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Sports

Sports physiotherapist

Sports physiotherapists diagnose and treat sports injuries.

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Sports physiotherapist jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

As part of your day-to-day duties, you could:

  • examine and diagnose injuries
  • plan treatment programmes
  • use methods like manipulation, massage and electrotherapy
  • give advice on how to avoid sports injuries
  • keep records of patient's treatment and progress
  • give accurate timescales for when players may be able to play again

Working environment

You could work in a therapy clinic, in an NHS or private hospital, on a sports field or at a fitness centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time, you'll travel often and physically demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You can do a degree in physiotherapy approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

You may be able to do a fast-track postgraduate course if you've got a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject like:

  • biological science
  • psychology
  • sports science

Once you have qualified and gained clinical experience you could specialise in sports injuries.

Competition for places on courses is strong. It will help if you have relevant healthcare experience before applying, for example as a physiotherapy assistant.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through a physiotherapist degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 4 years to complete as a mix of workplace learning and academic study at an approved university.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, preferably including biology, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start as a physiotherapy assistant and do a part-time degree while you work, to qualify.

Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it useful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting or personal care role.

Private physiotherapy clinics, nursing homes and sports clinics may also offer work placements.

You could also look for relevant volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

Experience of working with a local amateur sports team or club will help you gain skills. Getting experience with elite athletes can be competitive, so proving your commitment at a recreational sport level first can be useful.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about working in sports physiotherapy from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Physios in Sport.

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With experience, you could move into management, teaching or research roles.

You could become self-employed or set up your own sports physiotherapy clinic.

Salaries in private practice and working with elite athletes may be much higher than average.

You can find out more about working in sports physiotherapy from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Physios in Sport.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • knowledge of how the human body works
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to teach and motivate people
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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