When we’re seeking a career in SMT, it’s absolutely essential we consider all the advantages of being a sports massage therapist, as well as how we can make the most of all the opportunities a career in fitness offers.
Before you can experience the advantages of being a sports massage therapist, though, your first step should be to qualify in the best way possible. OriGym’s sports massage therapy training is just the way to do this!
A great avenue for employment in both freelance and paid roles, you’ll learn all the essential skills you need to deliver sports massage therapies.and help clients relieve and prevent pain.
In this article, we will cover:
- Why Become a Sports Massage Therapist?
- 7 Advantages of Being a Sports Massage Therapist
- Career Prospects for a Sports Massage Therapist
- Disadvantages of Being a Sports Massage Therapist
- What Do I Need To Become a Sports Massage Therapist?
- Before You Go!
Why Become A Sports Massage Therapist?
Before we explore all the benefits of training as an SMT specialist, it’s important to look at why we’d choose to pursue a career in this industry.
Firstly, becoming a sports massage therapist is a great way to expand your skills, and your knowledge of health and fitness.
As you’ll be spending most of your time delivering sports massages, this is a hands-on role that’s as challenging as it is rewarding. While the roles of a sports massage therapist are hugely varied, the core ideas revolve around:
- Testing joints for pain and motion range
- Providing pre-event and post-event massages
- Advising on diet, lifestyle, and nutrition
- Conducting client fitness assessments
- Liaising with healthcare professionals, trainers, and coaches
Naturally, one of the biggest advantages of being a sports massage therapist is how rewarding it can be to help your clients, and the job satisfaction this can bring.
Furthermore, it’s a perfect addition to any existing fitness qualifications you have. If you’ve already completed a Level 3 Fitness Instructor Course or a specialist Level 4 Personal Trainer Course, it’s clear you have a passion for helping people better themselves.
You’ll be caring for the physical and mental states of clients, providing relief on their journey to recovery, as well as helping others prevent injuries before they occur.
If all of this is of interest to you, continue reading to find out more about the advantages of being a sports massage therapist!
7 Advantages of Being a Sports Massage Therapist
With a vast range of employment prospects, and high job satisfaction, the advantages of being a sports massage therapist are the reason it’s become a popular career choice for many in the health and fitness industry.
If you’re unsure whether this is a job for you, we’ve included 7 sports massage therapist advantages below to help you decide!
#1 - Flexible Working Hours
Perhaps one of the main sports massage therapist advantages is the amount of flexibility you have. For the most part, when you’ve started your own business, you can determine your own hours.
This is similar to many personal training career options, where you can either work contracted hours or on a freelance basis.
With freelancing, you’ll have the freedom to schedule in your appointments whenever is most convenient for you, as the role lacks the commitment of a typical 9 to 5.
However, while many sports massage therapists work part time on a freelance basis, there are also options for full-time work.
While most sports massage therapists are self-employed, typical full-time employers include:
- Health and fitness clubs
- Private health clinics
- Sports injury clinics
- Sports and leisure centres
- Professional or amateur sports teams and clubs
- Hotels, resorts and spas
- Further and higher education
- Sports science support
- The NHS
This flexibility isn’t just limited to working hours either. If you work on a freelance basis, you can decide whether to travel to clients or have them come to you.
Working this way allows you to pick and choose your hours, meaning appointments or sessions can be rescheduled if important events come up in your calendar.
#2 - Huge Choice Of Work Environment
Not only will you have unmatched choice over the hours you work, but becoming a sports massage therapist also gives you the opportunity to choose your work environment.
Depending on whether you choose to be your own boss, or work for a company, you can decide whether to work from a:
- Doctor’s office
- At home
You aren’t necessarily restricted to one facility or area, either, unlike in other professions. This gives you the freedom to change your place of work if you become tired of a particular area, without having to undertake a drastic career change.
Other alternative places of work include:
#1 - Exotic Places
Another advantage of being a sports massage therapist is that it gives you the opportunity to look for work in more exotic places. In many countries (such as Thailand, Bali, and Singapore) massages are a part of daily life. Many of these clinics are also open until late too.
#2 - Hotels
Hotel chains are often on the lookout for licensed massage therapists too. While this isn’t specifically sports massage therapy, it’s still something to consider if you’d like to change your area of expertise.
#3 - Cruise Ships
Another option is to find work on a cruise ship. This allows you to work while travelling, and many positions will also include accommodation and food as part of your role.
