Sports Medicine graduates now eligible for APA titling
The University of Melbourne’s Master of Sports Medicine is now recognised on the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s academic pathway to Sports and Exercise titling.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) recently announced that the degree is a recognised course on the association’s academic pathway, which leads to titling for physiotherapists.
The interdisciplinary Master of Sports Medicine is open to postgraduate medical doctors, physiotherapists and podiatrists. Students from within the physiotherapy discipline will now be eligible to apply for the title of APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist upon their graduation.
Physiotherapist and program coordinator, Dr Sonya Moore, says the announcement is a significant development “for the university and for the profession”.
“We know that the course is robust and best practice from an education point of view – but having that validation from a professional association also says to us that this program is applicable to the needs of professionals,” she says.
“It’s also exciting for the profession that we see another pathway available to professionals in the industry to demonstrate they are meeting the skills and knowledge that’s required to call themselves a sports and exercise physiotherapist.”
The APA accreditation distinguishes titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapists as experienced clinicians, meeting the advanced practice level and having completed postgraduate study.
“If you’re a titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist, automatically the public or the sporting organisations or the athletes that you work with, they can see and they know that you’ve got that advanced knowledge and skills in that particular area,” Dr Moore says. “That’s an advantage for the physiotherapist and also for the consumer of physiotherapy services.”
For current Master of Sports Medicine students like Luke Androulakis, the announcement is welcome news.
Luke has worked as a physiotherapist in public and private healthcare and tutored and mentored students at universities around Australia. He has also worked for elite sporting clubs and completed a two-year stint at the biggest gym in Europe, Third Space Canary Wharf – formerly the Reebok Sports Club.
Now working at LifeCare Croydon Sports Medicine in Victoria, Luke studies the degree part time and is set to graduate in 2021.
“I have chosen to continue full-time work and with a budding young family, so the part-time stream accommodates my busy schedule,” he says.
He says graduating with the eligibility to apply for APA titling means he will be able to immediately demonstrate to patients that he is a highly qualified practitioner.
“The APA’s announcement is formal recognition of this course’s global standing. Professionally, titling distinguishes graduates as experts in their field,” he says.
“Personally, I have a keen interest in education and one day wish to tutor or lecture undergraduate students and the Master of Sports Medicine will help me achieve my goal.
APA titling means that your colleagues understand that you’ve completed further study and your patient group as well has more faith in your ability and depth of knowledge.
Luke currently works “in a big multidisciplinary team with sports doctors and podiatrists, myotherapists, exercise physiologists, dieticians, remedial massage and physiotherapists with different levels of training – some titled physios, some graduates and some in between like me.”
He says as a titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist other “colleagues acknowledge and respect the value of your course and use you as a source of help and information for their patients” and he is looking forward to applying for the title upon his graduation.
Luke says “flexibility has been key” throughout his studies and he has incorporated new knowledge gained from the course into his existing practice.
Dr Moore says that as the Master of Sports Medicine is delivered online, with a clinical elective component, it gives students the capacity to study alongside their existing sports medicine practice.
“We draw very strongly on the experience of physiotherapists coming into the program – and their current and extending practice experience in the sports and exercise area,” she says.
“We are continually asking them to draw upon their previous and current experience and then take their learning and skills in our program back into their practice environment.”