To become a sports injury physiotherapist, you typically must complete a master's degree or doctorate from an accredited physiotherapy school, pass a licensing exam to practice in your area and complete an internship with a hospital, sports medicine clinic or athletic team to gain critical hands-on experience. A sports injury physiotherapist specializes in helping athletes recover from both acute and chronic injuries to return to normal sports participation as soon as possible. Usually, a sports injury physiotherapist works closely with the injured athlete to design a personalized rehabilitation program that will help treat and strengthen the injured area. A genuine interest in sports and a passion for helping others are other attributes needed to become a sports injury physiotherapist. To retain your license, you might also be required to take continuing education courses on various related topics to stay informed on the latest trends and research.
Prior to applying to physiotherapy school, you should consider volunteering at a physical therapy clinic or hospital to be sure that this is the right career field for you. By assisting a physiotherapist, you can gain real-world experience as well as build valuable rapport with a licensed physiotherapist. Many physical therapy schools require a professional recommendation from a physiotherapist as part of the admission process, so choosing to volunteer with a physical therapist could prove very helpful in your quest to become a sports injury physiotherapist.
There are many accredited physiotherapy schools available that offer either a master's degree or doctorate in physiotherapy. When selecting a school, you will need to decide whether to pursue the two-year master's degree in physical therapy or the three-year doctorate program. Although these degrees are similar, the doctorate offers a wider range of knowledge and more clinical experience before graduation. Courses include basic science courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry and physics, as well as more specialized courses in biomechanics, human growth and development, examination techniques and therapeutic procedures. In addition to classroom and laboratory instruction, you also will receive supervised clinical experience.
After graduating from an accredited physiotherapy school, you typically must pass a licensing exam to practice physiotherapy in your area. After obtaining a license to practice physical therapy, you might want to pursue advanced certification in sports physical therapy or another clinical specialty, such as orthopedic, neurological or cardiopulmonary physical therapy. Additionally, if you want to become a sports injury physiotherapist, you might want to apply for an internship with a professional sports team or college athletic program to further build your hands-on experience in working with athletes and helping them rehabilitate from various injuries. An internship also will help you enhance your communication skills, as well as your organizational and administrative skills.