How to Become a Registered Physiotherapist in the UK

To become a physiotherapist, most if not all positions will require a degree in a related subject. You will need to register with the HCPC, and renew your registration every 2 years. A master's is not required, but may be useful if you have an unrelated degree already.

Written by
Alex Pellew
Published on

How to become a registered physiotherapist in the UK

If you’re passionate about helping people recover from injury, improve their mobility or get back into sports, a career as a physiotherapist might be just what you're looking for.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the various paths to becoming a registered physio, from the essential physiotherapy qualifications you'll need to the steps required for registration. Let’s get started.

What we’ll cover:

The qualifications you need

Which A-Levels do I need?

What degree should I do?

Do I need to do a masters?

Register with the Health and Care Professionals Council

What do I do once I'm a registered physiotherapist?

Complete the relevant physiotherapy qualifications

First things first, which physiotherapy qualifications do you need? As you might expect, a physiotherapy degree is the most common path into physiotherapy. Check the UCAS website to see which universities offer this course.

A full-time degree can take three years, or a part-time course will take six years if you’d rather work while you study. A two-year accelerated masters course could also be an option if you already have a degree in a relevant subject (such as sports science or biology).

Wondering how to become a physiotherapist without going to university? Another route is to apply for a degree apprenticeship. This combines on-the-job training and experience with off-the-job learning. These types of apprenticeships typically take two to four years to complete, and you’ll work with experienced physiotherapists while gaining practical experience in the field. This should give you a flavour of whether physiotherapy is the right career for you.

Which A-Levels do I need?

Before a degree, you’ll need 5 or 6 GCSEs, including Maths, English and Science. As with most university degrees, you will also need some A-Levels.

Generally, biology and/or physical education (PE) are considered to be the best A-Levels for a physiotherapy degree. That’s because it’s useful to have a sound understanding of how the body works from a structural and muscular perspective in order to treat patients.

Some universities are more specific with their entry requirements. For example, King’s College London requires physiotherapy applicants to have two subjects from Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Physics, Sociology, Physical Education or Mathematics.

Although it very much varies from course to course, as many universities will accept a good grade from any science-based subject, so it’s worth doing some research.

What degree should I do?

A physiotherapy degree is usually the best for this career choice, but ultimately you can choose any course that’s approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

If you already have a similar degree that's not approved, you might be able to do an accelerated masters course which will take two years to complete. Find out where this course is offered if you’re thinking about applying.

Do I need to do a masters?

As far as physiotherapy qualifications go, you don’t need a masters to become a registered physiotherapist. An undergraduate degree is the minimum requirement, but many physios complete a masters degree to further their education.

Depending on what you’d like to specialise in, a masters can help you deep dive into a particular area. For instance, you might want to specialise in helping those with prosthetics, treating the elderly, or focusing on a certain health condition. Or you might prefer to offer your services in a sporting context. Either way, a masters can help you learn more about whatever interests you.

If you’re not sure what kind of physiotherapy you want to pursue, you might want to consider doing a masters in a broader subject. Health Science and Biology are both good options.

Register with the Health and Care Professions Council

Once you’ve got your degree in the bag (congrats!), you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

You must be registered with the HCPC in order to start practising physiotherapy. They are a regulator that plays an important role protecting the public by setting standards for professionals' education and training, keeping a register of professionals who meet HCPC standards, and taking action if physiotherapists do not meet HCPC standards.

It’s worth noting that you'll need to renew your registration every two years, so you might want to set an ongoing reminder to prevent any disruptions to your career.

What do I do once I’m a registered physiotherapist?

You’ve made it this far! Now for the exciting part – time to get stuck into the physio world, build your network and curate your client base.

UNTIL is a great place to start your physio career. Get flexible access to premium treatment rooms to give your clients the level of service they deserve. Each room comes with a treatment bed, sink and counter space, fresh towels and everything you need for you to look professional and for your clients to feel comfortable.

Start building your network and make your physiotherapist services known to our community of over 300 practitioners, from Personal Trainers to Massage Therapists and more.

Worried you don’t have enough clients? Don’t be – we'll help you grow your business faster and smarter by providing you with powerful support services such as business coaching, marketing and growth tools. You can also read our guide here on 5 ways to get more patients as a physiotherapist.

UNTIL provides everything you need to get your physio career off the ground, including continued learning and development. Boost your knowledge with our Journal and learn how to grow your client base, increase your profits and loads more. Not sure where to start? Check out our 5 books for physios article.

Join the UNTIL community

Hopefully this article has given you the support and steps you need to bring your physio career to life. Start by completing the relevant physiotherapy qualifications, then register with the HCPC and you’re good to go! Once you’re a registered physio, don’t forget to join UNTIL to take advantage of flexible workspace, expert facilities and a supportive community of like-minded professionals.