How to become a physiotherapist?

‘Ronaldo is on the ground. I think it’s a muscle pull. We can see so many tensed faces on the Juventus bench. They can’t afford to lose Ronaldo at this point of time in the league

The team physio is rushing towards the pitch…’

If you are someone who follows sports, this scene is nothing new. Athletes getting injured, physio comes to help, misses matches due to the injury, and finally gets back to the field through physiotherapy. That’s the usual routine. But have you ever wondered what physiotherapy is? We know it is not the type of treatment in which you take medicines to get cured. And also, It’s not just professional athletes. Even if you have a ligament tear after falling from a bike, you will have to go through physiotherapy to get back to your normal routine. Now, let’s explore this paramedical profession in detail.

So, what is physiotherapy?

According to South Vancour Physiotherapy clinic, “Physiotherapy can be defined as a treatment method that focuses on the science of movement and helps people to restore, maintain and maximize their physical strength, function, motion, and overall well-being by addressing the underlying physical issues.”

Physiotherapy as an academic disciple comes under allied medical sciences and it deals with rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health promotion. It helps to retain physical movement after suffering from an injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapy also helps in maintaining and maximizing physical fitness and thereby contributes to the overall well-being of an individual.

Who is a physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is a health professional who is qualified to guide or perform physiotherapy. He or she helps clients reach the maximum level of physical ability and movements. These trained practitioners help individuals in restoring their physical movements after an injury. They also help individuals to manage pain and prevent disease. 

How to become a physiotherapist in India?

Physiotherapy is a paramedical course. Like most other medical courses, you need to have a strong base in science subjects, especially biology. Now let’s look at the academic pathway you should take to become a physiotherapist. There are two different routes you can take. The choice has to be made at the HSE level

Let’s start with the first route.

HSE level

Take up the science stream with biology as a subject for your HSE program. This is actually the most popular route taken by students who wish to join medical or paramedical courses. Here, you’ve to take up either PCB (Physics, chemistry, biology) or PCMB (Physics, chemistry, maths, biology) combination for your higher secondary education program. This will make you eligible for admissions to Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) programs. 

Undergraduate level: BPT (Bachelor of Physiotherapy)

If you’re someone who took up PCB or PCMB combination for your HSE program, the next step is to enroll for BPT (Bachelor of physiotherapy program). It is a 4-year undergraduate program that intends to produce qualified physiotherapists. The program equips students with advanced physiotherapeutic skills necessary to help individuals in retaining, maintaining and maximizing physical strength and movements. The techniques a student learns during the course include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and application of electro-physical modalities, etc. The course teaches students about the human body and the techniques to ensure it’s optimal functioning. 

The subjects taught during these four years include Anatomy, Biomechanics, Physiology, Psychology, Biochemistry, Basic Nursing, Pathology, Exercise Therapy, Electrotherapy, Pharmacology, Orthopedics, General medicine, etc. Many reputed institutions in the country offer BPT (Bachelor of physiotherapy) courses. The minimum eligibility to enroll for BPT courses in most reputed institutions is to have scored at least 50 percent marks in physics chemistry and biology in your 12th. Most reputed institutions in the country conduct entrance tests for admissions to the program. A few of the popular entrance tests for admissions to the BPT course are CET (Common Entrance Test), Guru Govind Indraprastha University Physiotherapy Entrance Exam, JIPMER All India Entrance Exam, LBS common entrance test, etc. 

Like most other courses, choosing the right institution is important while applying for BPT courses. One should make sure that the course is approved by the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAF) before enrolling for the program. Few of the most reputed institutions that offer BPT courses are

  • Swami Vivekanand University, Madhya Pradesh
  • Pacific Medical University, Udaipur
  • Apollo Physiotherapy College
  • Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute of Physically Handicapped
  • Indian Institute of Health Education and Research
  • Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences
  • JSS College of Physiotherapy
  • SDM College of Physiotherapy
  • Mahatma Gandhi University of Medical Education

Compulsory internship

In India, completing your undergraduate courses is not enough to practice as a physiotherapist. You have to do a 6-month compulsory internship after the four-year course to be licensed to practice as a physiotherapist. 

Now, that’s all about the first route towards becoming a physiotherapist. It’s time to look at the second route I was talking about. Though this one is a longer route, I believe this information can be helpful for some of you.

DPT (Diploma in Physiotherapy)

Let’s say you didn’t have biology as a subject during your higher secondary education. Will you be able to get admission to BPT? ‘No’ would be the answer. But there is a way around. You can still enroll yourself for a Diploma in Physiotherapy (DPT). This is a one/two-year diploma course in physiotherapy offered by paramedical colleges. The course covers subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology, pathology, pharmacology, medical and surgical conditions, rehabilitation, disability prevention, etc. 

A diploma in physiotherapy won’t make you eligible to practice your trade. But some institutes allow lateral entry options to Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) courses after completing a Diploma in Physiotherapy (DPT). Here you will be able to join the undergraduate program in the second year. A few of the institutions that offer lateral entry to Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) programs are Lovely professional university, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, Srinivas college of physiotherapy, Subharti university, etc. From here, the road you should is the same as the last one.

MPT (Master of physiotherapy)

If you wish to go a little deeper into the subject, going for Master of Physiotherapy (MPT) program is always a good choice. This 2-year course can be taken up by a BPT graduate if he or she wishes to specialize in a particular area under the field of physiotherapy. A few of the specialization programs you can choose during your MPT program are Pediatric physiotherapy, Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, Geriatric physiotherapy, Orthopediatric, Rehabilitation and pain management, Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, Neurological physiotherapy, Women Physiotherapy, etc. 

Many reputed institutions in the country offer Master of Physiotherapy (MPT) programs. Make sure the institute is approved by the Indian Association of Physiotherapists. Some of the best institutions in the country for this program are

  • M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru
  • AWH Special College, Kozhikode
  • Jaipur National University
  • Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, Indore
  • Nizam’s Institute Of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad

Conclusion

A physiotherapist is a paramedical professional who treats physical injuries, movement-related issues and performance level degradation. The profession has immense possibilities and is currently one of the most sought-out healthcare professions in the world. The best route towards becoming a physiotherapist is to take up a Bachelor of physiotherapy course after 12th. But if you don’t qualify for BPT after 12th, you can still take the long route by joining the DPT course and then joining BPT course through lateral entry. We hope the illustrated analysis has powered up your insights and widened your perspectives about how to become a physiotherapist. Always remember that you make your own destiny. Make sure that you invest time and thought before making your life-changing decisions.

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