Physiotherapy also commonly known as physical therapy, is a science-based profession that takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing. This is a treatment to help people that are affected by illness, injury or disability through advice, movement, exercise and manual therapy.
The Australian education system is widespread and respected. This is why it is a wonderful place to study despite the costs that come with it . The higher education institutions in Australia are known for their high standards, and this is especially true of the physiotherapy schools which are all ranked on the top of their classes.
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Brief History Of Physiotherapy
The origin of physiotherapy or (physical therapy) as a professional group date back to Per Henrik Ling, “Father of Swedish Gymnastics,”. He founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (RCIG) for manipulation, and exercise in 1813.
The Swedish word for a physical therapist is sjukgymnast = someone involved in gymnastics for those who are ill. In 1887, PTs were offered official registration by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. Other countries followed afterward. In 1894, four nurses in Great Britain formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
The School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in New Zealand in 1913, and the United States’ 1914 Reed College in Portland, Oregon, which graduated “reconstruction aides. Since the profession’s inception, spinal manipulative therapy has been a part of the physiotherapy practice.
Modern physiotherapy was established towards the end of the 19th century because of events that influenced a global scale, which called for rapid advances in physiotherapy.
Who is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a trained and certified medical expert with experience in diagnosing physical abnormalities, restoring physical function and mobility, maintaining physical function, and promoting physical activity and proper function.
Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disabilities through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education, and advice.
They help maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
What do physiotherapists do?
The profession encourages development and aid recovery, enabling people to stay at work while helping them remain independent for as long as possible.
However, the duties of a physiotherapist include the following;
- Bring wellness and mobility in physical disabilities caused by injuries, stroke or other neurological disorders through physiotherapy treatment programs.
- Initiate appropriate physiotherapy intervention programs for patients or clients suffering from immobility.
- Assess and evaluate physical disabilities caused by neurological disorders, stroke, diseases or injuries.
- Teach patients and their families about self-care treatment interventions.
- Consult and collaborate with consulting physicians and other medical professionals in providing physiotherapy treatments.
- Handle pain and physical problems caused by illnesses, disabilities, and injuries.
- Manage and treat patients with disabilities in-home and community care.
- Maintain and update patient records and documents.
- Provide quality physiotherapist treatment to the highest possible levels.
- Collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to provide patient care and comfort.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Physiotherapist?
To commence your career as a physiotherapist, you must obtain some appreciable level of training. You must at least earn a Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) degree and pass the licensing examination.
Basically, pursuing a career as a physiotherapist would require about 4 years, to complete with nothing less than 150 hours of volunteer within a physiotherapy setting or hospital.
In addition to the 4 years, you would be acquiring your bachelor’s degree, you will spend also about 3 years at a DPT program. Hence, making it about 7 years of education to become a physical therapist.
Meanwhile, some the DPT programs are in a six-year format in which students take pre-professional courses for the first three years. And then start up with the DPT courses for the second half of the program.
Requirements to become a Physiotherapist
Generally, the basic education a Physiotherapist need is to complete a master’s degree program in physiotherapy. That is after you must have completed your undergraduate studies in a science-related field of study.
Basically, very few undergraduate programs are specific to physiotherapy. Many university students who strive to become physiotherapists must choose a program related to science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or biology as a specialty.
Furthermore, you will have to pass your state licensing exam to practice in the state.
The next step for you is that you must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the Law Exam.
To really be on top of your career, it’s advisable you also get a doctorate degree.
Why Study Physiotherapy in Australia?
- As per the Australian Job Outlook report, there will be 2,600 job openings per year for physiotherapists in Australia, till 2023.
- Department of Education, Skills and Employment included physiotherapists in the list of occupations having skill shortage in Australia.
- Over 13,000 new jobs in Australia are expected to be created for physiotherapists up to 2023.
- Australia is also the second-highest paying country for physiotherapists with an average salary of 83,000 AUD per annum.
- An up-gradation from bachelors to Master of Physiotherapy in Australia increases the salary of a student by 33%.
- Starting with an average salary of 102,000 AUD per annum, a physiotherapist in Australia with 5 to 10 years of experience can earn up to 170,000 AUD per annum.
Due to booming job prospects and lucrative salaries offered, more number of international students are coming to study physiotherapy program in Australian universities.
Best Ranked Physiotherapy Universities In Australia
|QS Ranking 2020||University||Program Duration||Total Tuition Fees (in AUD)|
|38||University of Melbourne||3 years||1,37,096|
|42||University of Sydney||2 years||114,000|
|47||University of Queensland||2 years||117,840|
|140||University of Technology, Sydney||2 years||100,280|
|230||Curtin University||1 year||37,200|
|274||University of South Australia||2 year||91,600|
|383||Swinburne University of Technology||2 year||83,196|
|400||La Trobe University||2 year||92,800|
|424||Flinders University||2 year||86,000|
|484||University of Canberra||2 year||96,000|
Apart from the above institutions, some other top-ranked universities that offer postgraduate courses in physiotherapy are
- James Cook University: Master of Rehabilitation
- University of South Australia: Master of Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy (Sports) and Master of Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal)
- University of Western Australia: Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology
Course Curriculum of Master of Physiotherapy in Australia
The course of Master of Physiotherapy includes therapeutic exercise and the application of electro physical modalities along with manual exercise expertise. The subjects which are covered in this program in top universities of Australia are listed below:
- Foundations of Physiotherapy- Fundamentals of Communication, Movement & Exercise
- Foundations of Physiotherapy- Fundamentals of Examination & Measurement
- Health Sciences Research Discovery
- Theory, Practice & Research: Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy – Upper and Lower Limb, Lumbar Spine, Cervical and Thoracic Spine,
- Practice & Research in Physiotherapy Across the Lifespan
- Theory, Practice & Research: Cardiothoracic Physiotherapy
- Health Promotion, Participation, and Preparation for Physiotherapy Practice
- Clinical Practice & Professional Studies – Intro Musculoskeletal & Acute Care
- Theory, Practice & Research: Neurological Physiotherapy.
