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Working Abroad: Getting a Physiotherapy Job in Dubai



Searching for information on how to work as a physiotherapist in the UAE is like looking for a needle in a hay stack, there just doesn't seem to be enough information online.
The summary of the process of working in Dubai or the UAE sounds like this:

  • Get a job
  • Get licensed
  • Get your visa

So most physiotherapists will search for a job on Jobs in Dubai, when you get a physiotherapy job you can then proceed to apply for a license with the board.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is made up of seven Emirates with Abu Dhabi as the capital. Interestingly, there are three main health boards that handle the licensing process:

  • MOH - Ministry of Health - passing an exam for the MOH license allows you to work in five of the Emirates except Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • DHA - Dubai Health Authority - passing an exam for the DHA allows you to work as a physiotherapist only in Dubai.
  • Abu Dhabi Health Authority - HAAD- and yes you got that right....passing an exam for the Abu Dhabi Health Authority enables you to work as a physiotherapist only in Abu Dhabi. 

So much for being "united" right?

You really have to make up your mind in which of the Emirates you'll like to get a job.

How to work in Dubai/Abu Dhabi/UAE as a Physiotherapist

Points to Note

  • If you have a Bachelor's degree then you need to have at least two years work experience, if you have a Masters I'm not really clear on the years of experience you need but as a Senior Physiotherapist it is seven .
  • If you need training for the licensing exam you can try this company  I have no experience with them, but you may be able to get more information from them that can help you.
  • Here is another company that says they can help you with the licensing process in Dubai/UAE, I haven't tried them but it won't hurt you to find out about how they can help you get licensed with the DHA, MOH or HAAD.
  • I hear they have a preference for Western trained physios like UK trained physiotherapists but that doesn't stop you from debunking this and giving it a try. Then let us know how it goes.
  • Be careful with jobs offered you by small clinics, always read your contracts well don't just assume you know what they mean or that they mean what you know or think. Employers have more rights than employees in Dubai.
  • You can also apply directly to the health authority that concerns you. After they have given you the permission to go ahead with writing the exams you can contact Pearson for a test date.
  • Go to HAAD for details of the test and license fees.l
  • You should register with the Emirates Physiotherapy Association 
Here's some helpful information from the Ministry of Health document on requirements and qualification (note that physiotherapy is classsified as allied health)


Allied Healthcare professionals applying for licensure must fulfill the following requirements:

  •  Must be graduates from National and/ or International recognized college/University.
  •  For graduates from the UAE universities, the program and university must be accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR).
  •  Higher diploma certificates from The Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE will be equivalent to Bachelor degree as per MOHESR standard 
  •  Master degree or PhD (in the area of specialty) will reduce one (1) year from the required experience for licensing provided that the Master’s/ PhD degree is not mandatory to obtain the selected title. 
  •  Qualifications acquired through honorary nature, correspondence or distance learning are not counted towards the PQR requirements. 
  •  All non-UAE national graduate allied healthcare professionals from UAE universities are required to successfully complete Six (6) months internship post- graduation. 
  •  UAE National allied healthcare professionals are exempted from the experience and internship requirements for the basic entry level.
  •  Applicants must hold a valid License/ Registration to practice in their home country and/or country of last employment (where applicable).

1.1. Educational Qualifications
 Educational programs must be nationally accredited.
 Qualifications must be issued by institutions/ colleges recognized in home country.
At the entry level, minimum qualification requirement is high school certificate as per country specific education.
 Qualifications are evaluated in accordance to the following criteria:
o The country and institution from which the qualification was awarded
o The level of national /international recognition of the qualification
o The duration and content of study, and the presence of clinical practice/ practical training.
o Qualifications acquired through honorary nature, correspondence or distance learning are not counted towards the PQR requirements.
 Qualifications not mentioned in this document may be evaluated and reviewed by the Authorities joint committee who may grant the applicant with the appropriate title.

1.2. Professional Experience
Physiotherapists should have a minimum of a B.Sc with 2 years work experience minimum and 1 year work experience for Masters degree holders.

1.3. Professional License and Good Standing Status
 The applicant must have a valid professional license to practice, or registration (where applicable) from home countr and/or country of last employment.
 The validity of the license/registration (where applicable) should cover the minimum required experiences for the applied title.
 Good Standing Certificate (GSC) must meet the following requirements:
o Valid and not older than six (6) months at the time of application for licensure
o Issued by the Health Regulatory Authority in the country(s) of last employment. In countries that lack regulatory bodies GSC may be accepted if issued officially from last employer. 
 The Authority may request more evidence or conduct investigations if deemed necessary to prove the status of good conduct of the healthcare professional.
The applicant must declare that he/she has never been convicted with any legal cases, medical malpractice during
his/her practice of the healthcare profession or he/she is currently under investigation.

1.4. Primary Source Verification
 The documents required for licensing shall be verified directly from the original or primary source
 These documents include but not limited to: educational qualification(s), experience certificate(s), professional license(s) and/or any other documents deemed necessary by the Authorities.



 Please let us know how your licensing process goes when you are done.



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