Advanced physiotherapist

An advanced physiotherapist


An advanced physiotherapist is a highly skilled healthcare professional who has undergone additional training, gained extensive clinical experience, and often specializes in a particular area within physiotherapy. This role involves providing advanced assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for complex conditions, as well as taking on leadership responsibilities and contributing to the development of best practices within the field.

Advanced physiotherapists typically do the following tasks:

  • Conduct advanced assessments of patients with complex or challenging conditions, utilizing specialized diagnostic skills and technologies.
  • Provide specialized and advanced physiotherapy interventions for patients with complex musculoskeletal, neurological, or respiratory conditions.
  • Take on leadership roles within the physiotherapy department or healthcare team, providing guidance to junior physiotherapists and collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
  • Contribute to the advancement of physiotherapy practices through participation in research projects, evidence-based practice initiatives, and the development of clinical guidelines.
  • Provide mentorship and education to junior physiotherapists, as well as contribute to the education and training of healthcare students and professionals.
  • Collaborate with specialists from other healthcare disciplines, participating in multidisciplinary teams to optimize patient care.
  • Contribute to developing and implementing specialized physiotherapy programs or clinics tailored to address the unique needs of specific patient populations.
  • Oversee the management of complex cases, coordinating care with other healthcare providers and ensuring a comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment.
  • Participate in quality improvement initiatives, ensuring that physiotherapy services adhere to the highest standards of care and patient safety.
  • Contribute to public health initiatives, preventive care, and health promotion within the community.
  • Stay abreast of the latest advancements in physiotherapy through continuous education, attending conferences, and participating in professional development activities.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to advanced physiotherapist:

senior physiotherapist
senior specialist physiotherapist
lead manipulative physiotherapist
physiotherapy manager
lead respiratory physiotherapist
specialist physiotherapist
lead occupational physiotherapist
physiotherapy team lead
lead neuromuscular physiotherapist
senior occupational health physiotherapist
physiotherapy team leader
physiotherapy lead
lead cardiovascular physiotherapist
lead neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapist
lead neurological physiotherapist
clinical lead physiotherapist
lead remedial physiotherapist

Working conditions

Advanced physiotherapists may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, specialty clinics, or community health organizations. The role may involve a combination of direct patient care, leadership responsibilities, and involvement in research or education.

Minimum qualifications

An advanced physiotherapist typically holds a master’s or doctoral degree in physiotherapy or a related field. Extensive clinical experience, often in a specialized area, is essential. Specialized certifications or postgraduate training in a particular area of physiotherapy may be required. Leadership skills, effective communication, and the ability to collaborate within a multidisciplinary team are crucial for success in this role. Continuous learning and staying updated on the latest advancements in physiotherapy contribute to ongoing professional development.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Advanced physiotherapist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Advanced physiotherapist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to advanced physiotherapist.

specialist chiropractor
specialist biomedical scientist
specialist pharmacist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of advanced physiotherapist.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of advanced physiotherapist.

