Australia: a profile of the profession

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The data has been provided by Australian Physiotherapy Association and to the extent possible are a true reflection of the situation in the country, however not all figures are authoritative and should be interpreted accordingly. For questions or feedback please contact countryprofile@wcpt.org

Reference year: 2018

 View the 2018 global country profile maps

Summary report for Australia
Professional name
English name:
Physiotherapist  (Protected by law)
National language names:
  • Physiotherapist  (Protected by law)
  • Physical therapist  (Protected by law)
Membership
Number of physical therapist members:
17,900
Female%
63%
 
Entry level student organisation:
Yes, represented by the WCPT member organisation
Practising physical therapists
Number of practising physical therapists:
30,351    (Authoritative*)
Female%:
68%
 
Support personnel part of workforce:
Yes
Note: *this data has come from a registration authority, a government source or statistical agency.
Publications
Journals:
Events
CPD Events:
*1  APA Online Learning Portal
*2  APA Professional Development Event Search
Special interest groups recognised by Australia
Recognised special interest groups:
  • Aquatics
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal practice
  • Cardiorespiratory physical therapy
  • Educators in physical therapy
  • Management/administration (includes leadership, medico-legal, professional standards and best practice)
  • Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Orthopaedics/manual therapy
  • Occupational health and ergonomics
  • Older people
  • Oncology/palliative care
  • Pain (includes pain management, pain research)
  • Paediatrics
  • Private practitioners
  • Sports physical therapy
  • Womens health
Collaborative arrangements (twinning)
Physiotherapy New Zealand
The APA has a Memorandum of Understanding with Physiotherapy New Zealand to collaborate in the following areas: general information sharing, endorsements, publications, specialisation and conferences.
 
Singapore Physiotherapy Association
The APA has a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore Physiotherapy Association
 
Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association
The APA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association
Physical therapist professional entry level education
Number of programmes:
45
Starting education level (minimum):
Bachelors degree
Finishing education level (minimum):
Bachelors degree
Equivalent fulltime years:
2
Other entry level programmes
Starting education level
Finishing education level(s)
Secondary
None
Upper Secondary
None
Diploma
Bachelors degree
Bachelors degree
Masters degree,  Professional doctorate
Note: qualification levels are consistent with ISCED 1997 levels
Post professional degree programmes
Post professional degree programmes:
Graduate diploma,  Masters degree,  Professional doctorate,  Research doctorate
Physical therapist specialisation recognised by Australia
Recognised specialisation:
  • Animal practice
  • Cardiorespiratory physical therapy
  • Neurology
  • Occupational health and ergonomics
  • Older people
  • Pain (includes pain management, pain research)
  • Paediatrics
  • Sports physical therapy
  • Womens health
  • Titling pathway
Practice
Scope of practice defined by:
Not defined
Standards of practice:
Yes, more than one
Code of conduct:
Yes, more than one
 
Education for autonomous practice:
Yes
Limitations:
No
 
Legislation to prevent private practice:
No
 
Physical Therapists are permitted to:
  • Act as first contact/autonomous practitioners
  • Assess patients/clients
  • Make a diagnosis
  • Treat (interventions, advice and evaluation of outcome)
  • Refer to other specialists/services
  • Offer preventative advice/services
 
Direct access* permitted:
Yes
Can people self refer to physical therapists in private practice:
Yes
Will this be reimbursed:
In part
 
Can people self refer to physical therapists in the public system:
Yes
Limitations:
Yes - Waiting lists exist in the public system, and many services in the public system are available on medical referral only.
* Direct access - a person can refer themselves to a physical therapist without referral from another health professional
Regulation
Registration required to practice:
Yes
CPD* required for re-registration:
Yes
CPD* required for membership:
No
 
The system of regulation in the country:
All physiotherapists in Australia are required to be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. http://www.physiotherapyboard.gov.au/ The legislation that establised the National Registration Scheme is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Legislation-and-Publications/Legislation.aspx
* CPD - Continuing Professional Development

Other available reference years: 2017