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How to become a physiotherapist

by
Jaee Sherlekar
Jun 3, 2022

The demand for physiotherapy is swiftly growing in India. For your ease, the process of becoming a physiotherapist has been simplified below.

Why Should One Become a Physiotherapist? 

The healthcare industry in India is on a rise with the changing lifestyles affecting the health conditions of people. In such a scenario, the need for physiotherapists has exponentially increased in the last few years. The profession allows the same gratification that comes with any other medical job of helping people in pain and bringing a transformation for the better in their lives. It is not only limited to curing physical pain but also helps in empowering patients with self-help strategies to improve their health for the better.

Since it is an ever-evolving profession, the scope of learning in physiotherapy is ongoing. Being a physiotherapist is instantly rewarding as one gets to see the direct impact on the patient’s life. Since the job is physically demanding, in turn, it inspires physiotherapists to maintain their own physical and mental health as well.

Physiotherapists enjoy the flexibility of working for varied kinds of patients and customise their role as per their convenience. A physiotherapist can work in government or private hospitals, be a full-time employee with a corporate house or provide services as a consultant to several agencies. He or she  can also work with sports agencies such as sports centres, teams, for personal clients for sportspeople. In order to have more control over their work, physiotherapists have the liberty to start their own practice. This also means that a physiotherapist can enjoy flexible working hours and aim for a better work-life balance than other medical professionals.

What are the Duties of a Physiotherapist? 

Essentially, the job of a physiotherapist is to help their patients overcome physical challenges and function independently. Although different specialisations may require their own set of duties, some responsibilities of physiotherapists are common across the board. First and foremost, a physiotherapist based out of any country would be required to comply with the physiotherapy regulations of that region. 

Other responsibilities include assessing the ailments of the patient and coming up with an appropriate recovery programme for them. Usually, this is followed by constant monitoring to ensure the treatment achieves its goal and makes changes to it as per the needs that arise. Hence, a physiotherapist needs to maintain meticulous notes and reports to track a patient’s progress.

Since the aim is to improve the overall well-being of the patient, physiotherapists may also require close collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Likewise, as the treatment is not dependent on surgical equipment, a physiotherapist may also work closely with the patient’s family members and other caregivers to ensure regularity in the treatment. As the field of physiotherapy constantly goes through innovation, a physiotherapist must keep themselves updated with the latest techniques and technologies being employed to treat a variety of ailments. 

Additionally, based on the area of work a physiotherapist has chosen, they may also be required to mentor and train junior physiotherapists and supervise their work. Apart from dealing with patients, a physiotherapist may also look into initiating research and evidence-based projects that will not only aim at improving patient health but also help them gain more credibility in their chosen profession.

What are the Skills Needed to Become a Physiotherapist? 

A physiotherapist’s job can be extremely demanding and taxing, hence it is important that they build and hone some skills to excel in their day-to-day activities.

1. Research:

This is required so that they can prescribe the best treatment for their patients and utilise the latest solutions available for different ailments.

2. Effective Communication:

Today, it is important to have good oral and written communication skills for any job role. However, it becomes imperative for physiotherapists to have good interpersonal and communication skills as they need to work closely with patients and their caregivers in order for the treatment to be a success. This also includes working with great patience and tolerance as the work becomes more taxing, especially while working on difficult cases.

3. Collaboration and Administration:

Unlike other medical treatments, physiotherapy relies heavily on teamwork and collaboration between the patient and the physiotherapist. They also need to work closely with other doctors to ensure the well-being of their patients. Likewise, if a physiotherapist has  their own practice or is consulting, they would need to have good organisational and administrative skills to manage  their work successfully.

4. Personal Fitness:

As a physiotherapist, one is required to be in perfect health  so that they can support the treatment of their patients better. 

How to Become a Physiotherapist?

If you have decided to become a physiotherapist, there are some essential academic milestones that you must achieve. 

