I went back to school a couple weeks ago! Specifically, I went to Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Milton for their grade 10 career fair. It was an excellent opportunity for students to approach professionals from different careers and ask them some key questions.
Students were provided with “passports”. They had to choose 3 professions and ask each a minimum of three questions from a list or some of their own. There were some patterns in some questions that I was asked regarding Physiotherapy as a career. I’ll address some here!
Did you know you wanted to be a Physiotherapist when you were in highschool?
I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had a difficult time thinking that far ahead. I worked as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and camp counselor when I was in high school and University. I was also heavily involved in athletics. I think all of those choices as well as some exposure to Physiotherapy for myself and family lead me in that direction.
What do you like about being a Physiotherapist?
I like being a Physiotherapist for many reasons. I enjoy helping people reach their goals. Perhaps it is to have less pain, move better, have a better quality of life, return to a sport. Whatever the goal, no matter how small or large, if it important to the person it is important to me.
I work in private out patient Physiotherapy so I work with a variety of people, a variety of age groups (from babies to older adults), and people with a variety of issues. I also like the profession of Physiotherapy as there are many directions you can take within the profession. Depending on your goals, you can work in a hospital, in a private practice, do home care and focus on specific populations within these settings. There is always the opportunity for continuing education. You can learn more always in order to best help your patients!
What courses should be taking if I would like to become a Physiotherapist?
There are a few ways to answer this question. One is moving forward from high school, the other moves back from Physiotherapy. If you don’t take the “right” courses in high school or the “best” program in University, all is not lost.
Moving back from Physiotherapy:
Physiotherapy is now a Master’s Degree in Canada. There are limited amounts of school’s offering the program. It is competitive academically to get in. The most important thing is to look ahead the pre-requisites (the required courses and extras) each school requires. You likely will not need a specific degree but a handful of courses and a specific amount of volunteer hours.
That being said, myself and many of my Physio classmates came into the program with a Kinesiology degree or something similar. This allowed for knowledge to be built upon and a smoother transition into the program. You can look at the websites for each school and see what they are asking in terms of courses, volunteer experience and GPA.
If you have a few post-graduate options on your radar look ahead to set yourself up for success. You can manage your electives to cover all you bases and keep your options open.
Moving Forward from high school:
Taking these certain courses will likely make Physiotherapy an easier program and will expose you to topics that you will touch upon. You will be more prepared. They may also confirm that you really do want to be a Physiotherapist as well as give direction into what Physio niche you can see yourself in.
In high school I would suggest health science / kinesiology type courses (I believe grade 12 gym). I would suggest physics as a progression into biomechanics as well as biology. If your goal is to get into Kinesiology then look at ahead at those specifics too.
Outside of school I would suggest taking first aid and first responder courses. If it is available to you moving forward with life guarding courses is also helpful. The type of hands on and situation based testing can be found in some kinesiology courses as well as through the Physio program. It may also put you at advantage to apply to work with sports teams at your University.
I would also strongly suggest working with a guidance counselor at your high school to help you through the process. Some helpful resources are the Canadian Physiotherapy Association , the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, and the websites for the Universities offering Physiotherapy: