Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Unit Group

3142 Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists assess patients and plan and carry out individually designed treatment programs to maintain, improve or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain and prevent physical dysfunction in patients. Physiotherapists are employed in hospitals, clinics, industry, sports organizations, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities, or they may work in private practice.

Example Titles

  • physical therapist
  • physiotherapist
  • registered physiotherapist
  • research physiotherapist
View all titles

Main duties


Physiotherapists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assess patients' physical abilities through evaluative procedures such as functional ability tests
  • Establish treatment goals with patients based on physical diagnoses
  • Plan and implement programs of physiotherapy including therapeutic exercise, manipulations, massage, education, the use of electro-therapeutic and other mechanical equipment and hydro-therapy
  • Evaluate effectiveness of treatment plans and modify accordingly
  • Communicate with referring physician and other healthcare professionals regarding patients' problems, needs and progress
  • Maintain clinical and statistical records and confer with other health care professionals
  • Develop and implement health promotion programs for patients, staff and the community
  • May conduct research in physiotherapy
  • May provide consulting or education services.
Physiotherapists may focus their practice in particular clinical areas such as neurology, oncology, rheumatology, orthopedics, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary disorders, burns or sports injuries or in the field of ergonomics.

Employment requirements

  • A university degree in physiotherapy and a period of supervised practical training are required.
  • A licence or registration with a regulatory body is required to practise physiotherapy in all provinces.
  • Completion of the Physiotherapy National Exam, administered by the Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulatory Boards, may be required.

Additional information

  • Progression to management positions, such as director of physiotherapy, is possible through experience and additional training.

Classified elsewhere

  • Directors of physiotherapy (in 0311 Managers in Health Care )
  • Physical rehabilitation technicians (in 3235 Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment )