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Frequently Asked Questions

Have you got questions about Physiotherapy or the Society? Below are answers to some of the most frequently encountered questions.

Physiotherapy is a health profession concerned with helping to restore wellness to people following injury, pain or disability. 
Physiotherapy is defined by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) as “providing services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan”.
“This includes providing services in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by ageing, injury, pain, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors.  Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy.”
Chartered Physiotherapists are experts in movement throughout the lifespan - from birth right through to old age.
If you have trouble with any aspect of body movement, a Chartered Physiotherapist has the expertise to find out why. Their training and expert knowledge of how the body works allows them to help people - whether ill, injured, disabled or healthy - to exercise and to regain or improve their function. 
Using knowledge from our extensive scientific background of human anatomy and physiology, Chartered Physiotherapists can help to:
  • Assess, diagnose and treat conditions and illnesses that affect people in all ages and social groups.
  • Assist a patient to prevent injury in the workplace or on the sports field.
  • Promote healthier lifestyles for all.
Chartered Physiotherapists use mainly physical means such as exercise, manipulation, mobilisation, massage and electrical stimulation to help patients achieve their full potential. 
Traditionally, physiotherapy was regarded as rehabilitative and mainly hospital-based, but the profession has expanded greatly into other health care areas. 
We have invaluable expertise to offer in educational and preventative roles in the community, the workplace and in private practice.
Because the scope of the physiotherapy profession is so broad and varied, many Chartered Physiotherapists choose to specialise in one or two particular fields. However, Chartered Physiotherapists are all dedicated to the same goals:
  • To help people achieve their full potential following injury, pain or disability.
  • To provide a health service that is accessible, effective and humanitarian.
  • To continue to undertake scientific research and training to improve our service.
  • To provide a service that is based on high standards of care and practice
A Chartered Physiotherapist is a university graduate with hospital-based training who has comprehensive knowledge of how the body works, along with specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of muscle and joint pain.
When you choose a physiotherapist who is a member of the Irish Society of Chartered physiotherapists (ISCP), you’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that they are a part of Ireland’s largest and most authoritative professional body within its field.
It is your guarantee that they have been trained to the highest academic and professional standards – and also that they continue to keep abreast of emerging trends and developments through a programme of Continuous Professional Development.
ISCP is also the only association in Ireland recognised by the World Confederation of Physical Therapy.
The Society is a strong, unified voice for the profession, and regularly speaks out on issues involving the role and responsibilities of physiotherapists – either within private practice or as part of the national health system.
Choosing a chartered physiotherapist also assures you that your chosen practitioner is fully committed to upholding the highest standards of medical and ethical standards.
You will also have recourse to a strong representative organistation should you have any issues with your chosen physiotherapist. We have a highly robust recourse procedure in place, and any grievance you may have will be dealt with respectfully and speedily.
And finally, your chartered physiotherapist can contribute to the growth, change and development of their professional landscape, influencing the progression and advancement of the profession.
To become a Chartered Physiotherapist you will have to:
  1. Complete a three or four year undergraduate university degree course (or a 2 year accelerated entry to practice MSc) which includes at a minimum 1000 hours of clinical practice;
  2. Be accepted as a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists;
  3. Undertake continuous professional development;

If you enjoy working with people, have good communication and problem solving skills and are fascinated by movement then physiotherapy may be the career for you. 

You may enjoy the challenge of assessing a patient to identify his or her needs, and of planning and carrying out a course of treatment. The academic entry requirements are set by the Central Applications Office (CAO). For current Irish requirements, contact the Schools of Physiotherapy.



To be accepted as a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, students must successfully complete the degree programme at University College, Dublin; Trinity College, Dublin; the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; University of Limerick or an equivalent degree programme abroad.  Subjects studied include anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology and behavioural sciences. Emphasis is put on practical skills, including 1,000 hours of supervised clinical work. Project work and research skills are also developed as an undergraduate.
Rates of Pay and grading structures are negotiated between the Union (IMPACT) and the Department of Health and may be obtained from them. The hours are regular, with limited night and weekend work. It is possible to work part-time. The HSE payscales are available on their website
Contact the Schools of Physiotherapy for their student information booklet which gives full details of the course requirements and subjects. 
We help and treat patients from all age groups and all walks of life. This includes anyone from premature babies and children in special schools to the elderly in Day Care Centres. We also help members of your local sports teams including GAA, Soccer and Rugby at all levels right up to elite athletes involved in all sports at national and international level. You will also find our members treating injured workers and helping to ensure a safe working environment, or educating women on antenatal/postnatal care and fitness prior to childbirth. Chartered Physiotherapists are involved in many other areas such as:
  • Back and Neck Pain;
  • Headaches;
  • Sporting injuries, fitness monitoring, pre-season assessment, treatment of injuries;
  • Respiratory care, helping people overcome breathing difficulties and preventing infection;
  • Orthopaedics, rehabilitating people following surgery on bones and joints e.g. total knee replacement;
  • Paediatrics, helping babies in special care units, helping children in developmental clinics and special schools to achieve independence;
  • Neurology, helping people suffering from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, head injury and others to overcome problems due to muscle weakness, pain and poor balance to increase their independence at home;
  • Care of the Elderly, ensuring that the elderly maintain or improve their mobility, strength and balance so that they can lead full and active lives;
  • Cardiac Care, Rehabilitation and fitness following heart surgery or a heart attack.
  • Hospitals - in outpatients, on medical and surgical wards and in specialised units such as intensive care, coronary care, burns and rehabilitation centres;
  • Community and Primary Care Health Centres – either in a dedicated Health centre or visiting people in their homes, giving treatment, advice and appliances to help improve independence;
  • Special Schools - helping mentally and physically disabled children achieve their full potential;
  • The Workplace - providing ergonomic assessments, pre-employment screening, risk management and educating workers in correct lifting and handling techniques;
  • Private Practice - assessing and treating a wide variety of muscle, joint and ligament problems as well as women’s health, neurological, respiratory conditions and many more.
Your Chartered Physiotherapist will:
  • Ask you some general questions regarding your general health, occupation and hobbies and specific questions relating to your symptoms and how they affect your activities of daily living;
  • assess your condition during a physical examination;
  • make a diagnosis;
  • design a treatment programme for your condition
  • give a customised exercise programme where appropriate;
  • advise on activities for daily living or return to sport;
  • liaise with other medical professionals e.g. your GP, with your permission, on your condition and progress as necessary.
In the public service treatment is free following referral from a consultant or a GP. You will have to go on a waiting list. There is no standard fee in private practice due to competition authority.  For example, fees can be dictated by:
  • the location of practice;
  • whether it is an initial or follow-up visit;
  • the duration of treatment;
  • the prescription and supply of specialist materials e.g. orthotics (customised insoles).
Chartered Physiotherapy services are reimbursable under the health insurance products offered by private health insurance companies such as Aviva, Laya, VHI, Glo Health. Check your policy information to find out if physiotherapy is included in your cover.