Choosing the right physiotherapist for your needs can be hard. Out of all of the physiotherapists out there, which one is the best equipped and the best experienced to help you? What do the letters after their names mean? The following is a rundown of some of the kinds of qualifications a physiotherapist may have, so you can find the best person and the best clinic for you.
Bachelor/Masters of Physiotherapy
The letters (post-nominals) may look like this: BAppSc(Physio), BPhysio, BPhysio(Hons), MPhysioPrac, BHSc&MPP, DPT, BPT, MPT
This is the basic qualification that all physiotherapists who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will have. You must be registered with AHPRA to practice physiotherapy in Australia. This qualification is what teaches a physiotherapist the basic standards of physiotherapy practice and how to be an independent practitioner in a hospital, private practice or other healthcare setting. It is a four-year undergraduate degree, or a two-year master’s qualification on top of a health-related bachelor’s degree. The Universities in Melbourne that offer physiotherapy education are La Trobe University, Monash University, The University of Melbourne and Swinburne University.
The post-nominals may look like this: GradCert_______, GCertPhysio(______), PGCertPhysio
This is the next level of physiotherapy qualification, and it will reflect a physiotherapists’ further education in an area of interest or specialisation within physiotherapy practice.
These can include sport, women’s health, cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, neurological, paediatrics.
The post-nominals may look like this: MManPhysio, MSportsPhysio, MMuscPhysio, MPhysio(CardRespPhysio), MPhysio(SportsPhysio), MAppSc
This qualification is an advancement on the graduate certificate qualification and means that the physiotherapist you are seeing has undertaken further study in their area of interest, either via the study of coursework or the completion of research.
These physiotherapists are highly qualified and can also be accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) as a “Titled” physiotherapist in their field, meaning that you may also find APA Titled Sports Physiotherapist or similar on their business card.
Fellow of the College of Australian Physiotherapists
Physiotherapists with this qualification will have FACP after their name.
After completing a Masters specialisation degree, physiotherapists have the option of applying for a two-year specialist training program in their field of interest. If after passing the exams and satisfying the requirements of their training, the physiotherapist is admitted to the college as a fellow. This physiotherapist will have undertaken or been involved in research in some form, have a large body of clinical experience and will be actively engaged in peer development and mentoring.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Physiotherapists with this qualification will have PhD written after their name or will have the honorific Dr on their business card.
These physiotherapists have achieved the highest level of qualification in their chosen field of physiotherapy study or specialisation. They have undertaken several years of research within a team in a university where they have thoroughly investigated a topic of interest and published numerous research papers on their findings. They will then go on to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy from their university and will often then continue their research work and assist the research work of others attempting this qualification.
It is important that you make an informed decision about who to partner with to assist you in improving your health, physical function and quality of life. The advent of social media can also make selecting the right person a little bit murky, with not everyone being as qualified to help you as they appear. Here at Complete. Physio Exercise Peformance in Richmond we have some of the highest qualified physiotherapists helping patients every day. Call us on (03) 9882 2020 to see if we can help you.