As a physiotherapist, you may have begun your career as a public practitioner – working in hospitals, clinics and health care centres. That’s the best way to gain immense knowledge and experience in medical science. However, you can become a self-employed physiotherapist after a couple of years.
Being a freelance physiotherapist has many advantages apart from the freedom and flexibility a freelancing career offers. You can practice the way you want, take holiday whenever you feel like, offer customised services and even fix prices based on individual clients. We have provided some essential information on how to become a freelance physiotherapist.
You Will Have to Make Choices
A self-employed physiotherapist can practice in several working set-ups such as
- Work within a hospital as a private practitioner
- Open an individual clinic or
- Work withcollaborated health practices
A self-employed physiotherapist will need special medical equipment and electrical devices for separate categories like sports, personal injury, paediatrics and elderly. You have to think about specialising in a particular form of physiotherapy as a start-up.
You have to register as a self – employed practitioner with respective Health Professional Centre of your country.
You would also be requiring patients referrals – for this, you will need to start networking and collaborating with general local practitioners and health care professionals for leads.
How to Find Work as a Freelance Physiotherapist
You could start looking up at the local physiotherapist clinics or health centres who are in need of freelance practitioners. You can also source your own work from the following places;
- Collaborate with Sports Centres and Gyms:
Gyms, sports clubs and fitness centres often seek regular physiotherapists for specific client injuries or fitness requirements. You can advertise on their premises if they allow. You can also send out pamphlets to the clients coming in, sporting your services and rates.
- Local Retailers or Businesses:
The business could be anything, it could be a hotel too, but if you are familiar with the founder or owner, you can ask them to send emails to their employees advertising your services or recommend their staffs to take up your services if need be. You can give an additional discount for companies.
- General Practitioners:
Most general physicians will have a list of recommendations that they refer to their patients for scans, therapy, blood test or cardiologist, dieticians and so on.You can be an additional and invaluable recommendation to the GPs if you specialise in a particular form.
The chances of getting more clients through local general practitioners are quite high when compared to other sources. After all, no one denies a doctor’s suggestion, right?
- Create a Website:
This is a digital marketing era; you could reach your client 10x times faster, if you use the internet as your ally. A simple website may be with one or two pages would do.
It should talk about your history, qualification, specialisation, the services you offer, your contact details and practicing hours.Make sure you do the SEO bit quite accurately. For example, if someone searches “Physiotherapist in San Jose”, your details should pop up.
- Advertise on Newspaper:
Put up your advertisement on the right page to reach out more clients. For example, if you are planning to specialise in sports therapy, put up the advertisement in the sports column.
Similarly, you can also talk about the goodness of physical fitness and send an entry as a guest article in magazines and special columns in newspapers.
- Word of Mouth:
This could be one of the quickest ways to gain popularity. Today our lifestyle has become such that everyone needs a medical advisor. So why not you become one for your near and dear ones? Ensure that your friends and family know that you are starting up as a freelance physiotherapist.
Relatives, close friends, neighbours, friends of friends should be your first target. And once you get a good number of clients, do give them an excellent service so that they don’t hesitate to recommend you to others. And don’t hesitate in giving discounts for referrals. This way, you will be more likely in retaining your old clients as well as get more new customers.
- Clubs, Communities and Schools:
There are plenty recreational clubs and schools apart from the cricket and football clubs that are constantly seeking physiotherapists for their guests and students.
Any club or educational institution that has some kind of sports, even cycling, scuba diving, volley ball, running or swimming,would need a therapist for unwarranted health and muscle issues.
In fact tourists who come to resorts can be approached with your services for a relaxation therapy. Sprains, back issues and muscle stress are common problems that you could address with your services.
Here are Some Pointers for Newbies
Although we have focused on how a physiotherapist can become a freelancer, we have listed some guidelines for amateurs, wanting to join the profession as well;
1. Research on the Profession. Take some time to understand the job description and the key responsibilities of a physiotherapist. You should also learn the essential soft skills required to be a self-employed practitioner.
Working hours, best areas to practice as well as salary prospects should also be analysed.
2. Get Qualified. You must meet the standards and requirements set by your country’s governing and regulatory bodies before you start practicing. Every country has different steps to accomplish in the process.
For instance in the USA, you must complete a 4 year UG degree, followed by studying for Doctor of Physical Therapy (3 years) and then should you apply for operating licence in the state you work in. You will have to pass a certain test before you legally become a therapist.
3. Landing your First Job. Requirement of physios is increasing by the year in most parts of the world. This means plenty of opportunities will open doors once you qualify.
Each hospital department would seek your service including elderly care, mental health, occupational health, OTPs, orthopaedics, paediatrics, women’s heath, and so on. And as mentioned in the previous section, you could also find jobs in GPs, Sports Industries, Armed Forces, Nursing Homes, Hotel Industries, Gyms and Day Care Centres,