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Sports Massage Salary Industry Facts (2020)

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Are you thinking about a career in sports massage therapy either via an employed basis or setting up your own freelance business, but want to know what is the average sports massage salary (UK) before making the commitment to getting started?

If yes this is the article for you…..

In our extensive guide, we cover: 

  1. What is the average salary for a sports massage therapist
  2. Who employs sports massage therapist and how much they pay
  3. How can you earn more money as a sports massage therapist?
  4. The different routes available to becoming a sports massage therapist
  5. What makes a successful sports massage therapist
  6. The qualifications you need to get started in the industry

 Let’s jump right in….

 

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What is the Average Salary of a Sports Massage Therapist?

According to payscale the average hourly wage for a sports massage therapist is £20 with a National average of £33,000 per annum, so not too shabby at all.

sports massage therapist hourly wage graphic

That being said, what to focus on is that is the average sports massage salary and it can widely vary from both employer to employer like most jobs and takes into consideration those whom have set-up highly successful practices and are freelance business owners. 

With this in mind you can find some sports massage therapists salary’s in excess of six figures and others where the hourly wage is just above National minimum, although this is normally for trainee roles whilst undertaking qualifications or for very recent graduates.

What Avenues can you explore as a qualified sports massage therapist and how can that affect your sports massage salary?

There are lots of avenues you can divulge into as a qualified sports massage therapist including: 

  • Employed – Part time and full time
  • Contracted Hours
  • Freelance
  • Setting up your own clinic

You can also combine routes by working hours at a clinic for example on a contracted basis but also running a freelance sports massage business outside of those hours for extra income. 

OriGym conducted a survey of over 300 sports massage therapy graduates using Survey Monkey to see what route to market people opted for a year after qualifying:

sports massage therapist hourly wage pie chart

This shows that most people opt for a freelance based position either to launch their own business within a clinic or start their own. This could be due to that sports massage can be a very good complimentary career path to other similar ones such as physiotherapy and careers in personal training

We will cover later in this article, how you can combine similar career paths to increasing your sports massage earnings with other similar disciplines. 

These all come with different sports massage salary pay rates and have different ways that you can earn as a qualified therapist.

We will break these avenues down in the next section, so you can see what sports massage role is best for you….

Who hires a Sports Massage Therapist & What do they pay? 

There are many different employers that hire sports massage therapists on both freelance, contacted and employed sports therapist’s salaries. We surveyed further those sports massage graduates whom took an employed or contracted route to which type of company they currently worked for. Here is what we found:

 

Sports massage salary pie chart

A whopping 65% of sports massage graduates ended up working for a clinic, whilst only a combined 2% worked for an insurance or event company.

This could be due to a couple of factors....

Firstly, there are thousands of clinics across the UK by contrast to insurance and event companies, making these job types far more visible. Secondly, this could be due to that most people are unaware that event and insurance companies even hire sports massage therapists. Lastly, many clinics offer more hours to be covered at more convenient times providing more stability to sports massage therapists.

Here is a breakdown of sports massage therapy earnings and salaries you will typically find at different institutions:

  • Gyms – Select gyms hire sport massage therapists on both freelance and full-time basis. This is role is largely found in larger, more prestigious health club chains that want to offer their member base more value within their membership than what you can find at traditional gyms. Gyms also frequently have space or room hire available where you could set-up a freelance business with rent pricing typically being around £400 – £600 per month.

  • Insurance and Private Medical Care Companies – Insurance companies hire both personal trainer and sports massage therapists which they deploy as part of their insurance programme to help with client’s rehabilitation. Insurance companies tend to hire on contracted basis for a set period of hours between and comes with a sports massage pay of £25 to £35 per hour.

  • Event Companies – Ever done a Total Warrior or Tough Mudder before? Quite often you will warm up with a personal trainer, complete the race and some events offer post-race sports massages to competitors. These are normally contracted positions but can pay a sports massage hourly rate of £30 - £40 per hour.

  • Sports Clubs – Both professional and amateur sporting clubs such as football clubs, cricket, rugby and more all need high quality sports massage therapists for post-match rub downs and for players with injuries and undergoing rehabilitation. Professional tend to pay sports massage therapist salary (UK) on a full-time employment basis and depending on the club can pay up to £40,000 per annum. 

