Become a Sports Massage Therapist

how to become a sports massage therapist

Learning how to become a sports massage therapist may initially seem overwhelming, but the process can be broken down into these 5 easy to follow steps:

Before we start, did you know you can take your first step into the fitness industry by enrolling on OriGym’s Level 3 Sports Massage Course?

Alternatively, you can download our free course prospectus to learn about our full range of courses.

What Does A Sports Massage Therapist Do?

how to become a sports massage therapist

Before we discuss the process behind becoming a sports massage therapist, let’s take a closer look at the role itself.

Sports massage therapy (or SMT) is a form of physical therapy which is used to alleviate muscle soreness, reduce inflammation, aid in rehabilitation and prevent further injuries. 

As a sports massage therapist, you will therefore be expected to fulfil duties that include: 

  • Testing joints for a range of motion and pain 
  • Pre-event sports massages
  • Post-event sports massages
  • Proving emergency aid during a sports event
    Creating rehabilitation programmes for clients with injuries

The working hours of a sports massage therapist will therefore vary. You may be required to work evenings and weekends to meet the demands of your client's schedule. 

According to Glassdoor Sports Massage Therapists earn between £21k-£84k every year, with the average salary being around £42k every year! 

It’s important to note that this salary isn’t set in stone, and your total earnings can vary depending on a variety of factors such as location and experience - e.g. therapists in London will earn more than any other in the country. 


Become a Qualified Sports Massage Therapist with OriGym

Start your career today with our Level 3 Sports Massage Course!

Step 1: Qualify as a Sports Massage Therapist

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Completing a Level 3 SMT course will teach you how to become a sports massage therapist in the UK. This is an entry-level qualification meaning you don’t need to hold any previous experience to enrol, we simply ask all students to be aged 16+.

OriGym’s SMT course is taught via blended learning and is typically completed within an average of 8 weeks. When enrolled students will learn through our virtual learning platform, whilst also attending in-person workshops.

When becoming a sports massage therapist you must ensure that your qualification is regulated by an Ofqual-approved awarding body such as Focus Awards or Active IQ. 

Ofqual is the government body responsible for regulating vocational training in England. It regulates courses such as the Level 3 SMT Qualification to ensure students across the country are being trained to the same standard, regardless of which training provider they’ve chosen.

All of OriGym’s Sports Massage qualifications meet these standards, ensuring that you’re receiving training to the same national standards. 

Step 2: Choose Your SMT Employment Type

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Once you’ve achieved your qualification, you’ll then need to consider what type of employment you want to pursue as a sports massage therapist. Your options will include: 

  • Contracted Work - You will work fixed hours determined by your employer, typically working with a predetermined client base.
  • Freelance/Self-Employed Roles - You can determine your hours working with clients you have personally sourced. 

If you want to become a sports massage therapist in a contracted role you will also need to consider what kind of employer you wish to work for, including: 

  • Health and Fitness Clubs
  • Physiotherapy Clinic
  • Sports Clubs  

This career is ideal for individuals who have just become qualified sports massage therapists, as you will be able to work in a structured environment with a fixed source of income.  

If you decide to work as a self-employed/freelance sports massage therapist, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll treat clients from their homes or an agreed mutual location. Note: you may need to rent a space in a gym, yoga studio or clinic. 

This role is ideal for those who are looking to be their boss, set their work schedule and establish a brand that’s uniquely theirs. 

But be aware, this role comes with an immense amount of responsibility, for example, you will need to source equipment and market the SMT business, entirely by yourself.

Step 3: Get Sports Massage Therapy Insurance

how to become a sports massage therapist 3

When researching ‘how to become a sports massage therapist in the UK’,  you will learn that you’ll be legally required to hold the following insurance policies as a minimum requirement: 

  • Public Liability Insuranceto provide you with coverage for claims made against you from injuries and damages suffered by your clients.
  • Public Indemnity Insurance - provides you with legal coverage for clients who make claims that suffered injuries or damages as a result of your negligent advice/services.

These types of insurance will cover you in the event a client is injured or suffers a muscle strain during a massage treatment or suffers an allergic reaction to a product.

Regardless of whether you work on a self-employed or contracted basis, investing in insurance is an absolute necessity. Failure to legally protect yourself can result in severe legal fines or even jail time!

To compare providers and find the best policy for your specific needs, check out our article on Sports Massage Therapist Insurance.


Become a Qualified Sports Massage Therapist with OriGym

Start your career today with our Level 3 Sports Massage Course!

Step 4: Market Your Sports Massage Therapist Business

how to become a sports massage therapist 4

If you’re looking to become a freelance or self-employed sports massage therapist, you will need a strong marketing strategy to make it a financially rewarding career:

  • Identifying your target audience
  • Building a strong social media presence
  • Implementing an effective marketing strategy
  • Using Google ads to promote your business
  • Develop a referral scheme to reward current clients to refer friends

These strategies will also help you attract clients that are looking for services that complement their fitness goals such as weight loss and building muscle.

It will also inform you how to retain clients and expand your customer base through attractive packages and reward schemes.

To learn more about how these marketing strategies can help you attract clients check out this blog.


Become a Qualified Sports Massage Therapist with OriGym

Start your career today with our Level 3 Sports Massage Course!

Step 5: Progress Your Sports Massage Therapist Career

how to become a sports massage therapist 6

After becoming qualified as a sports massage therapist, there are still opportunities to advance your career through further training. 

For example, you could choose to build on your existing knowledge with a Level 4 Sports Massage Qualification. Whilst enrolled on this course will learn how to develop your practice with advanced massage techniques. 

You will also learn how to identify and recognise symptoms and injuries in your clients, to ensure they receive the correct form of treatment. 

Other qualifications that can help you progress in your career include: 

  • Personal Training Diploma- As a qualified PT you will be able to cross-refer clients from one service to another. Creating bespoke workout programmes that help to facilitate their recovery and rehabilitation. 
  • Lower Back Management- Helps you specialise in treating lower back pain, allowing you to increase your earning potential when you offer this service in conjunction with your SMT services.

Ready To Kickstart Your Personal Training Career?

We are one of the UK’s most trusted educated providers in the health and fitness industry and are ready to assist your first step into an exciting new career!

Enquire about our Level 3 Sports Massage Course or learn about our other qualifications by downloading our FREE course prospectus.

Written by Alice Williams

Content Editor & Yoga Teacher

Alice graduated with a First-Class degree in French and Linguistics from the University of Leeds in 2019. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

Alice is also a qualifiied yoga teacher, allowing her write from a place of expertise when it comes to yoga!

When she’s not writing or practicing yoga, she also loves running, cooking and music! 

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