Physiotherapy career choices

Are you a physiotherapy graduate and wondering what is the best career choice for you?

Physiotherapy career choices
Physiotherapy career choices

Whether you are a newly qualified physiotherapist or someone with years of experience you should always look for opportunities to develop in your career. This is what I do, like everyone I started at the bottom of the ladder and since been working towards developing in my career. 

I am often asked by newly qualified physiotherapists, colleagues and friends about what should be their next step in their career. So I thought I will put down my top 5 career choices.

They are 

  1. Musculoskeletal & Sports Physiotherapist
  2. Respiratory Physiotherapist
  3. Rehabilitation Specialist
  4. Clinical Lead
  5. First Contact Practitioner(FCP)
  1. Musculoskeletal & Sports Physiotherapist: If you are passionate about sports and have always wanted to know what every muscle, bone, ligament and tendon combination can do, then this could be for you. 

You can work in out-patient units, independent clinics or in the community.

Pros: You’ll be able to see results within specific periods. And there could be some employers who might not want you to work on weekends. But remember the best exposure in sports happens over weekends.

Cons: Working in this field for a long term can become physically exhausting after a few years so it is very important to take it easy on yourself. 

  1. Respiratory Physiotherapist: If you are someone who wants to make a difference when it could be a life or death situation-this is for you. Your contribution can be immense for those who are struggling with their breathing and mobilisation.

You can work in wards, intensive care units and step down respiratory centres.

Pros: Compared to MSK, respiratory can be less physically demanding as you tend to find help from other staff in ICU and wards. As you work in ever demanding critical care units, it can make you stronger as an individual.

Cons: You definitely have to forget weekends and be prepared for on-call and night duties.

  1. Rehabilitation Specialist: Do you like giving your best and getting involved with the journey of your patient’s recovery? Then this can be you. 

You can work in both Sports, Orthopaedic and Neuro outpatient departments or rehab centres.

Pros: As a rehab specialist, you will be developing your skills by attending various multidisciplinary CPD (continuing professional development). You will be able to independently plan your patient’s recovery program.

Cons: Rehab specialists can become mentally exhaustive; you may struggle to stay motivated esp. with patients expecting passive treatment.

  1. Clinical Lead: This is for the ones who have worked in most of the physiotherapy specialties with extended qualifications and are looking to take the profession to a high standard. If you are a people’s person and passionate about your profession, you can progress in your career by improving the service of physiotherapy in hospitals and the healthcare industry. 

Pros: Working at this level helps you master your emotional intelligence and networking. 

Cons: This role may demand working longer hours with more responsibilities which in return may induce stress.

  1. First Contact Practitioner(FCP): This is the most recent career option available in the UK. You are required to have experience across most physiotherapy specialties and good interpersonal skills. You can also train yourself to become a FCP. 

These practitioners work out from GP practices and can address any MSK related issues in place of a GP.

Pros: As a first contact practitioner you will be exposed to a variety of MSK and non medical cases. This will help you to develop as a better clinician.

Cons: It can be highly demanding and sometimes stressful.

These are just a few from the vast list you could choose. As a profession physiotherapy is blessed with multiple opportunities in each speciality so don’t feel shy to come out of your comfort zone. Leave us a comment if you would like to hear about more opportunities.

10 thoughts on “Are you a physiotherapy graduate and wondering what is the best career choice for you?

  1. Alka

    Hey Dr Meghalie
    It’s a great blog!! Very very helpful for the people who are looking for career in this very interesting & vast course !! It will surely help students to choose physiotherapy as a profession. Also, for the students who are worried about their future career in after finishing their studies !! Great going!! Keep coming up with new innovative & helpful write ups.

  2. Neelam

    Hey Meg, Honestly even after working with hospitals for years, I never knew the possibilities existing in the field of Physiotherapy. Thank you for putting up this together and letting future aspirants benefitted with your experience. Great work!

  3. Aabha

    Hi Megh ,
    Eye opening Knowledge about entire gamut of Physiotherapy. Pros & Cons wonderfully articulated.
    Keep up the good work !!!

  4. Aabha

    Hi Megh ,
    Eye opening Knowledge about entire gamut of Physiotherapy. Pros & Cons wonderfully articulated.
    Keep up the good work !!!


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