The goal of physiotherapy is to promote and maintain health, skills and competences and thus promote active participation and improved quality of life for people at all stages of life. The work aims to improve mobility, diagnose the causes of movement disorders and disabilities and provide treatment based on the diagnosis. In addition, physiotherapists deal with the prevention and/or reduction of the consequences of injuries, stress symptoms, diseases, aging and lifestyle that can affect the mobility and thus the quality of life of individuals. Physiotherapy is a certified healthcare profession.

Physiotherapists work both in healthcare institutions and in private physiotherapy clinics. They work in places such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, geriatric institutions and fitness centers. Physiotherapists also work for sports clubs, in teaching and research, occupational safety and counselling, such as in the field of prevention and health promotion.

Main tasks

• rehabilitation after illness, accidents and operations
• training and treatment of athletes
• treatment of the chronically ill, the disabled and the elderly
• musculoskeletal problems
• lifestyle diseases
• prevention, education and health promotion

Competence requirements

Physiotherapists need an operating license from the Medical Director of Health. Specialist licenses are granted in thirteen special fields if additional requirements are met. A physiotherapist needs to be responsible for the prevention, counselling, diagnosis and treatment provided. As a physiotherapist, it is important to know the ethical protocol of the profession and respect professional restrictions and confidentiality when appropriate.


Physiotherapy is taught within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland and students are admitted to the program following entrance exams. A Bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy requires a three-year undergraduate degree and an additional two years for a master’s degree, after which it is possible to apply for an operating license, in addition to which an MS degree meets the basic requirements for doctoral studies.

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