Every day, Canadians face challenging and complex healthcare issues. To meet these challenges, our healthcare system is continually evolving and reinventing itself. In this system, physiotherapy has emerged as an essential healthcare service that is well-positioned to meet the mobility challenges of an aging population as well as to serve as allies in the interprofessional management of chronic disease and disability. Physiotherapists are assisting Canadians – from infancy to end-of-life – to achieve their mobility goals and to live healthy lives.
The education of entry-level physiotherapists in Canada is designed to ensure that physiotherapy graduates have the required competencies to meet the challenges of the future. All physiotherapists have what is referred to as an “entry-level” degree – that is, a degree that provides them with the necessary skills to enter the profession. At most universities in Canada (including Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University), an entry-level Master’s degree (MScPT) is required for entry into the profession. However, the switch to a Master’s degree happened only recently and many physiotherapists working in Nova Scotia have an entry-level Bachelor’s Degree (BScPT). Both entry-level degrees (BScPT and MScPT) provide therapists with the necessary skills and qualifications to practice safely and effectively.
Dalhousie University, located in downtown Halifax, offers the only physiotherapy program in Atlantic Canada. Dalhousie’s program (as with most programs in Canada) is offered as an entry-level Master of Science degree. In order to apply for admission, applicants must complete an undergraduate degree with specific pre-requisite courses. Prospective Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy students are encouraged to visit the School’s website for more information on pre-requisites, deadlines, and campus life.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association maintains a listing of all schools in Canada offering physiotherapy programs. Prospective students are advised to contact schools directly for current information on entrance requirements.
Individuals must be registered with the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists in order to work as a physiotherapist in Nova Scotia. The College is responsible for ensuring the continuing competency of Nova Scotia’s physiotherapists, for administering complaints made against physiotherapists by members of the public, and for ensuring that appropriate educational, corrective, or disciplinary action is taken in situations where the safety of the public has been placed in jeopardy.
Practising physiotherapy, using the title “Physiotherapist” or “Physical Therapist,” or leading someone to believe that you are qualified as a physiotherapist while not registered with the College is a serious offence. If you are new to Nova Scotia and wish to work as a physiotherapist, please contact the College to determine the necessary steps to become licensed. The College contact information can be found on their website.