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Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are movement specialists. They use a hands-on approach to help patients restore, maximize, and maintain movement. They help patients prevent and manage pain, physical impairments, disabilities, and limits to participation. They promote their clients’ fitness, health, and wellness.

  • Avg. Salary $74,877.00
  • Avg. Wage $45.67
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,800
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Physical Therapist, PT

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Physiotherapists (3142) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Physiotherapists (D042) 
  • 2011 NOC: Physiotherapists (3142) 
  • 2016 NOC: Physiotherapists (3142) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

68%
68%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Physiotherapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Physiotherapists
METHODICAL

Interest in operating electrotherapeutic and other mechanical equipment; and in implementing programs including therapeutic exercise, manipulations, massage, education, use of electro-therapeutic and other mechanical equipment and and hydro-therapy

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating, developing and implementing health promotion programs for patients, staff and the community; and in evaluating the effectiveness of and modifying treatment plans; may conduct research in physiotherapy

SOCIAL

Interest in instructing patients in therapeutic procedures to be continued at home; may provide consulting or education services

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another. In general, physiotherapists assess the client’s level of mobility, strength, endurance, and other physical abilities. From this they determine the impact of an illness or injury on physical function at work and play. They also:

  • Assess, diagnose, and treat physical symptoms and limited movement caused by injury, aging, disability, or health condition
  • Develop treatment plans to restore movement and function and reduce pain or limitations to mobility
  • Establish patient-centred, functional treatment goals based on physical diagnoses
  • Communicate with physicians and other health-care professionals regarding patients’ problems, needs, and progress
  • Monitor and measure clients’ progress regularly and adjust treatment accordingly
  • Advise clients on how to manage their conditions independently and help them prevent avoidable recurrences or complications
  • Teach patients how to restore, maintain, and maximize movement, reduce pain, and manage chronic symptoms
  • Help clients understand how the condition affects their ability to function
  • Advise clients on ways to prevent potential health problems

Physiotherapists may:

  • Work with people of all ages or a particular age group, such as children or seniors
  • Provide treatment of conditions including back pain or injury, whiplash, pregnancy-related muscle and joint issues, urinary incontinence, and vertigo
  • Help patients manage symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis and chronic pain
  • Focus on a single practice area, such as orthopedics, neurology, cardiorespiratory, women’s health, oncology, arthritis, trauma, sports, work injury prevention, cardiac rehabilitation, or health promotion
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Physiotherapists help clients in a variety of settings. The nature of their work requires  weekday, evening, and weekend hours in some practice sites.

They may have to lift and transfer patients who have limited or little mobility. They may have to raise and adjust heavy equipment. Providing direct patient care involves bending, stretching, standing, and reaching.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Physiotherapists need:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Organizational and problem-solving skills
  • Patience and empathy to motivate and encourage people
  • Physical stamina
  • Co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • Analytical thinking
  • A positive outlook

They should enjoy developing and implementing innovative health promotion programs. They should be comfortable dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Registered physiotherapists require a master’s degree in physiotherapy from an accredited physiotherapy program at a recognized university.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

University of Alberta


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist

Physiotherapists assess physical function, and diagnose and treat dysfunction caused by a pain, injury, disease or condition to develop, maintain and maximize independence and prevent dysfunction.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Physical Therapists Professional Regulation, only registered members of the Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association may call themselves Physiotherapists, Physical Therapists or PTs.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved program of studies in physiotherapy and (2) an approved examination. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CPTA website or contact the CPTA.

Working in Alberta

Physiotherapists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered physiotherapists in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To learn about certification for internationally educated physiotherapists or physical therapists, see Physical Therapist/Physiotherapist Registration Process.

Contact Details

College of Physical Therapists of Alberta
Suite 300, 10357 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 1N3
Phone number: 780-438-0338
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-291-2782
Fax number: 780-436-1908
Website: www.cpta.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Physiotherapists may work in settings such as:

  • Child development centres
  • Community health centres and medical clinics
  • Fitness centres
  • Government and health-planning agencies
  • Home care
  • Continuing care facilities
  • Hospitals and rehabilitation centres
  • Physiotherapy clinics and multidisciplinary clinics, such as pain clinics
  • Schools
  • Sport and recreation facilities
  • Tele-rehabilitation sites (the delivery of rehabilitation services over telecommunication networks and the internet)

Physiotherapists may own their own clinics. They may have supervisory or management positions in large organizations. They may also move into teaching and research positions.

In Alberta, 93% of people employed as physiotherapists work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the D042: Physiotherapists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.9% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 168 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $31.41 $40.87 $35.24 $33.57
Overall $35.65 $52.36 $45.67 $45.98
Top $39.15 $81.73 $51.41 $49.65

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

68%
68%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

59%
59%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

41%
41%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) website: physiotherapy.ca

Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association (CPTA) website: www.physiotherapyalberta.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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