  • Utilise advanced clinical skills: Utilise advanced clinical skills in specific contexts, following specific training, in order to address the client`s needs.
  • Contribute to quality physiotherapy services: Participate in activities that promote quality, particularly in the acquisition and evaluation of equipment, resources, safe storage, and supply management.
  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems that arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Respond to changing situations in health care: Cope with pressure and respond appropriately and in time to unexpected and rapidly changing situations in healthcare.
  • Manage a healthcare unit budget: Manage a healthcare unit budget. Collaborate in budget planning processes including cost of supplies needed for adequate health services and management.
  • Educate on the prevention of illness: Offer evidence-based advice on how to avoid ill health, educate and advise individuals and their carers on how to prevent ill health and/or be able to advise how to improve their environment and health conditions. Provide advice on the identification of risks leading to ill health and help to increase the patients’ resilience by targeting prevention and early intervention strategies.
  • Inform policy makers on health-related challenges: Provide helpful information related to healthcare professions to ensure policy decisions are made for the benefit of communities.
  • Adjust physiotherapy interventions: Adjust physiotherapy interventions based on re-evaluation of the client`s response to treatment.
  • Manage physiotherapy staff: Recruit, train, manage, develop and supervise physiotherapy staff where appropriate, ensuring the provision of clinically effective service to clients, recognising the need for further training both for oneself and other physiotherapy staff.
  • Develop strategic plans for physiotherapy services: Contribute to the development of systems, policies and procedures for the provision of physiotherapy services, sharing knowledge and contributing to internal and external learning opportunities.
  • Contribute to continuity of health care: Contribute to the delivery of coordinated and continuous healthcare.
  • Promote health and safety policies in health services: Promote adherence to local, regional, national and EU Health and Safety legislation, policies, guidelines and protocols.
  • Provide physiotherapy diagnosis: Provide a physiotherapy diagnosis/clinical impression of the client`s condition, working with the client to identify impairments, activity and participation limitations resulting from illness, injury and/or ageing, undertaking a holistic approach.
  • Manage clinical risk: Improve the quality and safe delivery of healthcare, placing special emphasis on identifying those circumstances that place clients, their families and carers, staff, students and others at risk of harm and act to prevent or control those risks.
  • Use e-health and mobile health technologies: Use mobile health technologies and e-health (online applications and services) in order to enhance the provided healthcare.
  • Prescribe tests for physiotherapy: Prescribe diagnostic imaging, laboratory tests and other investigations as part of the physiotherapist client`s assessment in certain situations, where applicable, and in accordance with local or national legislation and/or policy.
  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Triage clients for physiotherapy: Triage clients for physiotherapy, prioritising their assessment and indicating where additional services are required.
  • Record healthcare users’ progress related to treatment: Record the healthcare user’s progress in response to treatment by observing, listening and measuring outcomes.
  • Provide leadership: Lead and influence others to promote and contribute to policy development, advocacy, extending the boundaries and strategy at various levels.
  • Advocate health: Advocate for health promotion, well-being and disease or injury prevention on behalf of clients and the profession to enhance community, public and population health.
  • Measure effectiveness of the service provided: Use a problem-solving approach to develop and measure recommendations for improving the quality of professional practice in increasingly unpredictable contexts, contributing to change and development within the profession or service at a local, regional or national level.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Manage healthcare users’ data: Keep accurate client records that also satisfy legal and professional standards and ethical obligations in order to facilitate client management, ensuring that all clients’ data (including verbal, written and electronic) are treated confidentially.
  • Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.
  • Develop physiotherapy services: Develop a safe, effective and efficient quality physiotherapy service.
  • Provide advanced clinical practice in physiotherapy: Provide advanced clinical advice to individual clients or groups in relation to physiotherapy diagnosis and planning of complex interventions, supporting other physiotherapists in planning client care and in understanding the role and responsibilities of the advanced physiotherapist.
  • Provide health education: Provide evidence based strategies to promote healthy living, disease prevention and management.
  • Provide self management support: Provide evidence-based information and strategies on self-management to the client.
  • Prescribe healthcare products: Prescribe healthcare products, when indicated, for therapeutic effectiveness, appropriate to the client`s needs and in accordance with evidence-based practice, national and practice protocols and within scope of practice.
  • Contribute to the rehabilitation process: Contribute to the rehabilitation process to enhance activity, functioning and participation using a person-centered and evidence-based approach.
  • Adhere to health well-being and safety: Comply with and apply the main points of health well-being and safety policy and procedures, in accordance with employer’s policies. Report health and safety risks that have been identified and follow the appropriate procedures if an accident or injury should occur.
  • Provide information on the effects of physiotherapy: Provide information on therapeutic outcomes and any inherent risks to the client making sure he/she understands, acting in accordance with ethical principles and local/national policies where the client does not have the capacity to understand.
  • Communicate effectively in healthcare: Communicate effectively with patients, families and other caregivers, healthcare professionals, and community partners.
  • Develop therapeutic relationships: Maintain the individual therapeutic relationship to engage the individual’s innate healing capacities, to achieve active collaboration in the health education and healing process and to maximise the potential of healthy change.
