Entry -level physiotherapy education in Canada takes place in one of thirteen university programs, each affiliated with a faculty of medicine and accredited with the Accreditation Council of Canadian Physiotherapy Academic Programs (ACCPAP) and the US Council on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The minimum entry-level educational qualification to practice physiotherapy in Canada now is a Masters level degree. Many programs also offer post-graduate programs in physiotherapy, rehabilitation or related disciplines at the Doctoral level.
The entry-level educational curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the study of: biological sciences (e.g. anatomy, physiology, pathology, pathokinesiology); social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology); applied sciences (e.g. human development, biomechanics and exercise physiology); clinical sciences (e.g. physical and functional pharmacology); scientific inquiry (e.g. research, statistics, literature reviews) and professional issues (e.g. health policy, ethics, interdisciplinary practice, management). (CDPAP and CPA, 1995)
In addition, professional practice or clinical education is obtained through a minimum of 1000 hours, in the clinical setting, which begins with entrance into the academic program and continues throughout the curriculum. This clinical education provides opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills and behaviours required for practice and leads to the development of entry-level physiotherapists who act with authority, competence and leadership.
Increasingly, there is a move toward specialization or the development of advanced expertise in one particular area of the profession. This expertise may be gained though post-graduate education, continuing professional development, experience and research. Physiotherapists have developed advanced clinical expertise in areas such as cardiorespirology, geriatrics, neurosciences, orthopaedics, paediatrics, rheumatology, sports physiotherapy and women’s health.