Physiotherapy continues to be a highly sought-after and respected profession, offering reliable and consistent opportunities. The work is skilled, challenging and comparatively well-paid.
But how much do qualified physiotherapists earn?
And what factors affect your pay packet?
This article offers a comprehensive guide to Physiotherapy salaries.
What is the average Physiotherapist salary?
As of 2023, the average salary for a Physiotherapist is £37,105 per year (£2,627 per month), which is £7,505 (23%) higher than the UK’s national average base salary.
Physiotherapists in the UK work mainly in the NHS, where pay is regulated, rather than the private sector, where it is not. Most of them start operating at Band 5.
Band 5 physiotherapists in the NHS start at £12.74/hr, around £27,055 pa. A more experienced Band 7 position starts at £19.89/hr, around £41,659 pa (2022/23 rates of pay).
There are no hard and fast rules for physiotherapists working privately. Initially, you might earn a relatively low income, but an experienced physiotherapist working in private practice can earn far more than in the NHS.
You can set your rate to whatever you’d like if you own your practice.
But there is a caveat if you take insurance work: your rate is determined by what insurance companies will pay you per session.
You must also consider overheads, sick and holiday pay, and insurance. You also have to remember that if a client doesn’t turn up, or you have no bookings, you won’t get paid.
What does a Physiotherapist do?
A physiotherapist helps patients regain and maintain mobility, function, and well-being.
They diagnose movement-related problems, such as neurological, skeletal, cardiovascular, or respiratory problems. A treatment and exercise plan is created once the diagnosis has been made.
Physios work in clinics, sports clubs, and gyms alone or as part of a large, multi-skilled team.
In some cases, high-tech equipment is used, while simple exercises are used in others.
What is the difference between NHS and private-sector pay?
Private sector and NHS physiotherapy salaries differ significantly in several ways.
In the NHS, salaries are known and structured around bandings, whilst the salaries of private practitioners are more market-driven.
When you run a private practice, salaries are determined by what you charge and your business’s success.
When looking at the difference between salaries, it is essential to compare your salary with the terms and conditions of being employed by the NHS, being employed by a private practice, and being self-employed:
|Employed in private practice
|Self-employed, private practice
|National salary scales with defined pay bands
|Potential for variable and uncertain income, dependent on employment contract
|Variable and/or uncertain income, but not limited
|National insurance and income tax deducted from pay (PAYE scheme)
|National insurance and income tax likely to be deducted from pay
|Submit annual tax return. Solely responsible for tax and national insurance
|Pension provided to eligible staff by employer
|Allocate and provide own pension
|Will vary depending on contractual agreement
|Unpaid holiday. May need to also pay and arrange for a locum
|Paid sick leave
|Will vary depending on contractual agreement
|Unpaid sick leave. Must arrange for cover for patients
|NHS indemnity cover
|Employer responsible for employee’s negligence
|Accountable for own negligence
In the NHS, work hours are organised and rostered, whereas building your reputation in the private sector may require extra hours.
Benefits, holidays, sick leave, and pensions are provided and clearly outlined, while none are guaranteed privately. Some private employers, however, do offer comprehensive benefits.
Regarding sick pay, junior physiotherapists receive one month’s full pay and two months’ half pay in the NHS. Each year, this increases to a maximum of six months of full pay and six months of half pay (NHS Handbook).
In private practice, your hourly wage should include a percentage for sickness. You can also take out private income protection insurance policies, increasing your overhead.
Also worth noting is that Continual Professional Development (CPD) is offered and sometimes funded by the NHS.
What are the pay rates for Physiotherapists in the NHS?
Physiotherapists in the NHS are paid using the same transparent banding system as all other NHS workers, of which there are 9.
In addition to the pay increases within each banding, different roles are qualified for each based on their skill level, seniority, and other factors.
The starting salary for a physiotherapist is currently £27,055 per year, which is Band 5. As you gain experience, your salary rises. You must apply for a new, more senior role to reach a higher banding, which normally requires further training or study.
It is common for experienced physiotherapists to reach Band 6, which means they might earn between £33,706 and £40,588 a year on average.
A job ad for the NHS:
Source: Indeed, February 2023
The most qualified, consultant-level Physiotherapists who reach the highest bandings can expect to earn between £60,000 and £110,000 a year.
