Become a physio

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Become a physio

Physio’s are professionally qualified with either a Diploma in Physiotherapy (pre-1991), a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, or a qualification from overseas approved by the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand.

All physios practising in New Zealand are registered by the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand and hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC).

Studying physiotherapy

To become a physio you will need to study a health science-based four-year degree from one of the two New Zealand schools offering physiotherapy. This programme includes assessment, diagnosis and treatment of injuries and medical conditions; it also includes 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.

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How much could I earn as physio? 

(information sourced from, October 2012)
Pay for physiotherapists varies depending on their experience, duties and employer. At district health boards:

  • new physiotherapists earn about $45,000 a year
  • they can progress in yearly steps to about $62,000 a year
  • with extra duties and responsibilities, they can earn from $67,000 to $88,000 a year.

Career progression

Many physios continue with postgraduate studies. You might also choose to specialise in one of the many different fields of physiotherapy. Other options include moving into teaching, research roles, management positions or setting up your own physiotherapy private practice business. 

What’s being a physio really like?

Read one of our physio profiles and hear from them about what being a physio is like. Kara Thomas says making a difference to the quality of people’s lives is what motivates her. In her sports work, the pleasure is in contributing to better performance. “We make better athletes, allowing them to succeed.” Read Kara's profile.

How to register as a physiotherapist in New Zealand

In order to work as a physio in New Zealand it is a legal requirement that you must first be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand and hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC). Visit the Board's website to find out all about registration Allow several months for the registration process, from the time you have provided all the required documentation to the Physiotherapy Board.

Working in New Zealand

Obtain information regarding immigration and work permits from Immigration NZ or from immigration officials at the closest New Zealand High Commission or Embassy. The Physiotherapy Board has information on how to register as an overseas qualified physio.

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