Physiotherapists treat patients with physical problems caused by accidents, illness, physical disabilities, surgery and ageing. In particular, those problems that affect the muscles, bones, heart, circulation, nervous system and the lungs. Other patients, such as children facing disability, people with learning disabilities or mental health problems, and patients receiving palliative care, may also benefit from intervention and treatment by physiotherapists. 
Patients are normally referred to a physiotherapist by a doctor or surgeon.  The physiotherapist assesses them and decides upon the most appropriate treatment.  This treatment might involve exercise, movement, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, breathing exercises, chest care and techniques such as soft tissue mobilisation and manipulation. 
Physiotherapists often work within hospitals, where they are needed in virtually every department from outpatients to intensive care.  They may also practice within patients' homes, special schools, the private sector, sport, industry and education.  In many of these areas, they are active in health promotion, advising clients on best practice and appropriate activities for developing and maintaining optimum health.


Student physiotherapists take a three year course at Cardiff University, which leads to a BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy.  Successful completion of the degree allows state registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.  Registration is essential if you wish to work within the NHS or with local authorities.


These are a rough guide - please contact UCAS/institution for exact entry requirements.
A Level
Grades AAB (340 UCAS points). To include biological science and exclude general studies, citizenship studies and critical thinking
7 GCSEs obtained in one sitting, to include English/Welsh language, maths and science
Equivalent qualifications may be considered.  Seek advice from the institution. 
Mature applicants age 21 and over are considered independently and on merit. Please contact the institution directly for more information.
All applicants will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal records check and health questionnaire as a condition of acceptance.


The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) administers the application process. Please click here for more information.


Physiotherapists may choose to specialise in the following specialist areas:
  • community practice
  • sports medicine
  • orthopaedics
  • obstetrics
  • paediatrics
  • oncology
  • palliative care
  • neurology
  • respiratory care
  • rehabilitation
  • private practice
With further skills and experience, physiotherapists can move into teaching, research or management via a more senior physiotherapy post.   
Agenda for Change Band Examples of Roles
2 Clinical Support Worker
3 Clinical Support Worker Higher Level
5 Physiotherapist
6-7 Physiotherapist Specialist
7 Physiotherapist Advanced; Physiotherapy Team Manager
8a Physiotherapist Principal
8a-8b Physiotherapist Consultant
Please click here for details on NHS pay and conditions.
For employment opportunities, see NHS Jobs website


Each year the Welsh Government funds a number of healthcare students to undertake this course. For those healthcare students who have secured an NHS Wales funded place, the Welsh Government provides the following support: 
  • Funds full costs of tuition fees
  • Provides financial support to eligible students which includes bursaries, salaries, childcare costs, disabled students' allowance etc. Please click here for more details. 


Academic Institution:
Professional Association:
Health and Care Professions Council                     
HCPC is a regulatory body that maintains a register of health and care professionals. All of these professions have at least one professional title that is protected by law. Anyone using these titles must be registered with HCPC. It is a criminal offence for someone to claim that they are registered with HCPC when they are not, or to use a protected title that they are not entitled to use.                 
Please contact for any queries/comments on this page.

Last updated: 16 April 2013