In Focus

The Physiotherapy Workforce

Thursday October 09, 2014

Physiotherapy is a registered health profession in New Zealand.  To practise, physiotherapists are required to have a physiotherapy bachelor degree or equivalent, be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC).


The Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand is a statutory body and responsible authority under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.  The Board sets standards, and monitors and promotes competence, continuing professional development, and proper conduct for the practice of physiotherapy.  The size and shape of the physiotherapy workforce now and in the future is therefore of strategic importance to the Board.


The Board needs workforce data and information to engage with government ministries, policy-makers and funders, tertiary education providers, professional bodies and associations, employers and practitioners, and to discuss and promote the practise of physiotherapy as a health profession.


This project analysed the APC and workforce survey data and information for the 2013/2014 practising year.  It supplemented this with data from the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings, and also used this data as a benchmark.


This snapshot of the physiotherapy workforce allowed BERL to use economic modelling to project the potential changes that could occur in the supply of physiotherapists towards 2035.  These changes were modelled as scenarios that focused on changing the number of physiotherapy graduates and internationally qualified physiotherapists working in New Zealand.  The scenarios also considered if the population of New Zealand grows to 5.3 million, the potential effects of a growing and ageing population on the physiotherapy workforce.


A copy of the report is available here:


For further information regarding this project please contact the BERL project team at or 04 931 9200