10 Jobs for Physiotherapy Students (With Average Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Candidates preparing for their future after studying physiotherapy can pursue a vast range of careers. These include customer-facing and intensive careers, focusing on bettering the lives of patients through improved mobility. Understanding the types of jobs available for physiotherapy students can help you make more informed career choices and take the necessary steps towards progressing. In this article, we discuss the 10 best jobs for physiotherapy students, including their national average salaries, primary duties, skills and qualification requirements, including what physiotherapy students study at university.

What do jobs for physiotherapy students require?

Before assessing jobs for physiotherapy students, it's important to understand what physiotherapy students study at university and why their qualifications are transferable across many careers. Physiotherapy students study ways to treat patients with muscular and skeletal conditions from either injury or degenerative illness. Physiotherapy students are instrumental in the maintenance of physical health and work to restore full or partial mobility in patients. These students have a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy and what exercises, treatment plans and pain management are most effective for different conditions.

After earning their degree, these professionals play an instrumental role in the rehabilitation of patients and understand how muscles interact to maintain critical movements like breathing, swallowing and neurological function. Like most medically oriented degrees, students study a combination of medical theory with placement work, experiencing first-hand patient interaction under the supervision of a fully qualified physiotherapist. From this, students understand how to work with a variety of different patients and can make well-informed decisions about their careers after study. Learning theory and patient interaction contribute to valuable employment qualities like interpersonal skills and research abilities.

10 jobs for physiotherapy students

With many transferable skills and their theoretical knowledge, physiotherapists benefit from multiple job prospects. Some careers available may require further study or specialisation. With an undergraduate or master's degree in physiotherapy, you can obtain knowledge of medicine and anatomy as a foundation for further study. You can research the requirements for roles you're interested in to further understand their qualifications.

Here are the 10 best jobs for physiotherapy students, with their national average salary, primary duties and job requirements:

1. Physiotherapist

National average salary: $81,619 per year

Primary duties: Physiotherapists are the primary care professionals responsible for treating and rehabilitating patients through effective treatment plans and pain management. These professionals also help slow or stop degenerative disease or injury through specialist knowledge of exercise and therapy recommendations. Physiotherapists can track their patients' progress and update their records with accuracy. These professionals may also oversee students as they train to become physiotherapists. They may work in partnership with other health care professionals, like orthopaedic surgeons, to ensure patients complete their rehabilitation and treatment programs.

Related: What Does a Physiotherapist Do? (With Career Steps)

2. Sports therapist

National average salary: $49,060 per year

Primary duties: Sports therapists spend most of their time treating and preventing sports-related industries. They may work with professional athletes with career-altering injuries to help them maintain all or some of their sporting abilities. They use specialist anatomical knowledge alongside other treatments to manage pain, strengthen muscles and maintain fitness levels. These professionals are highly proficient in first aid, rehabilitation, massage therapy, nutrition and capability assessment. Sports therapists can work in clinical settings or part of their own independent businesses.

Related: 28 Popular Sport Science Career Pathways (With Salaries)

3. Chiropractor

National average salary: $80,535 per year

Primary duties: Chiropractors use specialist anatomical knowledge to relieve pain and tension in bones, muscles and joints with their hands. Graduate physiotherapists can become chiropractors, as they are likely to understand how to manipulate parts of the body to decrease pain. Chiropractors typically work independently by setting up their own practice. These professionals may also help diagnose any musculoskeletal injuries or illnesses by conducting thorough assessments of the patient's presentation and symptoms.

4. Acupuncturist

National average salary: $88,251 per year

Primary duties: Acupuncturists work with patients and help ease pain and pressure by activating sensory nerves under the skin with tiny needles in different parts of the patient's body. These professionals have a comprehensive understanding of how nerves interact with the musculoskeletal system and how acupuncture can work with more traditional treatments to improve the prognosis. Physiotherapists can work in acupuncture, as they are likely to understand human anatomy and what parts of the body to focus on for treating injury and pain.

5. Personal trainer

National average salary: $56,909 per year

Primary duties: Personal trainers work with clients to improve their physical and mental health through regular exercise regimens. These professionals work to improve fitness levels by customising exercise plans based on their client's goals and physical capabilities. This career is appropriate for physiotherapy graduates, as they are likely to understand how pain, injury and physical and mental illness impacts physical wellness and fitness levels. Through this, they can generate exercise plans designed to be accessible and manageable for clients. This is also a good career option for physiotherapy graduates, as they have an intensive understanding of what muscle groups to target to achieve fitness goals.

6. Massage therapist

National average salary: $55,897 per year

Primary duties: Massage therapists work to manipulate the client's muscles and joints with their hands to help strengthen muscles, alleviate pain and promote repair after injury or illness. These professionals range in capabilities, with some focusing solely on relaxing and rehabilitation, some provide more intensive treatments through sports massage and deep tissue therapy. They require intensive knowledge of muscle groups and the impact of deep tissue treatment on healing progress, physical and mental health. Physiotherapy graduates are likely to be suitable for this career, as they understand how to manipulate muscles without causing further harm.

7. Physical education teacher

National average salary: $93,126 per year

Primary duties: Physical education teachers work with children and young adults to teach the importance of physical movement, including basic rules around popular sports. Physiotherapy graduates may be suitable for this role, as these teachers teach students how muscles work to support the body during physical exercise. They can also teach their students how to practise sports safely, without causing injury by overexertion. These professionals can work in a variety of education settings, from primary education to university level.

8. Elderly care assistant

National average salary: $95,173 per year

Primary duties: Becoming an aged carer, also called an elderly care assistant, is a good option for recent physiotherapy graduates. Graduates in aged care can work with patients to help ease pain from age-related illness or injury through pain management and light exercise. Graduates can use their extensive knowledge of muscle groups or bone-related illnesses to recommend and help patients with regular exercise. They can do this by recommending certain therapies like heat, cooling or hydrotherapy to improve the patient's quality of life.

Related: Working in Aged Care: Jobs, Duties, Salaries and FAQs

9. Orthopaedic physician

National average salary: $245,000 per year

Primary duties: Orthopedic physicians are doctors who primarily work with the musculoskeletal system. These health care professionals use a series of diagnostic methods to diagnose and treat injury and illness in this system. They typically work in a primary health care facility and work with other specialists to determine the correct course of treatment for a patient. Orthopaedic physicians ensure that patients can regain full mobility after an accident or injury, allowing them to directly impact their patients' lives.

10. Health care assistant

National average salary: $55,982 per year

Primary duties: Health care assistants work in primary health care facilities and assist doctors and nurses with the general care of patients. They may help clean, dress and move patients by taking them on short walks or exercising their muscles. This helps them retain their mobility and avoid illness. Although a health care assistant's role rarely requires a bachelor's degree, physiotherapists may have a better understanding of how to move and exercise bed-ridden patients safely and without causing pain. Health care assistants can work as part of a larger clinical facility, like a hospital or may visit patients in their home or care facility.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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