Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists/physical therapists play an important role in the health care of people of all ages who have lost movement or ability following an accident or illness helping them to resume as active and independent life as possible. Their work is aimed at the prevention, treatment and alleviation of a wide range of disorders.

Physiotherapists carry out work in areas such as gross motor development, postural management, hydrotherapy, orthotic assessment and monitoring, sensory integration, respiratory conditions, orthopaedic issues and horse riding for people with special needs.

Job description

Work activities

  • Work with health care organisations as part of the multi-disciplinary team.
  • Assess and analyse the effect of illness, disability, injury and inactivity on functional ability.
  • Treat patients using exercise, movement, electrotherapy and mobilisation.
  • Educate and advise patients and their carers.

Work conditions

Travel: can be a feature of the job.
Working hours: can involve unsocial hours including evenings and weekends.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: may practise on their own or in partnership with one or more colleagues.

Typical employers

Hospitals, both HSE and private, community care, research and education.

There are also opportunities in special schools, daycare centres, sports clinics, private practice, voluntary organisations and industry.

Career development

New graduates usually start in general hospitals, gaining experience in different specialities on a rotational basis. Physiotherapists can specialise in particular areas such as acupuncture, sport injuries, women’s health, intellectual disabilities, respiratory care, neurology and gerontology, rheumatology, paediatrics, occupational health & ergonomics, oncology & palliative care. Opportunities exist for advancement to senior level, clinical specialist and management.

Salaries

Salaries will vary depending on employer or size of practice.

Republic of Ireland: public sector salaries are available on the Department of Health website.

Northern Ireland: details of the most recent salary scales can be found on the NHS website.

Entry requirements and training

Entry requirements

To practise physiotherapy in Ireland, you must become a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) by successfully completing a recognised degree in Physiotherapy.

Undergraduate physiotherapy education programmes from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Trinity College Dublin, UCD and the University of Limerick are accredited by the ISCP. Graduates are eligible to become members of the ISCP and can work in the Irish public health system without individual qualification validation.

Specific degree subjects required

  • Physiotherapy

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not needed.

Postgraduate taught programmes at Diploma or Masters degree level in areas such as Sport and Exercise can be studied on a part-time basis allowing clinicians to continue their clinical work. Research opportunities also exist in areas such as performance science.

Two-year (full-time) accelerated courses area available in the UK. These courses are for people who have graduated in other relevant disciplines and wish to qualify as physiotherapists. These courses will lead to a master's degree.

Specific entry requirements

Physiotherapists need to be physically fit.

Training

Chartered Physiotherapists are obliged to continuously update clinical skills and knowledge to be able to offer best clinical reasoning, evaluation and treatment to all service users and their families. Continuing clinical courses are organised by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.

Tips for applications

Work experience with a physiotherapist (either paid or voluntary) or in a health or care setting would be an advantage to any course application.

Skills and qualities

  • Good communication skills.
  • Enjoy working with people and have an interest in their wellbeing.
  • Emotionally balanced, patient, tactful and calm.
  • Ability to work fast, accurately and make quick decisions.
  • Be physically fit.