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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3142 Occupation: Physiotherapists
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
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. Physiotherapists are employed in hospitals, clinics, industry, sports organizations, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities, or they may work in private practice. 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. Physiotherapists are employed in hospitals, clinics, industry, sports organizations, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities, or they may work in private practice.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3 4
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3 4
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read short instructions on equipment labels. For example, read operating instructions on the labels of ultrasound and electrotherapy equipment. (1)
  • Read text entries in forms. For example, read descriptions of accidents involving patients in insurance claim forms. Read patients' comments about patients' health concerns in intake forms. (2)
  • Read email messages from co-workers and letters from colleagues. For example, read about meeting arrangements and schedule changes in email messages from co-workers. Read letters from referring doctors who describe patients' injuries and from workers' compensation board officials who confirm support for the payment of treatments. (2)
  • Read trade magazines, brochures and professional associations' newsletters to stay abreast of technological advances, legislative changes and other matters affecting the practice. For example, a physiotherapist may read Physio-Québec to learn about new software to prepare personalized exercise programs for patients and to find information on an upcoming conference on risk management in physiotherapy. (3)
  • Read textbooks and academic journals to expand knowledge of physical functions, dysfunctions and disorders of the musculo-skeletal, nervous, cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems. Read journals to learn about the results of research in neurology, oncology, rheumatology, orthopedics, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics and other physiotherapy practice areas. For example, read the Introduction to Problem Solving in Biomechanics to deepen understanding of the mathematics and physics involved in knee movements, weight loads and joint sharing. Read an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine about German trials showing the effectiveness of acupuncture techniques in the treatment of back pain. Read an arthritis researchers' study published in Physiotherapy Canada about access barriers to physiotherapy services. (4)
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Writing
  • Write notes to record details of diagnoses and treatments. For example, write notes in patients' files to record information about prescribed exercises, treatment procedures and responses to treatments. (1)
  • Write email and letters to co-workers and colleagues. For example, write email messages to co-workers to share information on new treatment approaches. Write letters to referring doctors to outline the progress made by patients. Write letters to lawyers to offer opinions on patients' injuries and the extent to which they can carry out regular work activities as required. (2)
  • Write detailed text entries in forms. For example, a physiotherapist in a rehabilitation centre may write a lengthy description of a patient's joint stability, leg length discrepancy, posture and gait in a physical examination form. (2)
  • Write treatment and rehabilitation plans for patients suffering from dysfunctions and disorders of the musculo-skeletal, nervous, cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems. In these plans, provide physiotherapy assessments of patients' conditions, identify goals to be reached by patients and define outcome measurement methods. Describe detailed programs which may include therapeutic exercises, massages, manipulations, mobilizations, electro-therapy, hydro-therapy, acupuncture and other treatments. (3)
  • Write the text for newspapers, newsletters, leaflets, brochures and Internet sites to promote preventive health care and physiotherapy services. Address key questions about the prevention and treatment of physical dysfunctions and disorders in an effective manner. Gather, select and rewrite information from various sources for a mixed audience of patients, caregivers, health care professionals and representatives from community organizations as required. For example, a physiotherapist may write leaflets to warn mothers about jumpers, rollators and other equipment which may be detrimental to babies' physical development. A physiotherapy supervisor may write a newsletter article about the role of the physiotherapist as part of the preventative medical team. (4)
  • Write articles for trade publications, academic journals and conference proceedings. For example, a physiotherapist may write an article about the development of an evaluation grid for seniors' walking safety. The physiotherapist summarizes research protocols, outlines difficulties encountered in collecting data, discusses principles used to analyse data collected, presents results obtained and explains their significance. (5)
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Document Use
  • Locate data on product and equipment labels. For example, scan labels on electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and other equipment for manufacturers' names and model numbers. Scan labels on patients' medications for drug names, dosages and renewal dates. (1)
  • Locate data in graphs. For example, locate data in graphs that show maximum torque produced at various knee angles. (2)
