as a physiotherapist in the sports setting is an incredibly rewarding profession, as you get to see your clients achieve peak performance on the field.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.