  • Injury Rehabilitation & Sports Therapy Clinics – One of the most common employers on full time, part time and contacted hours is clinics that specialise in rehabilitation or sports therapy. Most clinics are independent institutions as opposed to National chains and hire therapists on full time, part time, contracted and freelance basis. Sports medicine massage therapy salary on a full-time basis is typically between 25k and 35k per annum.

  • Spas and Wellness Centres – Spas are now broadening their remits from beauty, relaxation and Swedish massages into offering sports massage which has created demand for qualified therapists across the UK.

  

What Hours would I expect to work as a Sports Massage Therapist & What are the Pros and Cons?

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Sports massage therapy hours will vary vastly from institution to institution and mainly comes down to the employment structure route you decide to pursue. 

Freelance Hours

When going freelance you will need to work around your client’s schedules which predominately will involve early mornings, evenings and weekends as your clients will tend to work commercial hours. With going freelance the amount you work will directly impact your sports massage therapy salary (UK) and you will get out the effort you put in. 

Benefits:

  • Choose the hours you want to work
  • Take holidays as often and when you choose
  • Unlimited earning potential
  • Choose your own sports massage therapy hourly wage
  • Become your own boss

Cons

  • You have to source your own clients
  • Be responsible for all marketing and administration
  • Can take time to build up your client base

 

Contracted Hours

The average contracted hours for a clinic for is 20 hours per week, but of course this fluctuates from as little as 4 hours per week through to 30 hours per week.

Benefits

  • Allows you time to build your own freelance business on the side
  • Provides a good level of income to running cover costs of starting your own business and general living.
  • Options to increase contracted hours can be available 

Cons

  • Can work anti-social hours to fill gaps in schedules
  • Limited number of hours available
  • Due to limited hours, comes with limited holiday and sick pay entitlements. 

Employed Hours

According to Prospects the average full time employed position offers 37 hours per week. The structure of those hours tends to fluctuate depending on the clinic you work, from your standard 9-5 work but others having shift work or hours starting very early or finishing very late. 

Benefits

  • Earn a stable, annual sports massage salary
  • Clients are generally sourced for you
  • No homework with setting up advertisement, marketing or admin
  • Holiday and sick pay
  • Work with other like-minded therapists

Cons

  • Capped earning potential
  • Working set hours

 

Sports Massage Salary as a Freelance Therapist or Business Owner

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Your sports massage therapy salary will vary as a freelancer based on how much you charge, your business and marketing nous as well as many other variables that influence how much you will earn. 

That being said, highly successful freelance sports massage therapists can earn in excess of £100k per year and above. This is achieved in the same way you would any business, having a big client base and a high hourly rate, normally built up over time.

Sports Massage is also a qualification that fits in really well with other relatable health related qualifications and careers that you can harness to maximise your earnings as a freelance trainer. Here are some routes that the qualification blends in well with:

 

  • Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy requires a degree, but many physios are also qualified in sports massage therapy or offer it as a service within their clinics. This is because it’s from the same ilk, injury rehabilitation and means you can offer more services to generate more income. 

  • Sports Massage Tutor – Once obtaining your course, you could explore becoming a sports massage tutor to teach the next generation of sports masseurs. Most work available is freelance with an average sports massage career salary of £150 per day of teaching or assessing at Universities, Colleges and Training Providers.

  • Sports Coaching - Sport coaching in every discipline requires massage therapists, whether that being football, hockey, rugby or horse riding. Every athlete will encounter muscular strains and tissue damage, therefore there is a ready market to expand your business and increase your sports massage salary.

  • Personal Training – Probably the most common career path to run alongside sports massage is becoming a personal trainer. This is because the similarities in how you earn are very similar and also due to the type of clients you will attract that would buy sports massage sessions are frequently the same as personal training. You can find out more here on salaries of fitness professionals

Read on for a case study of how a OriGym sports massage graduate Nicola Brown started her freelance sports massage business with her qualification in PT to generate a thriving business….

