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Summary of occupation

Osteopaths diagnose patients' complaints using case history, physical examination, observation, use of touch, and reading of diagnostic images, such as x-rays. They treat patients with manual techniques such as stretching, muscle relaxation and mobilisation. They may treat a wide range of medical complaints. They may also advise on exercise and nutritional programs.

ANZSCO description: Diagnoses and treats tissue strains, stresses and dysfunctions which impede normal neural, vascular and biochemical mechanisms, and provides advice on preventing these disorders. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Specialisations: Craniosacral Osteopath, Paediatric Osteopath
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An osteopath needs:

  • good hand eye coordination
  • good communication, listening and interpersonal skills
  • to be interested in people and their health
  • to be able to communicate with a variety of different people and enjoy working with people
  • to be able to inspire confidence and cooperation
  • to be able to work with a variety of other health professionals as part of a team.
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Working conditions

An osteopath's normal workday would be 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, in some cases evening or weekend work may also be required. Most osteopaths are in private practice or work with other health professionals in a clinic. Osteopaths work in air conditioned offices.

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Salary details

On average, chiropractors and osteopaths can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. ​

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Tools and technologies

Osteopaths need to be able to read x-rays and other diagnostic test results. They may also need to be able to use ultrasound equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an osteopath, you usually need to study science at university with a major in osteopathy, followed by a master’s degree in osteopathy. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree.

There are no suitable courses for osteopaths available in Western Australia (WA). There are suitable courses offered interstate. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To work as an osteopath in WA, you must obtain professional registration with the Osteopathy Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children clearance issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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