Physiotherapy assistant

Physiotherapy support worker

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Physiotherapy assistants help physiotherapists work with patients to restore or improve movement.

Salary range: £17,652 to £23,761

How to become a physiotherapy assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science

Most health and social care courses include work placements, which is a good way for you to get experience.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can do an intermediate apprenticeship as a health care support worker, or advanced apprenticeship as a senior healthcare support worker.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could start as a healthcare assistant and learn on the job, then move into physiotherapy work through further training and promotion.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it useful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting or personal care role.

You could also contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for advice about opportunities.

Private physiotherapy clinics, nursing homes and sports clinics may also offer work placements.

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got relevant skills and experience from working in a healthcare setting.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a physiotherapy assistant from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • talking to patients and preparing them for therapy
  • showing patients how to use mobility aids
  • demonstrating and working through exercises with patients
  • setting up equipment
  • keeping records of patients’ progress
  • providing reports to physiotherapists

Working environment

You could work at a health centre, at a client’s home or in an NHS or private hospital.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience and further qualifications, you could become a senior physiotherapy support worker, or assistant practitioner. 

You could take an accredited degree to train as a physiotherapist.

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