  • Provide learning support in healthcare: Provide the necessary support to facilitate learning for clients, carers, students, peers, support workers and other healthcare practitioners by assessing the learner`s development needs and preferences, designing agreed formal and informal outcomes of learning and delivering materials that facilitate learning and development.
  • Follow clinical guidelines: Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice that are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.
  • Collect healthcare user’s general data: Collect qualitative and quantitative data related to the healthcare user’s anagraphic data and provide support on filling out the present and past history questionnaire and record the measures/tests performed by the practitioner.
  • Advise on healthcare users’ informed consent: Ensure patients/clients are fully informed about the risks and benefits of proposed treatments so they can give informed consent, engaging patients/clients in the process of their care and treatment.
  • Prescribe medication: Prescribe medications, when indicated, for therapeutic effectiveness, appropriate to the client`s needs and in accordance with evidence-based practice, national and practice protocols and within scope of practice.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Supervise physiotherapist assistants: Supervise and provide learning opportunities for physiotherapist assistants.
  • Conduct physiotherapy assessment: Undertake physiotherapy assessment, incorporating data collected from subjective, physical examinations and information derived from other relevant sources, maintaining clients` safety, comfort and dignity during assessment.
  • Apply health sciences: Apply a broad range of bio-medical, psycho-social, organisational, educational, and societal aspects of health, disease, and healthcare to improve healthcare services and to improve quality of life.
  • Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department-specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
  • Conduct health related research: Conduct research in health-related topics and communicate findings orally, through public presentations or by writing reports and other publications.
  • Work in a multicultural environment in health care: Interact, relate and communicate with individuals from a variety of different cultures, when working in a healthcare environment.
  • Develop plans related to the transfer of care: Organise transfer of care, when applicable, across a range of healthcare settings, communicating effectively and ensuring that the patient/client and carers are involved in the decision-making process.
  • Promote inclusion: Promote inclusion in health care and social services and respect diversity of beliefs, culture, values and preferences, keeping in mind the importance of equality and diversity issues.
  • Interact with healthcare users: Communicate with clients and their carer’s, with the patient’s permission, to keep them informed about the clients’ and patients’ progress and safeguarding confidentiality.
  • Provide treatment strategies for challenges to human health: Identify possible treatment protocols for the challenges to human health within a given community in cases such as infectious diseases of high consequences at the global level.
  • Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
  • Apply clinical physiotherapy skills: Apply clinical physiotherapy skills across different practice areas using a holistic and evidence-based approach.
  • Supervise physiotherapy students: Supervise, educate and provide learning opportunities for physiotherapy students.
  • Apply organisational techniques: Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.
  • Interpret medical results: Interpret, integrate and apply results of diagnostic imaging, laboratory tests and other investigations as part of the assessment of the client, in consultation with other healthcare practitioners.
  • Engage in physiotherapy research: Undertake different levels of engagement in physiotherapy research activities to improve the quality and evidence base in the physiotherapy field.
  • Develop a collaborative therapeutic relationship: Develop a mutually collaborative therapeutic relationship during treatment, fostering and gaining healthcare users’ trust and cooperation.
  • Apply context specific clinical competences: Apply professional and evidence-based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.
  • Develop plans related to client discharge: Organise discharge planning, when applicable, across a range of healthcare settings, communicating effectively and ensuring that the client and carers are involved in the decision-making process.
  • Triage clients: Contribute to the triage process to assign clients to the most appropriate management pathway for their condition, in collaboration with other healthcare practitioners.
  • Refer healthcare users: Make referrals to other professionals, based on the healthcare user’s requirements and needs, especially when recognising that additional healthcare diagnostics or interventions are required.
  • Work in multidisciplinary health teams: Participate in the delivery of multidisciplinary healthcare, and understand the rules and competences of other healthcare-related professions.
  • Maintain physiotherapy equipment: Maintain the physiotherapy equipment and supplies, ensuring that equipment is safe and fit for purpose.
  • Accept own accountability: Accept accountability for one`s own professional activities and recognise the limits of one`s own scope of practice and competencies.
  • Formulate a treatment plan: Formulate a treatment plan and evaluation analysis based on collected data following assessment using a clinical reasoning process.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of advanced physiotherapist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of advanced physiotherapist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Apply acupuncture: Use procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques, such as penetrating the skin with thin, metallic needles manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation in order to relieve pain or achieve other therapeutic benefits.
  • Employ foreign languages for health-related research: Use foreign languages for conducting and collaborating in health-related research.
  • Employ foreign languages in care: Communicate in foreign languages with healthcare users, their carers, or service providers. Use foreign languages to facilitate patient care according to the needs of the patient.

ISCO group and title

2264 – Physiotherapists

  1. Advanced physiotherapist – ESCO
  2. What Is a Physiotherapist? – WebMD
  3. Physiotherapist job profile |
  4. Physiotherapist in Ontario | Job description – Job Bank
  5. Physical Therapists : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  6. Featured image: Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata
Last updated on February 11, 2024