Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent disorders in human movement caused by injury or disease.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • administering muscle, nerve, joint and functional ability tests to identify and assess physical problems of patients
  • designing treatment programs to address patients' problems
  • treating patients to reduce pain, improve circulation, strengthen muscles, improve cardiothoracic, cardiovascular and respiratory functions, restore joint mobility, and improve balance and coordination
  • using the therapeutic properties of exercise, heat, cold, massage, manipulation, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, ultraviolet and infra-red light and ultrasound in the treatment of patients
  • reviewing, continually monitoring, assessing and evaluating programs and treatments
  • consulting with other Health Professionals as required about patients' problems, needs and progress
  • instructing patients and their families in procedures to be continued at home
  • recording treatments given and patients' responses and progress
  • developing and implementing screening and preventative health promotion programs

Job Titles

  • Physiotherapist, or Physical Therapist

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      $1,250 Before Tax
    • Future Growth

      very strong
    • Skill Level

      Bachelor Degree or higher
    • Employment Size

      25300
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      33.0%
    • Female Share

      67.0%
    • Full-Time Share

      66.8%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a large occupation employing 25,300 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
    Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

    • Physiotherapists work in most parts of Australia.
    • They nearly all work in Health Care and Social Assistance.
    • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 35.5 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,250 per week (similar to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • The average age is 36 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
    • Around 7 in 10 workers are female.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200514700
    200614000
    200716400
    200817800
    200916000
    201021000
    201114600
    201215700
    201319300
    201421300
    201525300
    202033100

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsPhysiotherapistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings12501230

    Hours

    Weekly Hours Worked

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryPhysiotherapistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-time66.868.4
    Part-time33.231.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)35.540

    Main Industries

    Top Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance95.4
    Public Administration and Safety1.6
    Arts and Recreation Services1.3
    Education and Training0.7
    Other Industries1

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StatePhysiotherapistsAll Jobs Average
    NSW36.331.8
    VIC25.825.5
    QLD14.119.8
    SA9.36.8
    WA12.811.2
    TAS1.12
    NT0.11.1
    ACT0.61.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketPhysiotherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190-5.45.4
    20-2411.9-9.99.9
    25-3434.9-23.423.4
    35-4428.2-21.721.7
    45-548.5-21.121.1
    55-598.7-8.78.7
    60-644-5.95.9
    65 and Over3.7-3.83.8

    Gender

    Male Share

    Female Share

    Gender (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryPhysiotherapistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males33Males53.6
    Females67Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

    Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationPhysiotherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate37.5-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree62.5-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma0-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV0-18.918.9
    Year 120-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
    Below Year 100-8.18.1

    A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

    If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
    The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

    It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

    Employers look for Physiotherapists who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and work well in a team.

    Knowledge

    The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Medicine and Dentistry

      93% Important

      Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

    2. Customer and Personal Service

      87% Important

      Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    3. Psychology

      83% Important

      Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

    4. Therapy and Counseling

      82% Important

      Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

    5. Biology

      79% Important

      Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

    Occupational Information Network Physical Therapists Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Activities

    The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Assisting and Caring for Others

      94% Important

      Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

    2. Documenting/Recording Information

      92% Important

      Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

    3. Performing General Physical Activities

      89% Important

      Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

    4. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

      84% Important

      Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

    5. Performing for or Working Directly with the Public

      84% Important

      Performing for, or speaking with, the public. This includes speaking on television, serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

    Occupational Information Network Physical Therapists Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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