How to Become a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapist Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $46,650
Avg. Pay / hour $22.43
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 22%

Physiotherapists, most commonly referred to as Physical Therapists, are medical professionals who are experienced in working with individuals who are working on rehabilitation due to an illness or injury.

These professionals help their patients with any mobility issues and pain management.

Physical therapy can be one of many therapies such as medication to help an individual improve physically.

Individuals who want to become a Physiotherapist will need a combination of personal characteristics, complete postsecondary degrees and become licensed according to their state’s requirements in order to enter this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Physiotherapist

Individuals who want to become a Physiotherapist will need several years of education, including a bachelor’s and a graduate degree, complete a residency and become licensed.

Licensing requirements will vary by state.

Individuals are also encouraged to gain on the job experience in order to qualify to become board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Individuals who want to become a Physiotherapist will need to complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

A specific degree is not required, but individuals will need to have a strong background in the sciences in order to be accepted into a graduate program.

Courses that are prerequisites for graduate programs include: anatomy, physics, chemistry, biology and physiology.

Individuals will then need to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from an accredited program.

Visit CAPTE for more information on accredited programs.

Individuals are encouraged to apply for a DPT program by visiting PTCAS

A DPT program typically lasts 3 years to complete in addition to an undergraduate degree.

A typical DPT program may include a curriculum that focuses on: biomechanics, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology and anatomy.

Students will also participate in clinical internships that will help them gain practical experience under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Individuals also have the option of completing a yearlong residency which can focus on an area of specialization.

Individuals entering this profession will also need to become licensed in order to enter this profession.

Licensing requirements will vary by state; individuals are encouraged to contact their states for specific requirements.

However, individuals will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination in order to become licensed.

Individuals can visit the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website to learn more information.

Individuals who want to become board certified in a specialization can visit ABPTS to learn more information on this process.

One requirement is to have several years of experience in the field or to complete an approved residency program.

Physiotherapist Job Description

Physiotherapists, also known as Physical Therapists, are responsible for meeting with patients to provide treatment to individuals who have been suffering from an illness or injury.

These professionals help their patients to manage pain and to improve their mobility.

Day to day activities include reviewing a patient’s medical records and documenting their observations and interactions with their patients.

They will observe their patient’s physical movements and diagnose any dysfunctions.

They will also provide a treatment plan that includes recommended exercise plans; these plans will include recommended stretches and hands on therapy.

These professionals will also use tools and equipment that helps with treatment.

Physiotherapists will monitor their patient’s progress and document it into their file.

Physiotherapist Salary and Career Path

In 2012, Physiotherapists, or Physical Therapists, earned a median salary of approximately $79,860 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience, the size of employer or whether an individual works full time.

Statistics from 2012 show that approximately 25 percent of Physiotherapists work part time, affecting their yearly income.

Physiotherapists employed full time can earn up to $112,020 per year.

The job outlook for this profession is expected to grow at a much faster rate when compared to other professions.

The Physical Therapist profession is expected to add 36 percent more jobs through the year 2022.

This fast growth is attributed to the demand for physical therapy services; the aging population that is more active than previous generations is affecting the increase in demand.

Older individuals will also need services for rehabilitation from injuries or medical problems.

Physical Therapists use a combination of skills and knowledge to provide quality service to their patients.

They use their medical knowledge to help individuals with pain management and to assist them with mobility issues.

Since they work constantly with patients, they must also be personable in order to retain their patients.

This career is a good fit for those who work well with others.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Colorado- NA -
Idaho- NA -
New Hampshire$57,800
New Jersey$55,670
New York$65,450
North Carolina$48,730
South Carolina$45,480
West Virginia$53,190

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $76,040.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $76,040
New York - $65,450
Connecticut - $63,770
Minnesota - $62,350
Massachusetts - $62,230
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Exercise Physiologists, OCC Code 29-1128, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists also known as physical therapists, use a variety of techniques, including kinesiology, electrotherapy and exercise prescription, to treat conditions such as cartilage damage, arthritis, and physical impairments and to improve the patient’s physical functions.

Physical therapy can be provided as a primary care treatment or in conjunction with other treatments.

Physiotherapists usually use the patient’s history, perform a physical exam and may also use lab tests, CTI scans and MRI findings in order to diagnose and establish a treatment plan.

If you are a compassionate person with good interpersonal skills and physical stamina, a career as a physiotherapist may be the right choice for you.

How much does a physiotherapist make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapists was $87,930, as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary depending on the industry and the physiotherapist’s level of experience.

Some make more than $120,000 a year, while others earn less than $60,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and a state license in order to practice.

DPT school can cost you anywhere between $75,000 and more than $150,000, depending on the institution you choose.

Before enrolling at a DPT program you will typically need a bachelor’s degree.

Some colleges also offer mixed programs that can be completed in 6-7 years and can lead to both a bachelor’s and a DPT degree.

What is the demand for physiotherapists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Physical therapists will be needed to help a large number of aging baby boomers stay active later in life.

Older people are more likely to experience strokes and mobility-related injuries and may need physical therapy for rehabilitation.

Job opportunities are expected to be good for licensed physical therapists, especially in hospitals and nursing facilities.

How long does it take to become a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Doctor of Physical Therapy programs can typically be completed in about 3 years but many require a bachelor’s degree for admission.

A bachelor’s degree can usually be earned in about 4 years.

Some colleges also offer programs that last 6-7 years and lead to both a bachelor’s and a DPT degree.

After graduating from an accredited DPT school you may apply for a clinical residency program which will typically last about 1 year.

If you want to specialize even further you can choose to complete a fellowship in an advanced clinical field.

All states require physiotherapists to be licensed and in order to get your license you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination; other licensure requirements vary by state.

Physical therapists may also need continuing education classes in order to keep their license.

You can also choose to become a board-certified specialist; for this, you will need around 2000 hours of clinical experience and you must also pass an exam.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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