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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.

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Physiotherapists

2006 NOC: 3142

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Physiotherapists

2011 NOC: 3142

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 59 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 18, 2021 and Sep 28, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Select appropriate exercises, apparatus and manipulations
Assess patients' physical abilities
Plan physiotherapy programs
Maintain clinical and progress reports
Confer with other health professionals
Teach and/or supervise exercises to patients
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Punctuality
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist.

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 3142: Physiotherapists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 94 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Physiotherapists

2016 NOC: 3142
Average Wage
$44.73
Per Hour
Average Salary
$78,316.00
Per Year
Average Hours
33.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3142 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.05 $40.00 $35.85 $37.00
Overall $36.00 $51.74 $44.73 $46.13
Top $45.00 $62.50 $49.90 $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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
81%
81%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
77%
77%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
58%
58%
Vacancy Rate
8%
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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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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