 

Nicola Brown – Founder of NBPT & SMT (Nicola Brown Personal Training & Sports Massage Therapy)

Nicola Brown sports massage testimonial image

 “I qualified from OriGym back in 2016 with both my Personal training diploma and sports massage qualification. I initially decided to work as a freelance trainer at a gym and doing 20 hours per week paid at a local sports injury rehabilitation centre.  As both my PT business grew, I realised I could offer sports massage to my clients for when they got injured and it gave me a great USP over other trainers in the gym so I rented out a room in my local Nuffield Health and stopped doing contracted work for the clinic. After time I was getting referrals to my sports massage from other gym staff members, other PTs and from general adverts round the gym. I even managed to convert a high percentage of them into PT clients after their rehab. I now have a full diary with a packed schedule of both PT and sports massage clients which makes my days varied and I get to plan my weeks around my time”.

Nicola is a prime example of how you can build your sports massage business from scratch and combine it with another relatable routes to maximise your freelance sports massage salary.

 

How to qualify to start a career in sports massage therapy?

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The starting point to starting a career in sports massage therapy is to get qualified through an accredited qualification.

The Level 3 in sports massage therapy is the entry qualification to becoming a certified sports massage therapist. You need to ensure the course you purchase is REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals and CIMSPA (Chartered Institute of Management of Sport and Physical Activity) – that’s a mouthful!

You can quickly recognise providers that have these accreditations by their logo stamps on their website, which look like this:

Once you have found a provider that offers both REPs and CIMSPA approved SMT qualifications, you then need to evaluate a number of factors to ensure that the course is right for you. Here is a quick checklist of what to review before deciding who to get your sports massage qualification from:

  • Study Method – Is it online, part time, full time, does it work against your schedule
  • Location – Do they have a venue for workshops and assessments near your vicinity
  • Reviews – Check out what past students have said on neutral platforms like Trustpilot
  • Age of the Company – Do they have a proven track record over a sustained period of time of delivering excellence
  • Post Course Support- Do they help you post course with getting you with interviews and business advice, so you can achieve those high sports massage therapy salaries.
  • Learning Resources – How will you be studying the course, via online, self-study, classroom only. You need to ensure it matches how you learn best.
  • Tutor Support – How much help and support will you get? Is that support face to face, phone or just email?
  • Price – Are you getting good value for money based on the above factors.
  • Small Print – Check the small print for extra charges such as exam fees, admin fees, certification fees, re-sits costs, expiration costs.

Where to find Sports Massage Jobs?

where to find a sports massage job image

If you want to find a role with a high sports massage therapy hourly wage you need to be looking in the right place! 

Most generic sites will have listings for jobs, but at times it can be like finding a needle in the haystack as they are sites for every industry with tens of thousands of unrelated jobs.

Here is a breakdown of the best leisure specific sites that you can register your CV with that have sport specific roles advertised:

LeisureJobs

Leisure Opportunities

UK Sport

Active Careers

Health Club Management

Flow Sports

What skills are needed to become a Sports Massage Therapist?

sports massage jobs image

Hopefully you have got a good grip of who hires therapists and what sports massage salary to expect, but do you match up to the required skills expected to become successful?

Take a look below at the essential skills you need to become a sports massage therapist:

  • Empathy and sensitivity to client’s position and condition
  • Communication with clients, physician’s doctors and other therapists
  • Initiative to work off your own accord and diagnose injuries
  • Problem solving to find the right therapy for your client’s injury
  • Risk management and health and safety awareness to minimise any complications with injury and rehabilitation for your clients.
  • Hardworking – Like any job, an employer wants individuals that are prepared to work hard and be diligent. 

If you’re planning on going down the freelance route, you will also need or be willing to work on your knowledge of business, marketing, admin and networking.

Find out more on how to become a sports massage therapist through our sports massage qualification guide.

 

Enquire to Sports Massage Therapist

Enquire below on OriGym's Accredited Sports Massage Qualification

 

Conclusion:

Becoming a sports massage therapist has many different avenues for you to explore and the avenue you pick will determine your sports massage therapist hourly rate and salary. If you're keen on finding out more on starting a career in sports massage, download our latest prospectus here to learn more or if you fancy bolstering your CV further, check out our Personal Training and Nutrition courses.

Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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