what is an osteopath?

As an osteopath, you are an allied health professional with an extensive understanding of the musculoskeletal system. You assist patients with pain management and improve their mobility issues. Unlike orthopaedics care, which only focuses on the musculoskeletal system, you improve the overall neuro-musculoskeletal using hands-on techniques. Your knowledge of neuro-musculoskeletal systems, like nerves, muscles, connective tissue and circulation, is useful for developing a treatment plan. For instance, you use massage therapy and stretching to reduce pain and restore the agility and elasticity of the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopaths are trained in pathology, physiology, anatomy and general healthcare diagnosis. That means you identify the cause of a medical condition after examining the patient. Based on the evaluation, you identify hands-on therapeutic techniques that will provide lasting relief to patients. As an osteopath, you handle patients with various discomforts or pain arising from internal issues and injuries.

In addition to massage therapy, you guide patients through a clinical exercise regimen to ease discomfort and pain. You also advise patients on how their posture, movement, and body position cause pain or discomfort. You may also perform therapeutic procedures, like needling techniques, trigger point therapy or acupuncture. As an osteopath, you offer continued support to your patients and educate them on lifestyle changes and stress management.

view roles

average osteopath salary

The average remuneration package of an osteopath in Australia is $85,000 per year. When you are new to the role, you start with a salary of $80,000 per year. Your remuneration package increases with experience and educational qualifications. The most experienced osteopaths in Australia take home over $90,000 per year.

what factors affect the salary of an osteopath?

As an osteopath, your remuneration package depends on your experience and educational qualifications. Since osteopaths require extensive training, your qualifications are important in determining your earnings. When you have a bachelor’s degree, you are likely to earn less compared to an osteopath with a master’s level qualification. Your experience also affects your earning potential. When you have entry-level experience, you attract a lower salary than an osteopath with extensive experience.

Your location also affects your earnings as an osteopath. When you work in metro areas, the demand for osteopaths is high, increasing your earning potential. Working in smaller cities reduces your remuneration prospects due to the low demand in the area. The size of the hospital also affects your earnings. When you work for a small private clinic, you handle fewer cases, reducing your remuneration. Large hospitals or rehabilitation centres handle complex issues and deal with many patients. Hence, you are likely to earn more.

Want to know what you will earn as an osteopath? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of osteopaths

As an osteopath, you can specialise in various types of therapy. As a physiotherapist, you help patients improve their movement and reduce pain. You work with clients with mobility and pain issues caused by disability or ageing. Some of the treatment therapies you supervise include manual therapy, exercises and electrotherapy, depending on the conditions.

As a chiropractor, you work with patients who want to improve their well-being. You use hands-on techniques to adjust the patient's spine or musculoskeletal systems. You also recommend exercises to help your clients stretch their muscles and advice on nutrition and supplements to improve pain management.

As an acupuncturist, you treat people with physiological and physical conditions. You use needles and cups to improve the flow of energy and perform physical rehabilitation. With your guidance, patients can improve their health and lifestyle.

man in a hospital
man in a hospital

working as an osteopath

Working as an osteopath involves treating the musculoskeletal system using massage and muscle manipulation techniques. Check out the duties, responsibilities and work environments of osteopaths.


education and skills

If you want to become an osteopath in Australia, you require extensive educational qualifications. Get an undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor's degree in science, with an applied science or health science major. After obtaining the degree, pursue a master's degree in osteopathy. The course takes one to two years and prepares you for the role. When you gain the relevant qualification, you should register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The registration is renewable annually after demonstrating mandatory professional development.

You also require a current first aid certificate and extensive experience working as an intern or in entry-level positions. For professional development, join industry bodies like the Australian Osteopathic Association or the Osteopaths Registration Board of Australia.

osteopath skills and competencies

Some of the skills and qualities of osteopaths include:

  • interpersonal skills: as an osteopath, interpersonal skills help you interact with other health professionals and collaborate with them on various treatment plans. Since you talk to patients about their health, being able to show compassion and empathy helps them feel at ease.
  • communication skills: as an osteopath, you require exceptional communication skills to explain the treatment plans and therapies to patients. When discussing health issues with patients, it is important to use simple instead of complex terms. Having good communication skills also means being a good listener, which helps you build a rapport with your patients.
  • physical fitness: as an osteopath, it is important to maintain your physical fitness and be physically strong. Since you use hands-on techniques in your treatment, you are likely to administer massages to patients. Being physically fit and strong makes it easier for you to perform therapies with minimal fatigue. Physical fitness also helps you avoid injuries while assisting your patients.
  • problem-solving skills: you rely on your problem-solving skills to assess a patient’s health and determine the issues they are facing. The patient may have multiple health issues affecting their musculoskeletal systems, so it’s important to come up with a treatment plan that resolves all the issues.

FAQs about working as an osteopath

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an osteopath.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.