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Job As a Physiotherapist in Australia

Physiotherapist on duty with an aged client with the text Physiotherapy jobs in AU - Qualifications and How to Apply

There are numerous opportunities for overseas-trained Physiotherapists with the right qualifications and skills to live, travel, and work in Australia.

Whether it’s a short locum assignment, a three- to six-month contract, or even a permanent role, Physiotherapists are now in a fantastic position to find jobs in Australia.

In this article, I will cover all the essentials you need to know to make it a lot easier for you to get a job in Australia as a Physiotherapist.

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1. Overview of Physiotherapist Jobs for Foreigners in Australia

There are many different types of Physiotherapist Jobs here in Australia for Foreigners. In the current employment market, there is a shortage of qualified Physiotherapists.

Besides being a general physiotherapist, there are many different specializations of physiotherapy roles. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1.1 Benefits of Working as a Physiotherapist

As with many jobs in Australia, many foreigners enjoy the great work-life balance that they can have in Australia. Australia is a huge and diverse country that has something for everyone. 

  1. Close proximity to the Beach – The majority of the cities and towns in Australia are located on the coast or in very close proximity to the ocean. Meaning you can live and work close to the beach.
  2. Great Work-life Balance – Australia is all about achieving a good work-life balance – it feels like we work to live, not the other way around. Many companies are great about this and don’t expect us to put in crazy hours. On top of that, we get to enjoy 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year as well as 12 public holidays (depending on the state).
  3. Great Weather – In most parts of Australia, we enjoy excellent weather most of the year. The northern parts of Australia have a tropic climate meaning they have very mild winters and the weather is 20+ degrees Celsius on average all year around. 
  4. Remuneration – The pay for Physiotherapists in Australia is very good compared to the majority of OECD countries in the world. 

1.1.1 How Much are Physiotherapists Paid?

The salary and wages for Physiotherapists here are high compared to other OECD countries in the world. Here is a breakdown of what you would expect to earn as a qualified Physiotherapist in Australia

  • Entry Level Graduate (less than 3 years) experience – Entry level graduates can generally earn between $70,000 – $85,000 AUD per year
  • Experienced Physiotherapist (More than 3 years experience) – Earn between $85,000 – $95,000 AUD per year
  • Senior Physiotherapist (more than 5 years experience) – Earn between $95,000 – $105,000+ AUD per year

As you can see the pay levels for a Physiotherapist in Australia are great, the salary you will earn will allow you to have very comfortable living standards in Australia.

Let’s now go through what you need to become a Physiotherapist in Australia as a foreigner.

2. Job Requirements to Become a Physiotherapist

There are a few requirements you need before you can work in Australia as a Physiotherapist, let go through what you will need.

2.1 Visas

The most important thing you will need to work as a Physiotherapist in Australia is a Visa. There are many different types of visas you can obtain, so we have made it simple for you by detailing the most common visa types and how to get them.

2.1.1 Working Holiday Visa

The easiest visa to obtain to work in Australia as a Physiotherapist is a working holiday visa however it does have limitations. I have created an easy-to-follow article on how to obtain a working holiday visa.

To work as a Physiotherapist in Australia on a working holiday visa you will need to apply for and obtain a provisional license to work in a specific state. Each state has different requirements.

Whilst this visa is easy to obtain most provisional licenses only allow physiotherapists to work for a maximum period of 6 months.

To work as a Physiotherapist on a working holiday visa you are required:

2.1.1 Other Visa Types

There are a large number of other visa types you can apply for the most common types of visas you could obtain are as follows:

  1. Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186
  2. Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187
  3. Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Subclass 482
  4. Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa, Subclass 489

If you take a look at the Department of Immigration website there you can find the right type of visa for you.

I have written an in-depth guide that will make the process much easier for you. You will learn everything you need to know about getting sponsored in Australia, from finding a sponsor to applying for a visa.

2.2 Qualifications

Before overseas-trained Physiotherapists (excluding those on working holiday visas) can register to practice as a Physiotherapist in Australia, they must first check whether or not they are eligible to do so.

