(Original post by Ironmike)
I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that working in physio is mainly with old people? I am in my final year and I have come across everything from paediatrics to elderly care. On respiratory placement yes the vast majority of people were elderly, but mixed in with that there were 20 something year old alcoholics. My outpatients placement was everything from teenagers to old dears who had fallen over and broken a hip. It really just depends on what area you are going into, but it is true that you have to be prepared to work with people of all ages.
In terms of entrance requirements, well this is where it gets a bit tricky. I am a mature student and I got into the course off the basis of my previous degree - a 2:1 in english/computer science, so completely unrelated to physio. As I understand it, if you have a 2:1 or 1st then it can be in any degree, if you have a 2:2 or lower it must either be related or you will need to do an access to healthcare course. With regards to QCF/BTEC etc, I think it is really going to come down to e-mailing the universities you are interested in and getting an answer from them. I think it is impossible to say that a distinction is worth 5 A's at GCSE, or however many points at A level, they are two different qualifications. Some uni's may flat out reject you as they require a certain amount of A's at GCSE/A level - Birmingham would spring to mind. As a 21 year old, you will be classed as a mature student, and therefore will be judged differently to an 18 year old applying. Best advice as always is mail the admissions tutors for advice.
Work experience is a hard one. I was lucky as had a good mate who is a senior physio who pulled a few strings, but it is possible to do. You need to apply well in advance though. On one of my placements, the work experience rota was booked out 10 months in advance, so if you are going to be applying in this cycle, then get sending off those e-mails. You might need to travel a fair way (I had a 300 mile round trip), but having that day or two NHS work experience will be very beneficial to your application. If you can't get this, then pay a visit to private practice. I would recommend visiting in person if you can as it is much harder to ignore someone in their reception than it is an e-mail. Failing that, have a look at nursing homes, disabled charities etc. Many places will be happy to have an extra pair of hands for a day or two, and although you might not be doing just physio, you will show that you have a caring nature and that you can work with disabled/elderly people. If they have a physio attachement there, showing a bit of willing should get you a few hours shadowing.
As for whether the career is right for you, well that is what work experience is all about. Have a read round the internet, and if you have any questions, send them over. Ignore what M.Duggan thinks about physio - if you touched anyone up you would be hauled very quickly infront of a court, and even the messiest jobs (yes I have been pooed on) are pretty quickly sanitised due to the use of gloves, aprons etc.