About the job

Nature of work:

Physiotherapists assess patients and plan and carry out individually designed treatment programs to maintain, improve or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain and prevent physical dysfunction in patients. They may focus their practice in particular clinical areas such as neurology, oncology, rheumatology, orthopedics, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary disorders, burns, or sports injuries, or in the field of ergonomics. Physiotherapists are employed in hospitals, clinics, industry, sports organizations, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities, or they may work in private practice.


To work in this field, you should have an interest in health and in caring for the special needs of people. Ingenuity, initiative, and imagination are needed to adapt activities to individual needs. You should be patient, self-disciplined, and resourceful. The ability to inspire confidence and to motivate clients is important. A strong sense of responsibility, good judgement, and communication skills are also necessary. Physical stamina may be necessary.

A university degree in physiotherapy and a period of supervised practical training are required to work in this occupation. Registration with the provincial licensing body is required.

Other considerations:

A growing number of people in this occupation are self-employed.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is above average. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 850, and so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next five years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With 19% of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Physiotherapists may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are most typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 74% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $65,974. The median income for the occupation overall was $64,119
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

Estimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014 Estimated hourly earnings in 2013
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Below Average
Percent employed full-time: 74.5 %
Percent self employed:9.5 %
Where will I likely work?
Area of Employment% Employed
Southern Region17.1
Northern Region6.3
Cape Breton18.0
Industry of Employment% Employed
Health Care and Social Assistance94.7
What are the workers like?
Age% Employed
Gender% Employed
Education% Employed
Less than high school graduation certificate0.0
High school graduation certificate or equivalent0.0
Trades certificate or diploma0.0
Non-university certificate or diploma0.0
University certificate or diploma below bachelor4.3
University bachelor's degree67.4
University post graduate degrees28.3
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Title and Practice:This occupation is regulated in Nova Scotia. Certification attests that the holder has met provincial requirements for the occupation. A certificate is required to work in this occupation.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists
15 Brookdale Crescent
Dartmouth, NS B3A 2R3
(866) 225-1060
(902) 245-3134
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists
15 Brookdale Crescent
Dartmouth, NS B3A 2R3
Tel: (902) 454-0158 ext.2
Fax: (902) 484-6381
Canadian Physiotherapy Association
955 Green Valley Crescent, Suite 270
Ottawa, ON K2C 3V4
Tel: (800) 387-8679
Fax: (613) 564-1577
Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy
P.O Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Tel: (902) 494-2524
Fax: (902) 494-1941
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators
1243 Islington Avenue, Suite 501
Toronto, ON M8X 1Y9
Tel: (416) 234-8800
Fax: (416) 234-8820

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Physical therapy/therapist
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to alleviate physical and functional impairments and limitations caused by injury or disease through the design and implementation of therapeutic interventions to promote fitness and health. These programs include courses in functional anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, neuroscience, pathological physiology, analysis of dysfunction, movement dynamics, physical growth process, management of musculoskeletal disorders, clinical evaluation and measurement, client assessment and supervision, care plan development and documentation, physical therapy modalities, rehabilitation psychology, physical therapy administration, and professional standards and ethics.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737

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