Community and Health


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Helping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5Skill Level 6

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 Future Growth Very Strong 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 ID & description: 2521: 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

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.

Osteopath at work

Duties and Tasks

  • Assess physical problems and injuries in patients

  • Developing comprehensive treatment plans

  • Diagnose patients through neurological and musculoskeletal tests and functionality assessments

  • Educating patients about their conditions, diagnoses and necessary treatments and procedures

  • Encouraging patients to follow through with required treatment including at home exercises

  • Improving and restoring the functionality of the body

  • Keeping detailed records of the patients history, diagnosis, treatments and progress

  • Monitoring and evaluating the patients improvement

  • Working as a team with specialists and other caregivers for the benefit of the patients well-being

  • Ability to make decisions regarding treatments

  • Ability to recognize and admit a treatment isn't working and find an alternative solution to the patients problem

  • Ability to stand for long periods of time

  • Analytical thinking for diagnosing ailments

  • Desire to constantly learn new techniques and procedures

  • Genuine care for peoples health and well-being

  • Good communication skills to explain highly technical procedures in a way the patient can understand

  • Good time management skills, so patients are not kept waiting long

  • Knowledge of medical conditions and testing

  • Manage a staff for the benefit of the patients

  • Understanding how the patient feels and addressing their concerns and fears



Did You Know?

Osteopath treat

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.

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.

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.

To become an osteopath you usually have to complete a degree in clinical sciences at university, with a major in osteopathic studies, followed by a postgraduate qualification in osteopathy. Alternatively, you can complete a double degree in health science and applied science (osteopathy).

To work as an osteopath, 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.

Did You Know?

The Telegraph (UK) reported on 2 February 2018 that...

The Telegraph

Tim Baker, an osteopath from Dundee, believes he discovered the existence of the man in question in Aberdeen: William Smith, a pioneer of British osteopathy and student companion of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1880s.

Smith's son, Cuthbert claimed that Conan Doyle had based Dr Watson on his father. He outlined how Smith and Conan Doyle had been taught at Edinburgh University by Dr Joseph Bell, the Scottish medical lecturer who Doyle said was the inspiration for Sherlock because of his powers of observation.

Cuthbert Smith wrote: "The character of Watson was written around my father but it was merely a friendly gesture on Doyle’s part and not based on any personal merits connected with the remarkable character of the stories of Joseph."

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Material sourced from
Jobs & Skills WA [Osteopath; ] ;

Open University;
CareerHQ [Osteopath; ]
Your Career [Osteopath; ]




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