Take a hands-on approach to work as physiotherapist

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If you enjoy a hands-on approach to work, then a career as a sports physiotherapist could be for you.

The job can involve you working with top professional sports people, amateurs or people who do sports as a leisure activity.

The range of work you could expect to do includes:

l examining and diagnosing injuries

l planning treatment programmes

l using treatments such as manipulation, massage, heat treatment, electrotherapy and hydrotherapy

l advising how long it could take to return to sport after injury

l keeping full records of patients’ treatment and progress.

If you deal with sports professionals, you would work in a team with coaches, other health care professionals and sports scientists. You could specialise in a particular sport, or in a particular aspect of physiotherapy, such as rehabilitation.

Work patterns can often involve working irregular hours, including evenings and weekends.

When on tour with a team, you may work up to 16 hours a day as you would usually work on your own.

Being present at training sessions and competitions would involve travelling in the UK or possibly abroad.

Physiotherapists working in the NHS earn between £20,710 and £26,839 a year.

Specialist physiotherapists earn between £24,331 and £33,436 a year.

To become a sports physiotherapist, you first need to qualify as a chartered physiotherapist by completing a physiotherapy degree approved by the Health Professions Council (HPC).

When you have completed the degree, you will be eligible for state registration and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Visit the websites of the Health Professions Council and Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for details of approved degree courses.

Competition for places on physiotherapy degree courses is strong, so it would help you if you have relevant health care experience before applying, for example as a physiotherapy assistant.

As a physiotherapy assistant, you may be able to take a part-time degree alongside your job.

If you have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (such as a biological science, psychology or sports science) you may be eligible for an accelerated postgraduate programme. Contact the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for details.