Osteopaths diagnose, treat and provide preventative advice about disorders that affect the body's musculoskeletal system, using manual techniques to alleviate stresses and dysfunction to improve the body's function.
To become an osteopath you usually have to complete a degree in clinical sciences at university with a major in osteopathic studies, followed by a postgraduate qualification in osteopathy. Alternatively, you can complete a double degree in health science and applied science (osteopathy). To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Entry can be highly competitive, and applicants may be required to attend an interview. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Osteopaths may perform the following tasks:
Osteopaths work in association with medical practitioners, surgeons, midwives, physiotherapists, podiatrists and a range of complementary and alternative medical practitioners. They have a high level of contact with the public.
The majority of osteopaths are self-employed, but newly qualified osteopaths often work with an established clinic before starting their own practice. A small but growing number are based in private medical practices and specialist services such as pain management and aged-care facilities. Job prospects depend on the location in which you wish to practise and the level of community awareness of osteopaths as allied health workers.