First, it is important that you have pursued the science stream in your secondary education (10+2). This means that you must study physics, biology, and chemistry to be eligible to pursue a career in physiotherapy. For the unreserved category, it is essential to score at least 50% to be eligible for the entrance examinations.

There are several pathways that one can choose. However, you must appear for some common entrance examinations that are essential to get into different courses related to physiotherapy. These include the NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) and CET (Common Entrance Test). Apart from this, some universities may have their own entrance examinations such as:

  • IPU CET (Indraprastha University Common Entrance Test) conducted by Guru Gobindh Indraprastha University.
  • CPNET (Combined Paramedical, Pharmacy, Nursing Entrance Test) conducted by the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Science.

Writing these examinations is important to enrol in BPT (Bachelors in Physiotherapy). The duration of this course is four  years and six  months where a mandatory internship is required for a candidate to earn the degree.

Alternatively, students can also choose to pursue a two-year diploma to become a physiotherapist. However, it does have a significant difference in terms of hiring and salaries compared to a candidate with a BPT degree.

Prospective candidates must note that these examinations, including the NEET examination, are mainly conducted in June-July. Each year, the registration for the same takes place in the month of May. This year, the NEET examination is being conducted on 17th July, 2022.

All About the NEET Examinations

The NEET examination is the first step in entering the medical profession in India. As mentioned earlier, some universities and colleges also have their own examinations, so candidates must enquire about these examinations accordingly. The NEET examination covers the following subjects: Physics, Biology (Zoology and Botany), and Chemistry. One can expect 200 questions in the NEET examination that are distributed evenly between the mentioned subjects. Let us take a quick look at the weightage for the same:

  • Physics: 50 questions
  • Zoology: 50 questions
  • Botany: 50 questions
  • Chemistry: 50 questions

Since the section of Biology holds the most weightage, candidates must focus on their preparation accordingly. The NEET Examination usually lasts for three  hours and 20 minutes where candidates are expected to only answer MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions).

Tips to Crack the NEET Examination

Keeping the following points in mind would greatly benefit potential physiotherapists while appearing for the NEET Examination.

  • Go over the concepts covered in the NCERT textbooks (Class 11 and 12) of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology thoroughly. Once these are mastered, candidates may also look into additional study material.
  • To get the best practice in terms of concepts and speed, candidates may go through the past NEET examination papers and time themselves while solving them. 
  • Break down the content into smaller achievable chunks so that one can cover all the essential concepts from the NEET Examination perspective.
  • Create extensive notes and memorise essential material that would come in handy while answering MCQs.

However, along with the exam preparation, it is important to balance it out with nutritious food, adequate time breaks, and appropriate sleep. This will ensure that you are mentally and physically ready for the examination.

Breakdown of BPT (Bachelors in Physiotherapy)

Below is the BPT syllabus that will be covered in the four-year physiotherapy course.

Year 1

Semester 1 Semester 2
Physiology Orientation to Physiotherapy
Biochemistry Sociology
Anatomy Psychology
Basic Nursing Biomechanics
English

Year 2

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Year 3

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Year 4

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Apart from these core subjects, BPT course also offers some electives to the students such as acupuncture, clinical diagnosis, and physiotherapy evaluation.

Specialisation Available in Physiotherapy

Like other doctors, physiotherapists also have the option of specialising in a particular sector. While specialisation in treating muscle, joint, and bone injuries is pretty common, there are many other options as well. These include specialising in treating cancer patients and helping them tackle the issues that arise with the treatment. A physiotherapist can also specialise in working with  geriatric patients and mainly work with those  suffering from Alzheimer’s and other similar degenerative diseases to improve their lifestyle. They can also choose to work exclusively with children who have developmental delays or have been diagnosed with diseases such as scoliosis.

