How to become an Osteopath

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.

Personal requirements for an Osteopath

  • Independent and highly motivated
  • Interested in health science and human anatomy
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Good communication skills
  • Interested in people and their health

Education & Training for an Osteopath

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. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of an Osteopath

Osteopaths:

  • Diagnose patients' complaints using information from case histories, physical examinations, observation of patients' body structure and mobility, and medical imaging and laboratory tests
  • Treat biomechanical complaints (including backache, general joint problems, sports injuries, arthritis, stress and repetitive strain injuries), some breathing problems (such as asthma) and a wide range of general medical complaints (headaches, for example)
  • Treat patients using a variety of manual techniques, such as soft tissue stretching, muscle relaxation, gentle mobilisation or manipulation
  • Treat children for the after-effects of birth trauma and childhood accidents
  • Devise exercise and nutritional programs.

Tasks

  • Refers patients to specialists and liaise with other health professionals in relation to patients' problems, needs and progress..
  • Designs, reviews, monitors, assesses and evaluates treatment programmes..
  • Educates patients, their partners, family and friends in therapeutic procedures, such as home exercises and lifestyle changes, to enhance patients' health and wellbeing..
  • Records detailed patient medical histories, treatments delivered and the patients' responses and progress to treatments..
  • Uses gentle movements to treat muscles, bones and joints..
  • Gently changes and corrects the movement of the spine to restore movement and health..
  • Plans and discusses effective management of patients' dysfunction..
  • Assists and improves the function of body systems..

Working conditions for an Osteopath

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.


Employment Opportunities for an Osteopath

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.


Specializations

Osteopath

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    36 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    56% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    54% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 2.0%
    NSW: 24.7%
    NT: 0.0%
    QLD: 9.2%
    SA: 1.2%
    TAS: 2.3%
    VIC: 57.7%
    WA: 3.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 3.3%
    25-34: 41%
    35-44: 33.2%
    45-54: 12.4%
    55-59: 4.3%
    60-64: 3.3%
    65 and Over: 2.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 4.2%
    Bachelor degree: 25.5%
    Certificate III/IV: 0%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 69.7%
    Year 10 and below: 0%
    Year 11: 0%
    Year 12: 0.6%
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