Applying for a Job in Australia

Ok, so you’ve got the visa, you’re registered as a physiotherapist, now it’s time to get you a job! In this post I’ll outline what you can expect as part of a general recruitment process in Australia, and the documents you should have prepared so that it all runs as smoothly as possible.

Where to look for jobs

If your primary area of passion lies in the domain of cardiorespiratory, neurological or acute inpatient physiotherapy then your best bet is to look into the Public Health System of the state you wish to live in (NSW, Vic, QLD, ACT, WA, NT, SA, Tas) or perhaps even the private hospital scene (with Ramsay Health and Calvary being the biggest names alongside plenty of independent facilities). Of course, there are also a small number of private clinics who deliver these services in either outpatient or community-based settings, and if this interests you a Google search might be the best way to get a feel for what’s available in your area.

If the musculoskeletal and/or sporting sphere is more your thing, you can absolutely find work in the Public Health System in a hospital outpatient role, but you’ll find a plethora of options in private practices all over the place. A good starting point for your job search includes the Australian Physiotherapy Association(APA) Jobs4Physios website, Seek, Indeed and LinkedIn. Word of mouth is also a powerful tool in this workforce, and Facebook Groups such as the APA Musculoskeletal and Sport Special Interest Groups might bring up some opportunities (just take care with who you hand your information over to).

And finally you will always find a steady demand for physios in the aged care sector on the above listed websites, or through local recruitment agencies. Geriatrics can be a very rewarding interest area in it’s own right (and pays well too compared to other industries) so this might be a good temporary option if you’re struggling to get work in your preferred area.


What to expect in the process

If you do stumble upon a position that piques your interest, hit that Apply Now button and work your way through some or all of the following steps:

  • Online application: usually a few basic personal details, evidence of your qualifications, registration, and right to work in Australia.
  • Selection criteria: This is usually a list of essential criteria that an employer expects a candidate to have to fulfill the advertised role. They may ask for examples of your previous experience in particular areas or ask what you would do in a series of hypothetical scenarios. Completing this task requires a bit of skill and time, so I may put together a separate post giving you some specific advice on how to structure your answers if this generates enough interest (I’ve filled out plenty in my time!)
  • Cover letter and Curriculum Vitae (CV): Hopefully you would all keep an up to date copy of your CV or resume, but again having this prepared to a high standard could be the difference between progressing in the recruitment process or not. I can also write a post about this, and how to structure a cover letter if you’d like.
  • Interview: this is a chance for your potential employer to meet you face to face, via video call or over the phone. They may ask you a few additional clinical questions to judge your level of clinical expertise, but usually this is an opportunity to get to know your character/personality, and whether you’ll be the right cultural fit for the workplace. Be yourself, don’t stress if you can’t answer all the technical questions (you’ll no doubt learn a lot on the job), and determine whether you think the job feels right for you.
  • Referees: one of the final steps of the recruitment process before offering someone a job is to speak to usually 2 previous employers or colleagues. Provide the contact details of 2 people you think know you well and will “go in to bat” for you, doing their best to advertise skills and qualities that would make you a fantastic employee in this new role. With this in mind it always pays to leave each of your workplaces on a good note – don’t burn old bridges!


If you’re a potential candidate

Ok so you’ve done a good job with your written application, impressed the interview panel and your referees have checked out. Congratulations, you’ve been offered the job! A few final steps will ensure you pass the final hurdle.

  • Working With Children’s Check (WWC): To apply for this just Google “Working with childrens check [insert your state here]”. You’ll need to provide your personal details, pay the fee, and a check will be done to ensure you’re safe to work with young people.
  • Police Check: Not always required, but some employers will request this is done. Again it’s a state based thing, just follow your employers directions.
  • Vaccinations/health questionnaire: To keep yourself and others safe, it’s important you’ve been vaccinated against the usual suspects (which I outline in detail for the UK here. *Please note, I wrote this before the COVID pandemic and these particular vaccinations are currently in their infancy. Please speak to your own GP about your individual circumstances!). Your employer may also ask if you have any previous injuries or physical limitations they need to be aware of to assist you in your new role.
  • Professional indemnity insurance: It is a requirement of your registration with AHPRA that you hold a current Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy. This can easily be included as part of your membership with the APA (if you choose to join, which I highly recommend), but the public health system of each state may also have it’s own arrangements in place which cover you. Ask your new employer if you need more info about this.
  • SIRA: if you work in private practice and see patients who have been injured at work or in a road traffic accident you will need to complete a training course with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) who are responsible for co-ordinating and paying for treatment. You will need to pay for this (although it is tax deductible) and set aside a few hours to go through the training program. Again your new employer should direct you to this.


*Actually, everything I’ve written in this section (aside from the vaccinations) requires you to pay a fee which is tax deductible. So although there are a few upfront costs to get this all sorted it gets you into a paying job AND if you keep the receipts you can apply for an income tax deduction when you complete your annual tax return to the Australian Tax Office.

And that’s it! Every workplace will be different of course so there may well be a few steps you don’t go through, or a few extras that I haven’t mentioned, but this hopefully gives you a rough idea of what to expect and gets you most of the way there.


Now get out there and get job hunting!


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