Top physiotherapy universities in the world
#1. University of Delaware
Number of Programs: 8
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 94.34%
The University of Delaware has been ranked Number 1 in the list of best physical therapy schools.
The mission of the Department of Physiotherapy is to advance physiotherapist practice by providing outstanding entry-level and post-graduate education, translating science to deliver quality clinical services, leading federally funded rehabilitation research, and training the next generation of rehabilitation researchers and leaders of our profession.
#2. University of Pittsburgh
Number of Programs: 11
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Graduation Rate: 82%
The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburg is among the best physiotherapy schools in the world. Hence, the school is known for its excellence in academic and clinical education, and high-impact, multidisciplinary research.
The school has been leading the way to help people of all ages and stages of life to overcome movement, function, and mobility challenges.
The University of Pittsburg School of Health and Rehabilitation has been listed as the second-best accredited physiotherapy school.
#3. University of Southern California
Number of Programs: 10
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Graduation Rate: 92
The University of Southern California has been ranked as the 3rd best physiotherapist school in the world. Their three-degree programs allow graduates to choose an educational path to help them reach their goals and become leaders in the field.
The majority of the students are enrolled in our pioneering, three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is delivered in both hybrid and residential formats. The school also offers one of the top programs in kinesiology — the study of the biological bases of movement, with a master’s degree and a Ph.D.
The University is leading residency programs preparing advanced practitioners in the following areas: neurological, orthopedic, pediatric, and sports physiotherapy.
#4. Washington University in St. Louis
Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Graduation Rate: 94%
The Washington University Program in Physiotherapy is leading in advancing human health through movement, integrating interdisciplinary research, outstanding clinical care, and education of tomorrow’s leaders to drive optimization of function across the lifespan.
Furthermore, the Program in Physiotherapy has pioneered a unique, movement-based approach to physical therapy.
The Washington University physiotherapy has been ranked as the fourth-best PT school.
#5. Emory University
Number of Programs: 7
Acceptance Rate: 19%
Graduation Rate: 91%
The Department of Physiotherapy has been a destination of choice for many prospective physiotherapy students. There is something about the program that fosters exceptional skills, creativity, reflectivity, and humanity while instilling self-confidence as students transform into outstanding professionals.
The mission of the Department of Physiotherapy is to cultivate the well-being of individuals and global communities through exemplary leadership in physiotherapy education, discovery, and service.
The school is the fifth-best school for physiotherapy.
#6. Northwestern University
Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Graduation Rate: 94%
The Department of Physiotherapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University maintains the richest possible educational environment for students to acquire training in physical therapy.
Northwestern is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.
Northwestern University is the sixth-best school that offers physical therapy training.
#7. University of Iowa
Number of Programs: 6
Acceptance Rate: 84.1%
Graduation Rate: 70%
The Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences has an outstanding history of success at the University of Iowa.
The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences offers a unique learning environment in a leading medical education center. The department consists of faculty members who are dedicated clinical educators and scientists who embrace the department’s mission to advance the health of humankind.
Through our faculty members’ clinical teaching skills and commitment to advancing new knowledge in physical therapy, our students are artfully mentored to meet the challenges facing health care today.
Meanwhile, in 2019 our students enjoyed a 100% first-time pass rate on the Federation of State Boards of Physiotherapy’s national licensure exam.
Moreso, The University of Iowa Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is ranked #3 among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report.
#8. MGH Institute of Health Professions
Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 11%
Graduation Rate: 93.9%
Innovation. Excellence. Leadership. These three words capture the department’s traditions and aspirations. These features are fixed throughout our academic and learned activities and lived by our faculty and students.
Their Doctor of Physiotherapy Program prepares physiotherapists to be successful practitioners and leaders in complex and developing health care systems. To achieve this goal, we maintain critical thinking and clinical decision-making, collaborative team-based care, and lifelong learning.
Their Residency in Orthopaedic PT provides clinicians a path to orthopedic specialization and excellent practice. Residents develop expertise in orthopedic practice and research working with mentors within our clinical partnerships, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Centers, and beyond with our exceptional community sites.
This faculty churns out leaders, innovators, and scholars. The school endeavor to prepare its students to be the best practitioners of tomorrow. Join the school in the historic Navy Yard of Boston, home to the U.S.S. Constitution and Boston Freedom Trail, and begin your journey to become tomorrow’s physiotherapist.
#9. U.S. Army-Baylor University
Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: no acceptance rate provided for this school
Graduation Rate: 97%
The Army-Baylor University DPT program is a top-ranked physiotherapy school committed to “producing clinician-scientists and leaders of tomorrow.” Through excellence in academics and clinical education, the school select and train highly qualified individuals to become military physical therapists.
Since 1922, the US Army has trained physiotherapists to meet the needs of injured soldiers. In 1971, the United States Army and Baylor University got into a partnership to establish and conduct a graduate-level, physical therapy training program for the armed forces. Since that time, this program has continuously adapted to meet the physiotherapy needs of the armed forces through excellence in academic coursework, clinical education, research and professional development of uniformed physical therapists.
#10. Duke University
Number of Programs: 12
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 100%
The Duke Doctor of Physiotherapy Program is an inclusive community of scholars engaged in the discovery, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge in the optimal care of patients and instruction of learners.
The mission of the school is to develop the next generation of the profession’s leaders, committed to health equity and expertly prepared to integrate the best available proof in the patient-centered management of function and quality of life within a dynamic health system.