Are Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy the Same?

Table of Contents

Are Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy the Same? 
How do you become a physiotherapist?
So how can physios help a patient?
Where do physiotherapists work and who do they work with?

Are Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy the Same?

The quick answer to your question. YES, physiotherapy and physical therapy are the same thing! This means you can call your physiotherapist a physical therapist, physio or even just PT and they will answer you in the same way!

There is different wording depending on where you look. For example, the regulatory body for physical therapists in Alberta is called the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta, but the most current degree from the University of Alberta that allows you to become a physiotherapist is the Master of Science in Physical Therapy.

How do you become a physiotherapist?


It is important to know that your physio is qualified and registered with their provincial college. In Canada this means that they have completed an undergraduate degree, masters degree and successfully passed the Physiotherapy National Competency Exams. Fun Fact: there is both a written and clinical exam; they have to do two! This is how they became physios!

So how can physios help a patient?

Physios use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body. They will conduct assessments on a patient to identify the problem then come up with a treatment plan based on the patient’s needs.

Physios can help through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health and fitness. Basically physiotherapists help you go through the recovery process.

Here are the top countries for overseas trained physiotherapists:

  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • India
  • United States

Where do physiotherapists work and who do they work with?

A physiotherapist sees clients to collect health information and develop treatment plans. They practice independently but also collaborate with other therapists, assistants, physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and other health care professionals during their work.


A physiotherapist can have an important role in meeting the needs of people with injuries, health related problems and chronic conditions. To meet some of these needs physios are able to work in various settings and with different people!

Types of areas physiotherapists work in:

  • Sports Injuries
  • Work Injuries
  • Neurological Injuries
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics

To help meet your health needs, you can find a physiotherapist here:

  • General and Rehabilitation Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Centres
  • Private Clinics
  • Health Care Facilities
  • Schools

Now that you know the difference between physiotherapist and physical therapist (there is none) you should have a better understanding of what it means to be a physio in Canada. Your physio has spent years going through the proper training to help you with your needs. If you roll your ankle going for a run, recently had a stroke, given birth or are just interested in being healthier there is a physio for you!

If you would like to see a physiotherapist contact us at…780-862-3111


When should I go see a physiotherapist?

You should go see a physiotherapist if you encounter an injury or if you are dealing with chronic pain that affects how you function every day. A doctor may also refer you to physiotherapy after surgery such as a hip replacement, or an event such as a heart attack or stroke. Physiotherapy can also help with injury prevention, so if you are starting a new activity like running or weightlifting, it is a good idea to see a physio first to get some tips on avoiding injury.


What can I expect at physiotherapy?

The physiotherapist will have a consultation with you in the initial appointment. Based on the information they collect, they would perform physical examinations to identify the problem. Then the physiotherapist will provide you with a treatment plan specific to your problem and to your needs. Treatment plan may consist of rehabilitation exercises and modalities if needed. Basically, the physiotherapist will go through the recovery process with you.

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