Physiotherapy: Good or bad career choice?

My experience as a physiotherapist has been in Australia for 6 years. In Australia, it is difficult to gain entry into physiotherapy by going to university. The TER score (score obtained after you have completed high school certificates) was 93 for 2000. That was the highest possible score to apply to university. This may seem to imply that the more difficult it is to apply, then the higher the income and satisfaction for the job. Are you right? Wrong!

Let me tell it, the career of physiotherapy/physical therapist is not as glamorous as you might think. As a student of the course, I assumed I would be earning a lot and getting a lot of satisfaction. However, my experience with others and me has shown that this is not true. Friends who have been practicing for over 5+ years in physiotherapy have decided to switch careers, believing that physiotherapy won’t get them where they want. One of the board members of physiotherapy associations told me that there’s no physiotherapist who works full time in a private clinic over 45. So, it appears that many physiotherapists feel unhappy about their job.

Why is it that so few physiotherapists are satisfied with their careers. These are just three of the good reasons kine online.

First, income. On average, we earn $60-70k per annum. But the income ceiling for physiotherapists in the private sector is somewhere around $100-110k per annum (which is very rare). In the private sector (operating your own practice), you can make much more, approximately $100k or more. Working in the private industry is costly and expensive. You’ll need to pay rent and equipment as well as labor costs. The expenses can add up to a lot of money that may leave you with little or no income.

Second is your level or satisfaction. While it might seem that helping people make them happier, it is not. There are many other people who do not get better. The job of physiotherapy is boring. You do either assessment, electrotherapy (or exercises), or you do hands-on work (which we call massage). A physiotherapist is likely to have back, wrist and hand pain from repetitive movements. One example is bending down to provide care to a patient while they are lying on their backs.

Third is security. A masters or additional course in physiotherapy will not guarantee you an increase in income or status. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a highly-trained physiotherapist, and one who is just starting out in physiotherapy. In terms of pay, physiotherapy is losing its place as a profession to other health professionals such chiropractors and nurses.

This is due incompetence on the part of the physiotherapy Board and Association, which pushed our status with government and general public opinion into insignificance. It seems that there is no lobbyist for the physiotherapy profession in government and insurance, which means we are not considered a healthcare professional. Because physiotherapy is not considered important by insurance companies, they are cutting physiotherapist rates. Physiotherapy will soon be obsolete and replaced by other medical professionals.

Is physiotherapy good or bad? I’d say that physiotherapy would not be a good choice. However, I am only stating my opinion. Ask your physiotherapist for their opinion.