Becoming a physiotherapist in Australia

August 30, 2016

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Physiotherapists are allied health providers who specialise in assisting and treating patients experiencing physical difficulties resulting from ageing, injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists treat patients across all ages, from toddlers to the elderly. The injuries and conditions they encounter are just as varied as the ages of patients they treat, extending from very young children with congenital disabilities and teenagers with short-term sports-related to middle-aged stroke patients and geriatrics with age-related mobility limitations.

If you are passionate about promoting wellbeing and health and helping people improve their function and movement, a career as a physiotherapist may be a good fit for you.

Study routes to a career in physiotherapy

There are several pathways that you can choose from, depending on exactly what type of physiotherapy career you are looking for.

If you are looking for a support role, then completing a Diploma course, a Certificate level 111 or 1V or any other short course combined with a period of hands-on practice will qualify you to work as a physiotherapy assistant. The duration of these courses could range from a few weeks to a whole year of full-time study.
To qualify as a physiotherapist you will need to complete a four-year Bachelor degree in physiotherapy or a five-year double degree. If you wish to specialise in a particular field, you will have to complete your postgraduate study, which would usually be in the form of a Master’s Degree.

Types of programme

In Australia, aspiring physiotherapists can choose from programmes that are offered through TAFE, University or private college.

  • TAFE or Technical and Further Education institutes offer a variety of programmes for different Diploma level qualifications. For example completing a Diploma of Practice Management through TAFE can help you get accepted for a higher education physiotherapy programme. These courses typically include a mix of theory and practical learning. Clinical placements are an essential component in some courses.
  • Several universities in Australia offer accredited physiotherapy programmes at undergrad and graduate levels. Some of these include University of Sydney, Monash University, University of James Cook, Curtin University and Bond University. Some degree programmes also offer an Honours stream for students who achieve exemplary grades high in the 3rd and 4th This additional degree can give students a considerable competitive edge when job-hunting.
  • There are a few private colleges in Australia that offer physiotherapy programmes. Most of these tend to be at Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma levels. Some also offer short-term programmes in specialities such as Clinical Practice Management or Assessment and Treatment of Sports Injuries.


Australian law requires all physiotherapists to be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia before they can practice. You can apply for registration through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) about 4 to 6 weeks before graduation.

Salary on becoming a physiotherapist

The annual average salary of a physiotherapist in Australia can range from about AU$ 62,054 to AU$ 84,396. The exact salary depends on the years of experience, sub-specialty, employment setting and whether the clinic is located in the rural or urban location.


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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.