Physiotherapy Board of Australia - Statement on the use of titles
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Statement on the use of titles

Advice from the Physiotherapy Board of Australia

The Physiotherapy Board of Australia provides this advice to practitioners about the use of titles.


Under the National Law, there is no specialist registration for physiotherapy. This guidance explains how titles and recognised qualifications can be used.

Where a practitioner does not hold specialist registration, the National Boards consider that any advertising using words or titles related to specialty is likely to mislead a consumer to believe the practitioner holds a type of specialist registration. This includes advertising that uses the words, or variations of the words or phrases ‘specialist’, ‘specialises in’, ‘specialty’, or ‘specialised’. Words such as ‘substantial experience in’ or ‘working primarily in’ are less likely to be misleading. However, a National Board may make an exception in certain very specific situations where there is a historical use of a term linked to a qualification and the wording used is explicit that the word ‘specialist’ does not apply to the practitioner’s registration.

Recognised qualifications

The Board recognises the established history of advanced physiotherapy practice, achieved through recognised higher education through the Australian College of Physiotherapy.

This recognised higher education relies on two sequential tiers of titling.

Tier 2 titling:

  • the physiotherapist must meet the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) requirements for inclusion in an APA clinical group (Tier 2) 
  • leads to the right to use an APA Physiotherapist title (e.g. APA Sports Physiotherapist).

Tier 3 titling:

  • can only be achieved after first attaining tier 2 titling through the APA 
  • is granted through the Australian College of Physiotherapy (Tier 3 Titling). 
  • leads to a description of an area of expertise, in the context of a recognised qualification.

Acceptable use

Acceptable tier 2 example: Mr J Brown, APA Sports Physiotherapist

Acceptable tier 3 example: Ms P Smith, Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2008)

Unacceptable use

Example: Mr R Jones, specialist sports physiotherapist.

The law on the use of titles

More information on the use of titles is detailed in the Board’s Advertising Guidelines.

Page reviewed 7/01/2021