Physiotherapy Course: All You Need To Know

Who do you seek when you injure a muscle or have aches that don’t seem to go away?

Some people will visit a doctor or try at-home massage treatments, but a physiotherapist is the best person to see.

Keep reading to find out what physiotherapists do and whether you should enrol in a physiotherapy course. 

Physiotherapy Course
Photo by RODNAE Productions

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a specialised healthcare field essential all around the world. Professionals in physiotherapy are called physiotherapists. They are concerned with helping people achieve, regain or maintain maximum physical abilities.

Instead of relying on medication, physiotherapists encourage patients to gradually move injured muscles to relieve pain.

This would eventually enable them to reclaim their independence and resume normal daily routines to enjoy a good life.

Physiotherapy is essential in the rehabilitation process. For example, physiotherapy can alleviate physical difficulties and movement loss due to injuries, illnesses, disabilities, or ageing.

Are physiotherapists doctors? 

No, physiotherapists are not doctors.

Physiotherapists do not prescribe medications or perform any invasive procedures. Instead, they advocate health and wellbeing via education, exercise and other treatments.

What are the requirements to study physiotherapy?

Like any other course, you must meet the minimum requirements the college or university has set for enrolment.

Physiotherapy course requirements

There are two pathways you can take to become a physiotherapist. Below are details of each path and how you can enrol in a physiotherapy course.

Diploma in physiotherapy

To enrol in a diploma for physiotherapy, you will need a minimum of 5 credits in your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or O-Levels examination.

The five credits will have to be in Malay Language, English, Mathematics, one Science subject and any other subject.

A diploma in physiotherapy will equip you with basic physiotherapy diagnosis knowledge and skills to use the right treatment techniques. 

You will also learn how to use the most up-to-date physiotherapy tools and equipment for treatments.

You will need three years to complete the diploma, and can start looking for suitable employers upon completion.

Degree in physiotherapy

The general requirements for a degree in physiotherapy would be to complete your SPM and a Pre-University qualification.

You would need to get a minimum of 2D’s in either your A-Levels in two of the following subjects (Biology, Physics, Mathematics or Chemistry) or a minimum of 2C+s in the same subjects for the STPM examination.

You’ll learn how to conduct evaluations, diagnose patients, and select and apply the most appropriate treatment methods.

As a result, you’ll be able to conduct your research and ensure a long and successful career in physiotherapy.

As part of your degree in physiotherapy, some universities require at least 1,000 hours of clinical placements to obtain the necessary and practical skills to perform treatment techniques.

You will also be expected to complete a research project in your final year.

physical therapy assistant
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata

What will you study in physiotherapy?

Besides being exposed to topics regarding cardiorespiratory, sports, paediatrics, occupational health and neurology, these are some of the common subjects that you can find in a typical physiotherapy course:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Biostatistics 
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Physiotherapy in Musculoskeletal
  • Physiotherapy  in Cardiorespiratory
  • Physiotherapy in Sports
  • Physiotherapy in Occupational Health

Why study physiotherapy?

Here are some good reasons why you should take up this course.

You want to help people

If you have always desired to help people through difficulties, then physiotherapy is a career to consider. 

It is important to put the needs of others before yours to enjoy physiotherapy to see your patients progress due to your efforts.

If you enjoy this, then physiotherapy it is!

Curious about science and the human body

Another reason to take up physiotherapy is if biology has always been your forte and you have a passion for learning more about the human body.

Physiotherapy teaches you to understand how our respiratory, neurological and muscular systems work and how these can affect daily mobility.

If all these make you curious and constantly seek answers for this, then take up physiotherapy.

It is an intellectual course that will satisfy your thirst for the knowledge you have been looking for.

A versatile health science profession

Physiotherapy graduates learn to adapt to new environments quickly. This is because physiotherapists can work in many places (mentioned below) besides a hospital or health center.

They can easily venture out and look for opportunities in places like corporations, schools and sports centers too.

Skills needed to be a physiotherapist

In anything you pursue, you must have the necessary skills to succeed. Here are some major skills needed to be a physiotherapist.

Observant and deductive reasoning

As a physiotherapist, you will need to be extremely observant. From preliminary diagnosis right till your patient recovers, you will need to observe them.

The constant and observant monitoring of their movements and progress will help you keep track of their recovery process.

Besides that, you would also need to observe and pick up tips from your seniors or other qualified therapists.

Good communication and interpersonal skills

You will need to explain, support and encourage your patients on their recovery journey. Therefore, you will have to engage and deal with strangers effectively. 

You will need to be able to break the ice between you and your patients fast so that your patients are comfortable with you. This will help them trust you, which will help in the recovery process.

Patient, sensitive and tactful

As physiotherapy does not involve medications, the road to recovery can be a long process. It may get frustrating along the way, but that is when you have to remain calm. 

You may have patients who progress fast or patients who take a long time to heal. In worst-case scenarios, you may have to deal with rude, frustrated or uncooperative patients.

Your ability to stay calm, understand your patients and feel their pain and frustrations will help in these situations.

When you have good self-control and remain composed, you will be better able to help and support them.

Is physiotherapy difficult to study? 

Yes, it is a tough course indeed. It involves anatomy, physiology and health – it’s not going to be a walk in the park!

However, look at it this way. It is rewarding – you get to help people, build a career that is so diversified, and you will meet people from all walks of life.

So, a few years of hard work is worth it for lifelong career satisfaction. 

Physiotherapy career pathways

Upon graduating, here are some career options that you can choose from:

  • Physiotherapist
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Physiotherapy Specialist
  • Physical Therapy Specialist

Also, there are many options as to where you can work. You are not obliged to be in hospitals or health centres. These places also require physiotherapists:

  • Special needs schools/centers
  • Community health centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Home health agencies
  • Corporate or industrial health centers
  • Research centers
  • Sports and fitness centers/clubs

How much do physiotherapists earn?

Now for the big question – what awaits you at the end of the month after all your hard work?

In Malaysia, a physiotherapist (fresh graduate) typically earns about RM30,000 a year, and of course, with experience, the amount will go higher. How much you earn will also depend on where you work. 

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata

Physiotherapy course in Malaysia

UOW Malaysia KDU is a reputable higher institution that offers a Diploma in Physiotherapy.

If you would like to pursue your higher education in physiotherapy, then look no further and 

contact us today.

Physiotherapy course fees

On average, a diploma in physiotherapy in UOW Malaysia KDU will cost you around RM50,000 and take about three years to complete.

Can I study physiotherapy part-time? 

Unfortunately, that will not be possible.

Because this is an undergraduate programme, it needs full commitment and has to be completed before working.

Can you become a physiotherapist without a degree?

Yes, but you will need to at least have a diploma. Physiotherapy requires you to be knowledgeable regarding human anatomy, bodily functions and in-depth functions of muscles.

You will need to know how to relieve pain to make your patients feel better and get back to their daily life routines.

All this comes with intentional learning and practical sessions. Thus, you will need to at least have a diploma in physiotherapy and experience before you can be a physiotherapist.


Physiotherapy is a rewarding career, especially if you enjoy helping people and making them feel good once again.

If you have the passion, take up this course and help heal people while feeling good about it.


09 July 2022


Education and Career