Students can also opt for higher studies in physiotherapy by pursuing a Masters in Physiotherapy and a PhD thereafter. Some of the common postgraduation courses available for physiotherapists are

  • Master of Physiotherapy in Paediatrics
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Neurology
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Sports Physiotherapy
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Cardio-Pulmonary Sciences

Salaries Available for Physiotherapists

Depending on whether one has pursued physiotherapy through a diploma or a BPT course, the salaries for physiotherapists may differ. The average salary for entry-level physiotherapists in India is usually between ₹2 lakh to ₹4 lakh per annum. Lecturers could expect ₹5 lakh per annum while established practising physiotherapists could expect upto ₹8 lakh per annum

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Physiotherapy

How is the BPT course different from a Diploma in Physiotherapy?

The BPT course is more in-depth and degree candidates are preferred over diploma candidates, especially when being hired in hospitals.

Can someone pursue an MBBS after BPT?

The BPT course degree is not related to MBBS. For pursuing MBBS, the candidate’s 10+2 percentage and the NEET Examination score will be considered.

Can a person with a BPT course degree be considered a doctor?

Although physiotherapists with a BPT course degree use the prefix ‘Dr’, they are not considered as such since they only hold a bachelor’s degree.

Which are some top private universities offering BPT course degree?

Some of the top private universities that offer BPT course degree are Lovely Professional University, Amity University, GNA University, Madras Medical College, and  Swarrnim Startup & Innovation University.

What is the BPT Fee Structure?

The fee structure for the BPT course varies across government and private institutions. Some examples are given below:

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Are there Loans Available for BPT courses in India?

Since Bachelors in Physiotherapy (BPT) is a fast-growing preferred degree in India, several banks offer loans to candidates to pursue this degree. This includes:

  • State Bank of India Student Loan Scheme
  • ICICI Bank Education Loan
  • Allahabad Bank Education Loan
  • HDFC Bank Education Loan

These loans are offered at varied interest rates. There are also organisations like Propelld offering 100% digitised private student loans. 

How to become a physiotherapist

Jaee Sherlekar
June 3, 2022
memberstack logo
Shivam Bhardwaj
March 15th 2022
Table of Contents

Why Should One Become a Physiotherapist? 

The healthcare industry in India is on a rise with the changing lifestyles affecting the health conditions of people. In such a scenario, the need for physiotherapists has exponentially increased in the last few years. The profession allows the same gratification that comes with any other medical job of helping people in pain and bringing a transformation for the better in their lives. It is not only limited to curing physical pain but also helps in empowering patients with self-help strategies to improve their health for the better.

Since it is an ever-evolving profession, the scope of learning in physiotherapy is ongoing. Being a physiotherapist is instantly rewarding as one gets to see the direct impact on the patient’s life. Since the job is physically demanding, in turn, it inspires physiotherapists to maintain their own physical and mental health as well.

Physiotherapists enjoy the flexibility of working for varied kinds of patients and customise their role as per their convenience. A physiotherapist can work in government or private hospitals, be a full-time employee with a corporate house or provide services as a consultant to several agencies. He or she  can also work with sports agencies such as sports centres, teams, for personal clients for sportspeople. In order to have more control over their work, physiotherapists have the liberty to start their own practice. This also means that a physiotherapist can enjoy flexible working hours and aim for a better work-life balance than other medical professionals.

What are the Duties of a Physiotherapist? 

Essentially, the job of a physiotherapist is to help their patients overcome physical challenges and function independently. Although different specialisations may require their own set of duties, some responsibilities of physiotherapists are common across the board. First and foremost, a physiotherapist based out of any country would be required to comply with the physiotherapy regulations of that region. 

Other responsibilities include assessing the ailments of the patient and coming up with an appropriate recovery programme for them. Usually, this is followed by constant monitoring to ensure the treatment achieves its goal and makes changes to it as per the needs that arise. Hence, a physiotherapist needs to maintain meticulous notes and reports to track a patient’s progress.