  • Enter data into tables and schedules. For example, physiotherapists in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes and residential care facilities may enter patients' names, appointment times, activity codes and dates into time log tables. They may also enter their assessments of patients' abilities to stand unsupported, sit unsupported, reach forward, turn around and perform other movements into Berg Balance Scale tables and other test score sheets. (2)
  • Locate data in lists, tables and schedules. For example, scan bibliographies at the end of journal articles to identify other articles relevant to your practice area. Scan the daily schedule to locate the times and locations of appointments with patients. Skim calendars prepared by professional societies, universities, hospitals and other organizations to locate the dates, costs and locations of conferences, seminars, symposia, workshops and courses you wish to attend. (2)
  • Locate data in treatment referral, patient intake and consent to treatment forms, physiotherapy claims, medical histories, permissions to release health information and other entry forms. For example, a physiotherapist may review an intake form completed by a patient to verify access to insurance and locate the names of the employer, insurance company provider and insured person. (2)
  • Complete entry forms such as insurance claims, treatment extension requests, mobility, spinal and other physiotherapy assessments, discharge reports, purchase orders, invoices and receipts. Combine data from several sources to complete such forms. For example, a physiotherapist in a rehabilitation centre may complete a physiotherapy assessment form to document the outcomes of a patient's initial evaluation. The physiotherapist may enter the patient's name, address, age, social and mental status and the names of occupational therapists, social workers and nurses concurrently helping the patient. (3)
  • Locate data in radiographs, diagnostic images, sketches and pictures. For example, a physiotherapist may scan a patient's radiographs to locate pins in a bone that restrict mobility. The physiotherapist may also scan a surgeon's sketch to identify the location of a surgical procedure performed on a patient's knee. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Enter and retrieve patients' appointment, assessment and treatment data from hospital and clinic databases. Search, display and print data from physiotherapy evidence databases such as PEDro. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers such as Explorer to obtain information about physiotherapy treatments, training courses and equipment. Use these browsers to access physiotherapy associations' websites and online journals and participate in discussion forums. (2)
  • Use email programs such as Outlook to exchange email messages and attachments with co-workers, colleagues and patients. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective presentations for students, colleagues and community groups, import and place scanned images. (2)
  • Write and edit text for treatment and rehabilitation plans, letters, leaflets, case study reports and journal articles using word processing programs such as Word. Basic page and character formatting features are generally used. (2)
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, physiotherapists in private practices may assess their clinics' information technology needs and select electronic medical recording and clinical management systems such as ABELMed-Physio, PhysioGraphic and Pro DF. Using these systems, they may create patients' files, schedule and manage appointments, perform automatic billing and receipts' preparation, record assessments and treatments and generate reports. They may also select physiotherapy planning software such as Physiotec and PlaniPhysio-Action to prepare personalized exercise programs for patients. They may participate in configuring software and training co-workers who will be using it. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Speak to suppliers and purchasing officers to order and coordinate deliveries of products and equipment. For example, physiotherapists in hospitals, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities may order tapes, exercise bands, musculo-skeletal supports, braces, gym balls and weights from purchasing officers. Physiotherapists in private clinics may coordinate the deliveries of hi-lo tables, parallel bars, treadmills, ergometers, ellipticals, weight stations and hydro-therapy equipment with suppliers. (1)
  • Give directions to co-workers and discuss ongoing work with them. For example, a physiotherapist may provide directions to an assistant for carrying out tasks such as removing hot packs from a patient's leg and operating ultrasound equipment. The therapist may also speak to co-workers about weekly work schedules, cancelled appointments and new patients needing assessments. (2)
  • Discuss patients' conditions, needs and progress with orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, rheumatologists, neurologists, physical rehabilitation technicians, other physiotherapists and other health care professionals. For example, a physiotherapist may discuss a patient's occipital fracture, cerebral concussion and resulting chronic headaches, acuphen and loss of smell with the referring neurologist. The physiotherapist may report an alleviation of pain obtained through using the Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation technique and seek advice on what may be causing a metallic taste in the patient's mouth. (3)
  • Discuss medical histories, physical conditions, injuries and dysfunctions with patients and their families. Help patients identify reasonable treatment goals which may include the improvement of joint range of motion, strength, mobility, balance, endurance and respiratory function and the reduction of pain. Explain physical assessment results and discuss treatment options. Answer questions about treatment procedures and alleviate concerns. Educate patients and their families about exercises and other measures to manage prevailing conditions and prevent recurrent injuries and dysfunctions. (3)