Eligibility to register as a Physiotherapist in Australia is determined by the Australian Physiotherapy Council, which assesses an applicant’s tertiary qualifications, clinical work experience, English language proficiency, and registration status in the country where their degree was attained.

For academic qualifications, the Australian Physiotherapy Council generally requires that Physiotherapists have completed a minimum of three years at an approved tertiary institution, which offers a Physiotherapy course that meets Australian academic standards in both theory and practice. Usually, this educational requirement has to be combined with a satisfactory period of supervised clinical experience (normally 1-2 years).

There are 3 different pathways to consider, I set these out below:

  1. Standard Assessment Pathway – This involves 4 steps:
    1. Eligibility Assessment
    2. Cultural Safety Training
    3. Written Assessment
    4. Clinical Assessment

Once you have completed the above 4 steps you can work in Australia as a Physiotherapist. For more information on this and to apply see here

  1. Equivalence of Qualification Pathway – To be eligible for this pathway, your university, program, and year of study must be deemed substantially equivalent to an Australian entry-level program. You can search for your program on this list of Equivalent University Programs.

Once you have applied for the Equivalence for Qualification Pathway, it will be necessary for you to complete the Council’s online Cultural Safety Training to progress. To find out more see here.

  1. Skills Assessment – If you are looking at getting a sponsored visa or it is a part of your visa conditions you will need to carry out a skills assessment. For more information on a skills assessment and to apply for a skills assessment see here.

2.3 Experience

It may be possible to get a job as a Physiotherapist as a graduate with little experience however the more experience you have the more likely you are to gain employment and sponsorship.

To work as a Physiotherapist in Australia you are required to:

3. Where are the Jobs

Australia is a huge country with 7 different states, the largest states by population are New South Wales and Victoria. Therefore there are likely to be more jobs available in these states.

According to the latest ABS census, 43,000 physiotherapists are working across the country broken down by state as follows:

Percentage of Physiotherapists Nationwide
New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland

These are the main hubs for Physiotherapist jobs in Australia. From the table above over 75% of physiotherapist jobs in Australia are located in either New South Wales (30.5%), Victoria (25.3%), and Queensland (19.7%). However while their are more job vacancies in these states demand may be higher in the less populated areas and rural regions.

Western Australia & South Australia

a graphic of Australia map with state namesThese states offer nearly 20% of the physiotherapist jobs in Australia. Although they have a much smaller amount of physiotherapist jobs than the larger 3 states they should still be considered.

Rest of Australia

The remaining states Tasmania, ACT, and NT have combined less than 5% of Physiotherapist jobs in Australia. Therefore when searching for a job in these states you may find it difficult as there aren’t many employers. On the other hand, these states are considered the less desirable to live by Australians due to harsher weather conditions and smaller populations. Therefore you might find yourself an opportunity to fill a role that many Australians will not.

Remote Australia

The remote parts of Australia generally find it extremely difficult to fill roles in Health Care services. This is due to the extreme remoteness causing very few Australians to uproot their lives and relocate there. Many Australians already have established family and friends where they currently are and don’t want to move. Therefore this could present an opportunity for you. You may find it easier to find a job in these areas these areas and they have much lower costs of living.

4. How to Apply

To apply for Physiotherapist jobs in Australia there are several different job search websites that you can use.

Here is the list of the most popular job advertising websites:

There are also some very popular healthcare-specific job search websites;

4.1 Recruitment Agencies

It is worth getting in touch with a recruiter especially if you are looking at gaining a sponsorship visa. The recruiters have a large number of industry contacts and can make the process of finding a job much simpler.

If you are still overseas, apply to Recruitment Agencies before you  arrive and to jobs within a month of arriving. This helps to determine which City and State has the best opportunities and assistance may be offered with professional Registration and your Visa.

I have created an in-depth guide to getting a sponsorship job in Australia guide that also has some very useful tips about getting a job in Australia. Be sure to check it out.

5. Conclusion

Working as a Physiotherapist in Australia can be a great experience: you are paid well, enjoy the great lifestyle of Australia, and work-life balance. There are a few steps that need to be taken to secure a job and a visa which should be a lot easier to do yourself after reading this article. I recommend starting your job search and visa application as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time to find the right opportunity.

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