Physiotherapy support worker

Being able to move functionally is an essential part of what it means to be healthy. Physiotherapy plays a vital role in enabling functional movement and allowing people to improve their health.

Physiotherapy support workers work alongside physiotherapists to improve the quality of people’s lives. They work to maintain, restore and improve the patient’s function and movement.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a physiotherapy support worker, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Science
  • English
  • Maths

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to start your career journey as a physiotherapy support worker.

Learn more about the Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships 

Begin or continue learning the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to become a physiotherapy support worker with a Modern Apprenticeship.

Find out about the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For physiotherapy support worker, you will then choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options.

The role

As a physiotherapy support worker, you’ll support physiotherapists in helping patients restore their mobility and improve movement.

You’ll work with people of all ages with a range of medical conditions including:

  • multiple sclerosis
  • back pain
  • neck injuries
  • sports injuries
  • arthritis
  • stroke
  • mental health problems

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • setting up equipment
  • showing patients how to use mobility aids
  • helping patients prepare for treatment
  • working on exercises with patients
  • writing reports and updating patient records

You’ll also use gym equipment, including cross-trainers, treadmills and exercise bikes.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring for people
  • communicating with people
  • listening
  • motivating people
  • problem-solving
  • relationship-building

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • nurses
  • orthopaedic surgeons
  • prosthetists
  • orthotists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • health centres
  • a person’s own home
  • nursing homes
  • day centres
  • schools
  • hospital outpatient departments

Useful information

To work as a physiotherapy support worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Did you know?

Physiotherapy support workers are required to have a good level of fitness to cope with the role.

Learning and development

When joining the NHS, you will work through the Mandatory Induction Standards. These standards are designed to help you work safely and must be completed within the first 3 to 6 months of employment. They will also support you in your first steps as a new healthcare support worker.

You may also be encouraged when in the post to work towards further education qualifications. These may include:

Getting experience as a healthcare support worker can be very helpful if you decide you want to go to university to study to become a registered physiotherapist.

Learn more about becoming a healthcare support worker from NHS Education for Scotland's Healthcare Support Worker Careers Guidance leaflet