First Contact Physiotherapist Training and Development

Specialist / Advanced Clinical Practitioners in MSK are trained to advance their clinical, therapeutic and reasoning skills, developing their skills in communication and leadership to bring about more evidence-based, efficient and effective services.

The MSK First Contact Practitioner Physiotherapist is expected to demonstrate compliance with the Musculoskeletal Core Capabilities Framework (2018) which sets out a standard for consistent, safe and effective practice across a range of practitioners working as part of a multi-professional team.

What are the entry requirements to train as a Physiotherapist/ First Contact Physiotherapist?

To get onto a Physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels, including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C) including English Language, Maths and at least one Science. You may also be able to get onto a course with alternative qualifications, including:

  • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes biological science
  • relevant NVQ
  • science-based access course
  • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications
  • a previous degree or a full practising qualification in a related area.

To become an MSK First Contact Physiotherapist, you will need a BSc or pre-reg MSc in Physiotherapy under a training programme approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. You will also need to be working as an experienced autonomous clinical practitioner in line with the national multi-professional framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England framework. There are also two-year accelerated MSc courses available to people who already have a BSc degree in a relevant subject.

Band 7 roles: HEE Primary Care FCP Capability training must be completed as the minimum threshold for entry to primary care & must be supported by appropriate governance and indemnity. This can begin 3-5 years post-graduate.

Band 8a roles: HEE Primary Care FCP Capability training must be completed and you must also be working at an advanced level of practice (i.e. at Masters Level 7) across all four pillars of advanced practice.

Is there an Apprenticeship route towards becoming a Physiotherapist/ First Contact Physiotherapist?

A degree standard apprenticeship in Physiotherapy has been approved for delivery. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website.

There is also an apprenticeship route for Advanced Clinical Practice; this is a part-time integrated 3-year degree apprenticeship Masters programme. ACP apprentices are employed by their organisation for a minimum of 30 hours per week to undertake a job with training to recognised industry standards.

Where can the First Contact Physiotherapist role lead?

Prospects for career development for First Contact Physiotherapists in primary care are increasing, with opportunities to develop knowledge and a range of clinical, educational or managerial skills.