Essential Skills and Attributes


The Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy is responsible to society for providing its enrolled students with opportunities to develop the qualifications (academic knowledge, professional behaviours, attitudes and clinical skills) to enter the profession of Physiotherapy. The purpose of this page is to describe the skills and attributes required for success in completing a university program in Physiotherapy: students interested in pursuing a degree in physiotherapy are encouraged to review the following information that outlines the requisite skills and attributes for the profession.

An offer of admission to the School of Physiotherapy at Dalhousie University program should not be interpreted as evidence that the Physiotherapy program has independently verified an applicant’s skills and attributes in the domains described below. These skills and attributes are essential if students are to be successful in achieving the competency standards of the profession.

Competency Standards

The competency standards for Physiotherapy are described in the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada1 [PDF - 404 kB, 2017]. For this reason, students admitted to the School of Physiotherapy must possess the skills and abilities described below in order to be able to develop the competencies required of an entry-to-practice physiotherapist. Students must be able to demonstrate sound clinical and professional judgment and demonstrate responsible decision making to become graduates who are cognizant of practice accountability issues, laws, regulations, professional codes of ethics and standards of practice.

1 The development of the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapist Assistants in Canada (the Profile) was made possible through the collaboration of numerous organizations and individuals. This National Physiotherapy Advisory Group initiative was led by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA). Contributing organizations included the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (The Alliance), the Canadian Council of Physiotherapy University Programs (Academic Council) and Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC).

Reasonable Accommodation

It is anticipated that reasonable accommodation may be provided to individuals who demonstrate such a requirement. The following description of skills and attributes is not intended to preclude individuals who may require reasonable accommodation. Students who anticipate that reasonable accommodation will enable them to meet the required standards for these skills and abilities are responsible for articulating their requirements. Requests for accommodation or an extension of time to complete the program are considered on a case-by-case basis according to the applicable policies, regulations and procedures. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek out and review the policies, regulations and procedures regarding accommodation at Dalhousie University.

Physiotherapy Assistants

The supervisory role of a physiotherapist is changing. Physiotherapy Assistants are becoming a vital team member in many health care settings. The integrated treatment approach from both a Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Assistant is dependent on the adoption of the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative Competency Framework [PDF - 387 kB, Feb 2010] which includes Role Clarification, Interprofessional Conflict Resolution, Collaborative Leadership and Team Functioning.

Read the Description of the Skills and Attributes for Students in a Master’s Entry-Level Program in Physiotherapy [PDF - 132 kB]