Career structures and pathways for physiotherapists in the public health system

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) published a document in August 2013 called “Career structures and pathways for physiotherapists in the public health system.” Although this is an area that will often be subject to change depending on what is happening in each state around Australia, and the APA has since taken the PDF document down from their site saying that this area of their site is currently under review, it is worth noting that in 2013 the APA proposed a basic career structure in the public system throughout Australia.

Currently, each state has a sequence of physiotherapy employment grades, which have a certain number of increments. For example, as at October 2013, there were 8 levels of wage rates in Queensland Health, each level having increments, and physiotherapy started at level 3. Click here to see the Queensland Health pay scale. Queensland Health also has a document from 2011 outlining the scope and nature of each of the 8 levels in their organisation.

Following is a summary of the proposed career development structure for clinical physiotherapists in the public health system:

Stage 1 – entry level/graduate physiotherapist
Stage 2 – Rotating junior physiotherapist
Stage 3 – Commencing specialising physiotherapist
Stage 4 – Established specialising physiotherapist
Stage 5 – Titled physiotherapist
Stage 6 – Specialist physiotherapist
Stage 7 – Consultant physiotherapist

The APA proposed differentiating factors for these stages to include the level of education and training attained by the physiotherapist, the professional development education and seminars provided to others, the scope of practice and the breadth of skill development, the standard caseload and the leadership & management status.

Click here to access the APA document.

Image – The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

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