The PT Profession

What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a professional health discipline directed towards the prevention or alleviation of movement dysfunction, and towards the enhancement of physical capacity. The ultimate goal of Physical Therapy is to assist the client/patient to achieve the highest possible level of independent function. Exercise, therapeutic modalities and consultative strategies are used to maximize function. In addition, physical therapists educate their patients and the community about the prevention of disabilities and promotion of health.

What is the professional status of Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapists are health professionals and are regulated by the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

Once I complete the PT program, can I start practicing right away?
No. PTs require a license to practice in all provinces and terroritories. Upon successful completion of the Physical Therapy program at U of T, graduates may apply to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators to take this examination. To practice in another country, it is generally necessary to pass the licensing examination of that country/state.

What is the license examination like?
The exam is referred to as the Physiotherapy Competence Examination (PCE) and is administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, which includes both written and clinical components.

Is the exam free?
No. The PT Alliance charges a fee for administering the exam. For current fees, visit the PT Alliance handbook page and view the most current version of the handbook.

Is Physical Therapy the same as Occupational Therapy?
No. An Occupational Therapist is a health professional who works with people of all ages and conditions to help them lead satisfying and productive lives. Physical Therapists assist people with various physical disorders to overcome barriers to physical performance. The work of physical therapists’ focuses on decreasing the impact of disability and enhancing quality of life.

What’s the job market like in Physical Therapy?
The job market continues to be good. With the shift in health care from hospital to the community and private sectors, Physical Therapists are finding work today in many different settings.

Are all the jobs in hospitals?
No. Physical Therapists work in rehabilitation clinics, in home care programs, in community health centres/day hospitals, in schools, the workplace, and in various private practice settings. Physical Therapists are increasingly finding jobs as consultants and administrators, getting involved in research, and teaching in universities.

What does a new graduate earn?
Starting salary in Ontario begins around $50,000. Therapists in senior clinical positions between $55,000 – $60,000 and those at higher levels (e.g., administrators or educators) earn considerably more.

What’s the difference between a Physiotherapist and a Physical Therapist?
Nothing. The phrases are synonymous.

I still have a specific question. What should I do?
You should first review our How to Apply page and our other FAQ sections. If you still need help, e-mail or call us at 416 946 8641.