Since the aim is to improve the overall well-being of the patient, physiotherapists may also require close collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Likewise, as the treatment is not dependent on surgical equipment, a physiotherapist may also work closely with the patient’s family members and other caregivers to ensure regularity in the treatment. As the field of physiotherapy constantly goes through innovation, a physiotherapist must keep themselves updated with the latest techniques and technologies being employed to treat a variety of ailments. 

Additionally, based on the area of work a physiotherapist has chosen, they may also be required to mentor and train junior physiotherapists and supervise their work. Apart from dealing with patients, a physiotherapist may also look into initiating research and evidence-based projects that will not only aim at improving patient health but also help them gain more credibility in their chosen profession.

What are the Skills Needed to Become a Physiotherapist? 

A physiotherapist’s job can be extremely demanding and taxing, hence it is important that they build and hone some skills to excel in their day-to-day activities.

1. Research:

This is required so that they can prescribe the best treatment for their patients and utilise the latest solutions available for different ailments.

2. Effective Communication:

Today, it is important to have good oral and written communication skills for any job role. However, it becomes imperative for physiotherapists to have good interpersonal and communication skills as they need to work closely with patients and their caregivers in order for the treatment to be a success. This also includes working with great patience and tolerance as the work becomes more taxing, especially while working on difficult cases.

3. Collaboration and Administration:

Unlike other medical treatments, physiotherapy relies heavily on teamwork and collaboration between the patient and the physiotherapist. They also need to work closely with other doctors to ensure the well-being of their patients. Likewise, if a physiotherapist has  their own practice or is consulting, they would need to have good organisational and administrative skills to manage  their work successfully.

4. Personal Fitness:

As a physiotherapist, one is required to be in perfect health  so that they can support the treatment of their patients better. 

How to Become a Physiotherapist?

If you have decided to become a physiotherapist, there are some essential academic milestones that you must achieve. 

First, it is important that you have pursued the science stream in your secondary education (10+2). This means that you must study physics, biology, and chemistry to be eligible to pursue a career in physiotherapy. For the unreserved category, it is essential to score at least 50% to be eligible for the entrance examinations.

There are several pathways that one can choose. However, you must appear for some common entrance examinations that are essential to get into different courses related to physiotherapy. These include the NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) and CET (Common Entrance Test). Apart from this, some universities may have their own entrance examinations such as:

  • IPU CET (Indraprastha University Common Entrance Test) conducted by Guru Gobindh Indraprastha University.
  • CPNET (Combined Paramedical, Pharmacy, Nursing Entrance Test) conducted by the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Science.

Writing these examinations is important to enrol in BPT (Bachelors in Physiotherapy). The duration of this course is four  years and six  months where a mandatory internship is required for a candidate to earn the degree.

Alternatively, students can also choose to pursue a two-year diploma to become a physiotherapist. However, it does have a significant difference in terms of hiring and salaries compared to a candidate with a BPT degree.

Prospective candidates must note that these examinations, including the NEET examination, are mainly conducted in June-July. Each year, the registration for the same takes place in the month of May. This year, the NEET examination is being conducted on 17th July, 2022.

All About the NEET Examinations

The NEET examination is the first step in entering the medical profession in India. As mentioned earlier, some universities and colleges also have their own examinations, so candidates must enquire about these examinations accordingly. The NEET examination covers the following subjects: Physics, Biology (Zoology and Botany), and Chemistry. One can expect 200 questions in the NEET examination that are distributed evenly between the mentioned subjects. Let us take a quick look at the weightage for the same:

  • Physics: 50 questions
  • Zoology: 50 questions
  • Botany: 50 questions
  • Chemistry: 50 questions

Since the section of Biology holds the most weightage, candidates must focus on their preparation accordingly. The NEET Examination usually lasts for three  hours and 20 minutes where candidates are expected to only answer MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions).

Tips to Crack the NEET Examination

Keeping the following points in mind would greatly benefit potential physiotherapists while appearing for the NEET Examination.

