16 August, 2021 | Posted by Cian Fahey

Alternative Routes to Physiotherapy that Don't Need CAO Points

Sports Therapy physiotherapist

Alternative routes to physiotherapy are necessary in Ireland because CAO points for physiotherapy degrees are consistently very high.

Portobello Institute offers students an alternative route to becoming fully qualified physiotherapists outside of the CAO system that can actually be more efficient than CAO courses in the long run.

Are you a Leaving Cert student who was hoping to spend the next four years studying to become a physiotherapist? Did you want to get your Level 8 degree from a top college in Ireland?

Becoming a physiotherapist is a very popular career path in Ireland because it offers consistent opportunities and personal fulfilment. There are opportunities in private practice, with professional teams and with hospitals. Unlike other career routes, physiotherapists can both work completely independently and as full-time employees at a larger company.

Portobello Institute’s BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree is an internationally awarded Level 8 degree that can be completed in three years.

It covers a broader range of modules than a physiotherapy-specific degree and it has become a proven pathway for students to go on to study a master's in physiotherapy.

Dan O’Mahony graduated with Portobello’s Sports Therapy degree in 2018. Immediately after graduating, he started his MSc Degree in Physiotherapy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

“Portobello Institute provided me with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge for me to attain my ultimate career goal…I was also very fortunate to be given the opportunity to study with a great class of students and extremely supportive lecturers.”

The students who got their courses through the CAO the same year that Dan went to Portobello Institute were still a year away from graduation in their Level 8 courses when Dan was starting his Level 9 master's degree.

Since Dan graduated with a Level 9 degree at the same time his CAO counterparts graduated with a Level 8, he was immediately in a better position when applying for job opportunities. Furthermore, he could sooner start benefiting financially because he didn’t have to account for an upcoming master's degree.

The alternative route through Portobello Institute actually proved to be a more efficient route to physiotherapy for Dan than the other courses available through CAO points.

Furthermore, by graduating through Sports Therapy, Dan opened his options for further education in different areas.

One of our current students turned down places at the most popular physiotherapy courses in Ireland after attaining the required CAO points. She realized she wanted to study hydrotherapy and paediatrics so the Sports Therapy course set her up better to pursue her dreams.

Sports Therapy opens opportunities that could potentially be closed off in a more specialized degree course. Mike Walden of Sports Injury Clinic runs through some of the different roles that a therapist can fill in this article.


If you are interested in any of our sports courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert sports advisor Sharde Sebastian here, email sharde.sebastian@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0029. 

Featured in this article:
Johanna Shaw has a 2:1 in BSc (Hons) in Sports and Exercise Science from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. She completed an MPhil Studentship in Physical Activity for Health alongside an Exercise Development role. She then went onto a Tackling Inactivity in Students role funded by Sport England within a Further Education College in London before moving back to Dublin to Portobello Institute.

Portobello Insider

Join our mailing list to receive the latest insights and exclusive content from your chosen department of interest