  • Make presentations to colleagues and community groups. For example, a physiotherapist in a sports clinic may deliver a presentation about injury prevention and proper medical care for athletes to a group of amateur coaches. A physiotherapist in a hospital may speak to a group of physiotherapy students about recommended exercises to improve mobility in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. A physiotherapist in a geriatric institute may talk to a seniors' association about the prevention of falls. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify travel reimbursement amounts. For example, physiotherapists covering sporting events calculate reimbursements for use of personal vehicles at per kilometre rates and add amounts for accommodation, meals and other expenses. (2)
  • Calculate and verify purchase order and invoice amounts. For example, physiotherapists in private physiotherapy clinics and rehabilitation centres may calculate amounts to be invoiced to patients, workers' compensation boards and insurance companies. They may also calculate amounts for gym balls, weights and other clinic supplies, determine discounts and surcharges and add federal and provincial sales taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Set appointment schedules as appropriate. For example, physiotherapists in hospitals set their daily schedules so that they can meet patients at particular times. They need to adjust their schedules when some appointments take longer than expected. (2)
  • Set work schedules for co-workers as appropriate. Physiotherapists with supervisory responsibilities may set work schedules for co-workers, taking into account workload indicators and the need to distribute job tasks equitably. They may have to adjust work schedules because of vacations and sick leave. For example, a physiotherapist may create work schedules for a private sports clinic employing six other physiotherapists, two osteopaths, two massage therapists, an acupuncturist, a secretary, a receptionist and an office administrator. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor operational budgets for physiotherapy offices and clinics. For example, physiotherapists in private practices have to ensure that expenditures incurred for salaries, rents, clinic and office supplies, utilities, and other expenses are fully covered by budgets. They may have to change budget line items because of unexpected events. (3)
  • Prepare and verify financial statements. For example, physiotherapists in private practices may prepare and verify monthly balance sheets, income and expense statements and statements of cash flows. (4)
  • Calculate amounts for payroll, utility and tax accounts. For example, physiotherapists in private clinics may calculate payroll amounts for other health professionals, receptionists, secretaries and office administrators. They multiply hours worked by hourly wage rates, calculate deductions for federal and provincial income taxes and contributions to pension plans and employment insurance. They may have to use different hourly wage rates for overtime and work on statutory holidays. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure sizes and distances using common measuring tools. For example, a physiotherapist in a rehabilitation centre may use a tape to measure length discrepancy and swelling in a patient's leg. The therapist may also use a wheel to measure the distance walked by a patient and a stopwatch to measure walking time. (1)
  • Calculate durations, numbers of repetitions, loads and other specifications for exercise and therapy programs. For example, a physiotherapist in a sports clinic may calculate the resistance needed for an exercise and the number of repetitions at that weight to make an exercise effective for a patient. The therapist may also determine the duration of an exercise set using a ratio of exercise time to resting time. (2)
  • Take precise measurements using specialized tools. For example, use hand dynamometers, heart rate monitors, saturometers and goniometers to measure grip strengths, heart rates, oxygen saturations and joint ranges of motion respectively. (3)
  • Measure patients' physical abilities and risks using assessment instruments. For example, a physiotherapist may measure a senior's risk of falling using tools such as the Functional Reach Test, the Berg Balance Scale, the Timed Up and Go Test, the Dynamic Gait Index and the Tinetti Balance and Mobility Assessment. To obtain assessment results, the physiotherapist needs to perform several calculation steps. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Collect and analyse physical examination data and test results to assess patients' health, identify treatment options and monitor progress. For example, a physiotherapist working in the surgical respiratory unit of a hospital may collect and analyse measurements of a patient's pressure support, positive end-expiratory pressure, central venous pressure, arterial pressure and heart rate to assess overall health, develop a treatment plan and monitor progress. (3)
  • Manage small inventories of clinic supplies. Establish desirable inventory levels and calculate turnover rates. Count inventories and calculate quantities needed to bring inventories to desirable levels. For example, self-employed physiotherapists may manage inventories of tapes, exercise bands, musculo-skeletal supports, braces, gym balls, weights and other supplies. (3)
  • Collect, analyse and interpret physiotherapy research data. For example, a research physiotherapist may collect, analyse and interpret data to assess the effects of a physically-demanding environment on locomotion abilities after head traumas. (4)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times needed to perform job duties, using past experience as a guide. For example, a physiotherapist may estimate the time required for an appointment with a patient by assessing the nature and complexity of treatment procedures to be performed. (1)
