What qualifications do you need to be a sports physio?

In order to become a sports physio, you’ll need to become a physiotherapist first. Within Canada, there are certain accredited universities that offer physiotherapy programs. These programs are at a Master’s level, which means you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree in order to apply.

The application process for a master’s degree in physiotherapy involves submitting your GPA, proof of completion of prerequisite courses, and supplementary materials. While not all schools require supplementary materials, many will ask for volunteer experiences, references, and other relevant additional information. After the application process, a selection of applicants will be invited for an interview. The interview style and format will vary significantly depending on which school you’re interviewing for. It’s important to research what each school’s interview process may look like so you can prepare for it ahead of time.

Once you’re accepted into a physiotherapy program, you’ll attend 2 years of schooling with clinical placements. During that time you’ll learn how to be a physiotherapist in multiple settings, including acute care (in a hospital), rehab (in a rehabilitation centre which may be in a hospital), and private practice (in a clinic). Not only is a master’s level education in an accredited physiotherapy program required, but you must also become licensed by the regulatory body in your province. Within Ontario, there are 2 examinations you must pass to obtain a physiotherapy license. The first is a written component and the second is a practical component, or an OSCE (objective structured clinical examination). Once you’ve completed both the master’s level education, both the licensing exams, and registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, you can legally practice physiotherapy and call yourself a physiotherapist.

Once you’ve become a physiotherapist, you can then decide to specialize in the assessment and management of sports-related injuries. Within Ontario, you must have completed a specialty certification program recognized by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario in order to use the specialist title. That being said you can still have a focus in sports physiotherapy without completing a program, as long as you don’t call yourself a specialist.


Is a sports therapist a doctor?

Sports therapists are not doctors, and the title “sports therapist” is actually not restricted in Canada. This means technically anyone can call themselves a sports therapist without necessarily having specific qualifications or education. This title is commonly used in other countries outside of Canada. Within Canada, athletic therapists are comparable to sports therapists and are more common.

Athletic therapists are best known for their roles in emergency care on the field during sporting events. They are typically the first to respond when someone gets injured during high-level sport. Athletic therapists also work in clinic settings, focusing on the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. They are experts in both injury prevention and rehabilitation.

In order to become a certified athletic therapist individuals must hold a valid first responder certificate, obtain a Bachelor’s degree, and complete the Athletic Therapy program at one of the accredited institutions in Canada.

Can a physiotherapist be called a doctor?

Within Canada, physiotherapists are not doctors. Physiotherapy requires a master level education in Canada, and not a doctorate. This means physiotherapists in Canada cannot use the term doctor. In other countries, such as the United States, a doctorate level education is required to become a physiotherapist. In the United States physiotherapists would be considered doctors and should be addressed as such. It’s important to note that a physiotherapist with a doctorate degree is different from a medical doctor. Their degree does not represent medical training, but rather in depth expertise in their specific field.

However, if a physiotherapist with a doctorate degree were to practice within Canada, they must not use the title doctor. Since physiotherapists in Canada are not doctors, those trained outside of Canada who have doctorate degrees must not take advantage of that in Canada. This prevents those with doctorate degrees from being viewed as superior to other physiotherapists, which is not necessarily the case. On the other hand, if a physiotherapist from Canada wants to practice in the United States (or another country where physiotherapy requires a doctorate degree), they will need to take courses to obtain a doctorate degree. Furthermore, there will be equivalency exams for licensing required when practicing physiotherapy in another country.

Questions about our training? Call Strive Physiotherapy & Performance today and ask away. We are here to help you make the most informed decisions possible. 

Leave a Reply