There are several career routes you can take that offer similarities to physiotherapy. As a physiotherapist, you’re working closely with people, helping them to achieve a higher level of functioning and mobility, and it’s a hands-on job in healthcare that offers many rewards.
You may have applied for a physiotherapy course and not been successful. Physiotherapy can often be oversubscribed so many potential students wonder if there are alternatives in manual therapy and healthcare you can take on. Luckily, there are jobs that offer similar rewards and salaries as well providing the opportunity to help others in a healthcare setting.
As an Osteopath, you’ll prevent, diagnose and treat a range of health problems, including musculoskeletal issues, injuries, arthritis, sciatica, headaches and migraines, and more. It’s a treatment that aims to promote overall wellbeing and health, based on the individual needs of the patient.
Osteopathy is a manual treatment that takes a holistic approach to health, assessing not just symptoms but also medical history and lifestyle for a tailored treatment plan. It’s a career that makes a wonderful alternative to Physiotherapy, as you’ll be working directly with patients to improve their wellbeing and reducing pain and discomfort through manual manipulation techniques, personalised treatments and providing health advice.
To work as an Osteopath in the UK, you need to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council and have completed a training course that’s accredited by this governing body. Courses are typically offered at a Master’s Level (MOst). These training courses cover the anatomy, physiology and biomechanics of the body, as well as nutrition, pharmacology and include over 1,000 hours of clinical training.
Osteopaths tend to work on a self-employed basis, charging anywhere from £45 – £120 per session, which usually last around 40 minutes. However, there are also employment opportunities within the NHS and private clinics. The average income for established osteopaths in the UK is £43,420, with 11% earning in excess of £100,000.
Physiotherapy is a career that uses manual manipulation to help people dealing with injury, illness or disability. Massage therapy works in a similar way, discussing medical history and injuries with the client and using deep tissue massage and joint massage to help ease tension and pain. Massage therapists use oils and ointments to penetrate joints and muscles for pain relief and to increase circulation, which aids the healing process.
This career typically requires 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course, or you can apply for an apprenticeship. You can also specialise in a specific area of massage, such as infant massage, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage or sports massage. Many massage therapists work on a self-employed basis, so salaries can vary depending on what you charge as an hourly rate.
Occupational therapists work with disabled people, the elderly and the young to evaluate clients’ injuries and develop plans to assist them with their healing journey. They use manual manipulation, exercise and instructions to help their patients, and they may work with people who are unable to return to work due to injuries or with people with disabilities to help them manage home and work life. It’s a rewarding job that offers similar fulfilment to physiotherapy.
Salaries for occupational therapists range from £31,365 to £37,890, while advanced occupational therapists can earn between £38,890 to £44,503 on average. To practise as an occupational therapist in the UK, you need to be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), having successfully completed an HCPC-approved pre-registration occupational therapy programme at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.
Acupuncturists use fine needles inserted into pressure points on the client’s body to relieve stress and improve their overall wellbeing. It’s an ancient practice that offers an alternative health remedy to pain relief. It can be used for back and joint pain, migraines and headaches, and stress, among other conditions. Since it’s a role that enables you to work closely with people to improve their wellbeing, it’s a great alternative to physiotherapy.
To qualify as an Acupuncturist, you need to complete a course approved by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board which is an independent accreditation body and has several approved courses at different levels. The Acupuncture Society and the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine also offer recognised courses and qualifications. As with massage therapy, many acupuncturists work on a self-employed basis so earning potential varies depending on the hours you work, your hourly rate and where you’re based.
Health trainers work with clients to help them make healthier lifestyle choices, introducing them to local services and helping them understand how their behaviour affects their health. A health trainer works with both individuals and groups to support and motivate them to change harmful habits and explain the benefits of healthier choices.
You can qualify for a health trainer role through a college course, an apprenticeship or by volunteering and gaining hands-on experience. Relevant courses for this type of work include a Level 2 Award in Improving the Public’s Health and a Level 2 Award in Nutrition for Health. Salary bands for this work range from £18,000 to £28,000, depending on experience and location.
If you’re unable to get onto a physiotherapy course, all is not lost. There are similar careers that offer the same benefits as physiotherapy, allowing you to work with people every day and help them with their health and wellbeing.