What is the economic value for an individual to invest in physiotherapy undergraduate education in Australia? How is this affected by increased education costs or decreased wages? This study was a cost-benefit analysis using a net present value (NPV) approach was conducted and reported in Australian dollars. In relation to physiotherapy education, the NPV represents future earnings as a physiotherapist minus the direct and indirect costs in obtaining the degree. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to consider varying levels of experience, public versus private sector, and domestic versus international student fees. Comparable calculations were made for educational investments in medicine and nursing/midwifery. Assuming an expected discount rate of 9.675%, investment in education by domestic students with approximately 34 years of average work experience yields a NPV estimated at $784,000 for public sector physiotherapists and $815,000 for private sector therapists. In relation to international students, the NPV results for an investment and career as a physiotherapist is estimated at $705,000 in the public sector and $736,000 in the private sector.
Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.