  • Go over the concepts covered in the NCERT textbooks (Class 11 and 12) of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology thoroughly. Once these are mastered, candidates may also look into additional study material.
  • To get the best practice in terms of concepts and speed, candidates may go through the past NEET examination papers and time themselves while solving them. 
  • Break down the content into smaller achievable chunks so that one can cover all the essential concepts from the NEET Examination perspective.
  • Create extensive notes and memorise essential material that would come in handy while answering MCQs.

However, along with the exam preparation, it is important to balance it out with nutritious food, adequate time breaks, and appropriate sleep. This will ensure that you are mentally and physically ready for the examination.

Breakdown of BPT (Bachelors in Physiotherapy)

Below is the BPT syllabus that will be covered in the four-year physiotherapy course.

Year 1

Semester 1 Semester 2
Physiology Orientation to Physiotherapy
Biochemistry Sociology
Anatomy Psychology
Basic Nursing Biomechanics
English

Year 2

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Year 3

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Year 4

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Apart from these core subjects, BPT course also offers some electives to the students such as acupuncture, clinical diagnosis, and physiotherapy evaluation.

Specialisation Available in Physiotherapy

Like other doctors, physiotherapists also have the option of specialising in a particular sector. While specialisation in treating muscle, joint, and bone injuries is pretty common, there are many other options as well. These include specialising in treating cancer patients and helping them tackle the issues that arise with the treatment. A physiotherapist can also specialise in working with  geriatric patients and mainly work with those  suffering from Alzheimer’s and other similar degenerative diseases to improve their lifestyle. They can also choose to work exclusively with children who have developmental delays or have been diagnosed with diseases such as scoliosis.

Students can also opt for higher studies in physiotherapy by pursuing a Masters in Physiotherapy and a PhD thereafter. Some of the common postgraduation courses available for physiotherapists are

  • Master of Physiotherapy in Paediatrics
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Neurology
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Sports Physiotherapy
  • Master of Physiotherapy in Cardio-Pulmonary Sciences

Salaries Available for Physiotherapists

Depending on whether one has pursued physiotherapy through a diploma or a BPT course, the salaries for physiotherapists may differ. The average salary for entry-level physiotherapists in India is usually between ₹2 lakh to ₹4 lakh per annum. Lecturers could expect ₹5 lakh per annum while established practising physiotherapists could expect upto ₹8 lakh per annum

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Physiotherapy

How is the BPT course different from a Diploma in Physiotherapy?

The BPT course is more in-depth and degree candidates are preferred over diploma candidates, especially when being hired in hospitals.

Can someone pursue an MBBS after BPT?

The BPT course degree is not related to MBBS. For pursuing MBBS, the candidate’s 10+2 percentage and the NEET Examination score will be considered.

Can a person with a BPT course degree be considered a doctor?

Although physiotherapists with a BPT course degree use the prefix ‘Dr’, they are not considered as such since they only hold a bachelor’s degree.

Which are some top private universities offering BPT course degree?

Some of the top private universities that offer BPT course degree are Lovely Professional University, Amity University, GNA University, Madras Medical College, and  Swarrnim Startup & Innovation University.

What is the BPT Fee Structure?

The fee structure for the BPT course varies across government and private institutions. Some examples are given below:

Semester 3 Semester 4
Microbiology Electrotherapy
Pharmacology Exercise Therapy
Pathology Introduction to Treatment
Laws in Treatment Research Methodology and Biostatistics
First Aid and CPR Clinical Observation Posting

Are there Loans Available for BPT courses in India?

Since Bachelors in Physiotherapy (BPT) is a fast-growing preferred degree in India, several banks offer loans to candidates to pursue this degree. This includes:

  • State Bank of India Student Loan Scheme
  • ICICI Bank Education Loan
  • Allahabad Bank Education Loan
  • HDFC Bank Education Loan

These loans are offered at varied interest rates. There are also organisations like Propelld offering 100% digitised private student loans. 

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