If you’re in London, the following weighting also applies:
- Inner London: 20% of basic salary, subject to a minimum payment of £4,888 and a maximum payment of £7,377
- Outer London: 15% of basic salary, subject to a minimum payment of £4,108 and a maximum payment of £5,177
- London fringe: 5% of basic salary, subject to a minimum payment of £1,136 and a maximum payment of £1,915
What are the pay rates for Physiotherapists in the private sector?
The pay in the private sector is less defined and is more determined by market dynamics. NHS pay also influences private sector pay to some extent. Earnings are broadly influenced by experience, qualifications and your ability to negotiate the best possible salary.
You must also consider what insurance companies will pay you per session and any overheads, sick and holiday pay, and insurance.
Remember that you won’t get paid if a client doesn’t turn up.
The average salary for physiotherapists in the private sector is £35,000 to £40,000, but some starting salaries can be as low as £20,000, and top pay packets can be as high as £100,000 a year.
A job ad for the equivalent skill level of NHS Band 6 in private practice:
Source: Indeed, February 2023
How to increase your salary as a physiotherapist.
You can increase your salary in this field in several ways. The following tips will help you earn more:
- Gain experience.
Physiotherapists earn a lower salary at entry-level positions, especially in the public sector.
Try and get exposure to different types of patients and medical conditions. With clinical experience, you can negotiate a better salary or promotion with your current employer or find an alternative job.
Depending on where you live and work, your salary may vary. A higher-paying location may be an option for you. Physiotherapists in the UK are most likely to earn high salaries in the following locations:
- London: £41,611 per year
- Bristol: £37,524 per year
- Cambridge: £37,375 per year
- Birmingham: £37,224 per year
- Manchester: £36,873 per year
Essential tip: consider the cost of living and transportation costs before you move.
- Go private.
You could reach a ceiling salary if you work in the public sector with a clearly defined career structure.
In this case, you might want to consider working for a private company offering a higher salary or setting up your own physiotherapy practice.
- Negotiate a better salary.
Consider negotiating a higher salary instead of looking for another job if you have been with the same company for a while.
Preparation is key when making a case for a higher salary, so highlight your performance and skill set. Show your employer why you deserve a pay rise, including any qualifications you have gained since starting your current position.
- Supplement your income.
You may be able to supplement your income by working part-time in your field. You can contact local gyms or sports clinics if you’re looking for part-time work.
- Gain additional certifications.
As a physiotherapist, keeping current with new treatments and methods is vital. Completing additional qualifications not only helps you with your current role but could also make you a more desirable hire.
The added qualifications could help you stand out from other candidates and give you an extra rung in your belt to negotiate a higher salary.
- Consider specialising.
You could choose to specialise in a specific field or with a specific group of patients. Some specialisms can have higher earning potential than others and be exciting opportunities too.
Examples of physiotherapy services you could transition to include:
- Animal Physiotherapists
- Sports therapists
- Physiotherapy lecturers
- Personal trainers
- Health service managers
- Exercise physiologists
Free up hours and see more clients by using practice management software
If you’re thinking about starting up your own physio practice, start on the right foot by using private practice software for Physiotherapists.
WriteUpp is perfect for sole physiotherapists and multi-location clinics. It allows you to see information regarding your bookings, as well as your clients’ appointment history and upcoming appointments. No one will miss an appointment with automatic SMS and e-mail reminders.
By creating and annotating note templates, physiotherapists have saved hours and improved their note-taking quality effortlessly.
Use our specialised physio note templates library, upload your notes templates, and annotate body images.
Using Physitrack? Physitrack is scientifically proven to increase patient confidence and adherence to home exercises:
- Prescribe exercise programs straight from WriteUpp
- Assigning the program in Physitrack will automatically save to your client’s record
- Data integrity between your platforms
Plus: Get an exclusive discount with Physitrack if you are a WriteUpp user!
Practice management software will let you spend more time building your practice, attracting new clients, and earning more income.
Contact us for a live chat if you have any questions or want to learn more about what an integrated practice management solution can do for you.
You can find the button in the bottom right corner of your screen.
Note: Salary figures in this article reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.