  • Estimate times needed by patients to achieve desired treatment outcomes. For example, a physiotherapist in a sports clinic may estimate the time required for an athlete to recover from an injury and return to competition. The therapist considers the severity of the injury and the athlete's health history and response to treatment. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Physiotherapists plan and organize job tasks to meet the treatment needs of their patients. They set priorities and provide input into the day-to-day scheduling of patients' visits although their actual appointments are often booked by co-workers. Lack of equipment, appointment cancellations, emergencies and other unexpected events force them to frequently reorganize job tasks. Physiotherapists play a central role in organizing, planning and scheduling health services and contribute to long-term and strategic planning for their organizations. They may be responsible for assigning tasks to receptionists, secretaries, office administrators, physiotherapy assistants and other workers. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Select suppliers for specific products and equipment. Take into account factors such as quality, specifications, prices and promised delivery dates. (2)
  • Select workers for jobs such as receptionists, secretaries, office administrators and physiotherapy assistants. Consider individual academic backgrounds, skills, experiences, strengths, weaknesses and availabilities. (2)
  • Select physiotherapy techniques, approaches and equipment to maintain, improve and restore physical functioning and autonomy, alleviate pain and prevent physical dysfunctions in patients. For example, select manipulative therapy to restore physical functioning in patients with sports injuries. Prescribe exercises to improve patients' strength, mobility, coordination, flexibility and balance as appropriate. Prescribe wheelchairs to increase the functional independence of paraplegic patients as appropriate. Use professional knowledge and consider the treatment and rehabilitation objectives of patients. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Treatments cannot be performed because equipment is not available. For example, a physiotherapist may realize that no weight training station is available for a rehabilitation session with a patient. The therapist may teach free weight exercises to the patient until the station becomes available. (1)
  • Some patients miss appointments and others arrive late. Diplomatically remind such patients that you have a busy schedule and cannot afford late arrivals and no-shows. Physiotherapists in private practices may also charge patients for missed appointments. (2)
  • Encounter patients who are difficult to treat. For example, experience difficulties in getting some patients to carry out prescribed therapeutic exercises. Try different approaches in order to motivate patients to conform to treatment and rehabilitation plans. If attempts fail, recommend that physiotherapy services be discontinued as appropriate. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information on patients' health by interviewing them, consulting referring health care professionals and searching medical history forms and treatment records. (2)
  • Find detailed information on products and equipment used in physiotherapy by contacting manufacturers and searching their websites. (2)
  • Find information on continuing education workshops and courses relevant to particular clinical areas by consulting co-workers and colleagues, searching trade magazines and newsletters, contacting professional societies, hospitals, universities and other training organizations and by searching their websites. (3)
  • Find information about unfamiliar dysfunctions, disorders and treatments of the musculo-skeletal, nervous, cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems by consulting co-workers and colleagues and searching a wide range of sources including textbooks, trade publications, physiotherapy and medical journals and the Internet. (4)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the reasonableness of treatment goals suggested by patients. Consider each patient's overall health condition, age, lifestyle, motivation and physical abilities. (2)
  • Evaluate patients' physical abilities and disabilities. Review patients' medical history forms, referral letters and treatment records. Clarify information about accidents, injuries, dysfunctions and pain by talking to patients and referring health care professionals. Conduct physical examinations and tests, measure patients' strength, mobility, coordination, flexibility, balance and other abilities and interpret results. Also analyze radiographs, sonograms and other diagnostic images. As a consequence of these evaluations, recommend treatment and rehabilitation plans for patients as appropriate. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of workers such as receptionists, secretaries, office administrators and physiotherapy assistants. For example, physiotherapists in university hospitals may assess the performance of student physiotherapists who assist them with job tasks. As part of these assessments, they determine the extent to which students have demonstrated the required technical and personal skills. They assign performance ratings to the skills observed and justify them in writing. They may recommend further supervised assignments at the conclusion of these performance evaluations. (3)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of techniques, approaches and equipment used to treat patients' dysfunctions and disorders. Schedule regular visits with patients to monitor responses to treatments. Identify work still to be done to meet objectives identified in treatment and rehabilitation plans. For example, a physiotherapist may assess the effectiveness of specific exercises to improve mobility in a patient suffering from Parkinson's disease. The physiotherapist may also assess the effectiveness of the Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation technique to treat a patient with chronic pain of neuropathic origin. (3)
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