Physiotherapy is a health profession, which involves a holistic approach to the prevention, diagnosis and therapeutic management of disorders of human movement caused by injury or disease and the improvement of body function to enhance health and wellbeing.
A physiotherapist may perform the following tasks:
assess the physical condition of patients to diagnose problems and plan appropriate treatment
use a range of techniques to strengthen and stretch muscles and joints to improve patient mobility (such as massage, hydrotherapy, breathing and relaxation techniques and exercise prescription)
perform spinal and peripheral joint mobilisation and manipulation
use equipment such as heat packs, exercise equipment, ice packs, ultrasound and electrotherapy to ease pain, reduce swelling and improve range of movement
re-train patients to walk or to use devices such as walking frames, splints, crutches and wheelchairs
educate patients, their families and the community to prevent injury and disability and to lead healthy lifestyles
plan and implement community fitness programs
maintain patient records.
Physiotherapists may specialise to meet the unique needs of different client groups. Most patients treated by physiotherapists have musculoskeletal, respiratory or neurological disorders. Obstetric, psychiatric and other types of patients are also treated.
Physiotherapists may work in a specialised unit of a hospital such as intensive care, paediatrics, geriatrics and obstetrics. They may also work independently in private practice or as part of a health care team in:
community health centres
The myfuture website provides further information about physiotherapy, including salary ranges, education requirements, related courses and related professions.
For information about the relevant assessing authority for migration purposes, view the Skilled occupation list (PDF, 129KB) on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.
Registration and licensing
The Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC) has responsibility for the process of assessment of overseas qualified physiotherapists as a prerequisite to their applying for registration to practise in Australia. To practise physiotherapy in Australia you must be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.
To practice as a physiotherapist in Queensland you must be registered. The Australian Physiotherapy Council is responsible for registering physiotherapists to ensure safe and competent health service delivery to the Queensland public. Overseas Qualified physiotherapists must apply for registration with the Australian Physiotherapy Council, see contact details below.
Steps to skills recognition
To practise as a physiotherapist in Queensland
Overseas qualified physiotherapists must first complete the Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC) assessment process. Please contact the APC directly, see details below.
Following completion of the APC assessment process, overseas qualified physiotherapists should then apply for registration to the Physiotherapists Board of Australia, see contact details below.
Bridging and training courses: Overseas qualified medical professionals will be advised of any gaps or need for further training by the relevant assessing authority. There are training courses and in some cases bridging programs available to assist overseas qualified medical professionals to meet Australian standards/requirements. For more information about bridging courses contact the Australian Physiotherapy Council directly, see contact details below.
Financial Support: The Assessment Subsidy for Overseas Trained Professionals program (ASDOT) provides financial support to cover the cost of assessments and/or examinations which must be passed to qualify for employment in certain professions in Australia. The program is administered by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in conjunction with Centrelink. More information about financial support including who can apply on the Australian Education International website.
Fee Help is an Australian government scheme to make loans to eligible fee-paying students to help pay part or all of their tuition fees. You may be able to borrow up to the amount of the tuition fee being charged by your training provider for your unit of study. No loan fee applies to Fee Help loans for bridging courses for overseas trained professionals. For more information about fee help, please visit the My University link.
Educational assessment for general purposes
Overseas qualified physiotherapists may apply to have a general academic assessment of their overseas qualifications by the skills recognition unit, Queensland Department of Education and Training. Please note that this academic assessment is not accepted as evidence by the Physiotherapists Board of Queensland in support of an application for registration, please see steps to skills recognition above.
Overseas qualifications academic assessments are free for people who live in Queensland and have permission to work or study in Australia. The benefits of having your overseas qualifications assessed by the skills recognition unit include receiving:
a formal assessment of how your qualifications correspond with Australian awards. This information can then be provided to potential employers, educational institutions and industry related associations
information about employment opportunities and programs for overseas trained professionals
information relative to your job area.
For a step by step guide on assessment of your overseas qualifications, visit the overseas qualification recognition page.
For overseas qualifications assessment
Physiotherapy Board of Australia
Level 18, 179 Turbot Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
Telephone: 1300 419 495
Australian Physiotherapy Association (Queensland branch)
4A/2404 Logan Road
Eight Mile Plains Qld 4113
Phone: (07) 3423 1553
Fax: (07) 3423 1778
Skills recognition unit
Department of Education, Training and Employment
Locked Mail Bag 527
Brisbane QLD 4001
Telephone: 1300 369 935