What is a Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists use their understanding of the science of movement to support both prevention of ill health and rehabilitation for their clients.
People may come to see a physiotherapist for a condition caused by an injury, an illness or a disability.
Physiotherapists study the science of movement. They learn how to pinpoint an injury’s root causes and help guide their patients to wellness.
When a patient comes for their first visit, the physiotherapist will take that patient’s history and assess the patient. Physiotherapists will then provide a diagnosis and create a treatment plan for their client, which can include teaching clients how to do exercises at home.
From working in home settings to working in hospitals and private clinics, there are countless options for a career in physiotherapy. Physiotherapists can also specialize in treating a certain type of condition (ex. Pelvic floor physiotherapy), a specific population (ex. Pediatric physiotherapy), or a specific category of physiotherapy (ex. Sports physiotherapy).
- The average Physiotherapist salary in Canada is $72,735 per year or $37.30 per hour.
- Entry level positions start at $31,524 per year.
- Most experienced workers make up to $100,000 per year.
Schooling Entry Requirements
Students applying to a master’s-level physiotherapy program must hold a 4-year undergraduate degree.
Not all schools require that an applicant’s undergraduate degree to be from a related field (ex. Biology, kinesiology, life sciences, etc.), but all schools have pre-requisite courses that include science courses (ex. Anatomy, physiology) and some social science courses (ex. Psychology, research methods, etc.). While GPA and pre-requisite course grade requirements vary by program, it is important to note that these programs are generally very competitive.
Schools may also require some or all of the following:
- Personal and/or academic references
- Relevant paid or unpaid experience
- A personal statement
- The CASPer test, which is a test of personal characteristics
- Immunization records and 2-step TB skin test
Physiotherapy is a two-year master’s level program that students take after completing a 4-year undergraduate degree. There are 14 Canadian universities that offer physiotherapy programs, five of which are in Ontario: the University of Toronto, Western University, Queen’s University, McMaster University, and the University of Ottawa.
Both Western University and McMaster University offer Indigenous application pathways.
As a regulated healthcare profession, there are many requirements that physiotherapists must meet to keep up their license. These include, but are not limited to:
- Having liability insurance
- Completing an annual self-assessment
- Self-reporting criminal charges
- Ongoing professional development
In addition, your school or workplace may have its own requirements, including medical requirements such as a 2-step TB skin test or an up-to-date record of immunization.
In order to call yourself a Physiotherapist in Ontario, you must complete a two-part test (Physiotherapy Competency Examination – PCE) and move through a multi-step registration process with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
For a flowchart of the application process, click here: https://www.collegept.org/applicants/canadian-educated
You may also choose to join professional associations, such as the Ontario Physiotherapy Association.