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Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are movement specialists. They use a hands-on approach to help patients restore, maximize, and maintain movement and function. 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

  • 3142: Physiotherapists

2006 NOC-S

  • D042: Physiotherapists

2011 NOC

  • 3142: Physiotherapists

2016 NOC

  • 3142: Physiotherapists

2021 NOC

  • 31202: Physiotherapists

2023 OaSIS

  • 31202.00: Physiotherapists
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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 conditions
  • Develop treatment plans to restore movement, improve function, and reduce pain or limitations to client mobility
  • Establish client-centred, functional treatment goals based on physical diagnoses
  • Communicate and coordinate with family members, physicians, and other health-care professionals regarding clients’ diagnosis and progress
  • Monitor and measure clients’ progress regularly and adjust treatments accordingly
  • Advise clients on how to manage their conditions independently and help them prevent avoidable recurrences or complications
  • Teach clients how to restore, maintain, and maximize function, reduce pain, and manage chronic symptoms
  • Provide education to clients about their current condition and how it impacts their life and ability to function
  • Include clients’ family members as part of the health-care team, and encourage them to actively participate in client care
  • Take part in health promotion to educate clients on ways to prevent 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 but not limited to back pain or injury, whiplash, pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, pregnancy-related muscle and joint issues, urinary incontinence, and vertigo
  • Help clients manage symptoms of conditions such as arthritis and chronic pain
  • Focus on a single practice area, such as orthopedics, neurology, cardiorespiratory issues, women’s health, oncology (cancer care), arthritis, trauma, sports, prevention of work injuries, cardiac rehabilitation, or health promotion
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Physiotherapists help clients in a variety of settings. At some practice sites, they may need to work weekdays, evenings, and weekend hours to accommodate clients’ schedules.

They may need to handle and transfer patients who have reduced mobility. They may need to raise and adjust heavy equipment. Providing direct client care often involves bending, stretching, standing, and reaching.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Physiotherapists need:

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

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

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Physiotherapists

2016 NOC: 3142

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 119 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Sep 14, 2023 and May 28, 2024.

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.
Tasks: Assess patients' physical abilities
Tasks: Plan physiotherapy programs
Tasks: Select appropriate exercises, apparatus and manipulations
Tasks: Maintain clinical and progress reports
Tasks: Teach and/or supervise exercises to patients
Tasks: Confer with other health professionals
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Licensure by provincial or territorial authorities
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

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


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, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist

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

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and Physical Therapists Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta (CPTA) is mandatory. Only registered members may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • Meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public
  • Teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession
  • Supervise registered members
  • Use the titles and initials: physiotherapist, physical therapist, or PT

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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
  • Sports 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 move into teaching and research positions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3142: Physiotherapists occupational group, 94.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3142: Physiotherapists occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 57 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: 2021-2025 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, 2024

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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

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, 2024

Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) website: physiotherapy.ca

College of Physiotherapists of Alberta (CPTA) website: www.cpta.ab.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, 2024. 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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