We’ve sourced this example to give you a clearer idea of what’s included, should you decide to experience the advantages of being a sports massage therapist on a cruise ship.
Websites such as All Cruise Jobs have plenty of advertisements work work related to sports massage therapy:
#3 - Always In Demand
There are many opportunities for employment as a sports massage therapist. A sports masseuse has varied job prospects such as working with professional athletes, and in spas, beauty salons, nursing homes, and hotels.
There’s a variety of places you can work and because it’s such a highly sought after qualification, there’s usually quite a lot of job ads out there.
Your sports massage qualification means you’re able to deal with rehabilitation, stress management, relaxation, and pain management, which in turn means you aren’t limited in terms of employment opportunities.
Working as a freelancer ensures you’re able to work with people who need rehabilitation or recovery. This is a characteristic that means you’ll quickly attract plenty of business as you gain more experience in the industry.
Many businesses also require you to have at least one year of experience in sports massage. Take this advertisement as a great example of what you can expect from an average job listing.
Even if this experience is listed as a ‘desirable’ quality, it’s likely they will still expect you to have it. We’d recommend taking the time to build your experience up so you can move onto more lucrative work if your goal is to have contracted hours.
This is why it may be a good idea to find your own clients first to gain some experience before applying for other companies.
#4 - Expand Your Skill Set
While you may currently be interested in working as a sports massage therapist, there are plenty of skills you can learn within the massage industry, meaning you aren’t limited to just one area of it.
You can go from sports massage therapy and develop your skills in other areas of massage such as:
- Swedish massages
- Deep tissue massages
- Hot stone massages
- Pregnancy massages
The more strings you add to your bow, the more clients you can appeal to and continue to grow your business. This is a great sports massage therapist advantage as there is always something new to learn and continue expanding your opportunities.
This also allows you to expand on the skills you may use in your current role. For example, if you’re already a personal trainer, you can expand upon that skillset and utilise sports massage therapy training to expand your services.
By doing this, you can essentially ‘double’ your client pool. This means you can train clients as a personal trainer and then treat them if they sustain any injuries.
Or, if you’re working as a sports massage therapist, you can refer those clients to your personal training services if they’re specifically looking to improve their overall physical fitness.
#5 - Job Satisfaction
One of the best sports massage therapist advantages is that it can be a relaxing field to work in. The environment is usually quite relaxed, and massages can either be conducted in silence, to gentle music, or you can chat with clients.
This acts as stress relief for both you and the client. Being able to conduct your work in a peaceful environment is great for you mentally, plus it makes clients much more receptive to your treatments.
Although it will still be a job, you may find it a nice break from other careers as it gives you time to relax and converse with people. Talking with clients can help them feel at ease in a somewhat awkward situation.
It makes them more comfortable with your treatments and you’ll also be able to promote any other services you offer such as personal training or yoga.
Clients may be more willing to accept your services if you guide them through the process as you’re talking, rather than feeling pressured into it after an intense training session.
It’s also a good idea to build your connections and get to know other sports massage therapists in your area. Not only is this great for reciprocal marketing, but you can gain new ideas and tips through regular communication with those in your industry.
Sports massage therapists usually receive immediate feedback from clients. Unlike most other healthcare professions, you’ll provide clients with immediate relief from their symptoms, more than what they’d get from simple shoulder stretches or stretches for back pain.
The bottom line is you’ll feel satisfied from doing your job. Rehabilitating clients and helping them recover after injury is rewarding.
While your help with their injury may seem small, it’s the final step to getting clients back on track and helping with this will make you feel great.
#6 - Work As Your Own Boss
Many people desire to be self-employed. While it can be hard work in the beginning, by using successful marketing strategies and appealing to the right people, your earnings could soar!
One of the main advantages of being a sports massage therapist is the ability to work on a self-employed basis. This means you’re entirely responsible for:
- Establishing the hours you work
- The location of your work
- The capacity you work in
- Scheduling appointments
- Organising your finances
When you qualify as a sports massage therapist, you can begin making money right away. You can start looking for potential clients to offer your services too.
If you’re starting your own business, you will have to purchase your own equipment. However, starting your own sports massage therapy business can be achieved without having to spend a fortune on lots of different equipment.
Some basic equipment you will have to invest in is:
- Massage bed (ensure this is portable if you’re planning to bring your services to clients)
- Massage mediums (oils, creams, and lotions)
- Massage ball rollers
- Couch cover
- Carry case
You also have the freedom to wear your own clothing. Comfortable and unrestrictive clothes are best for this work, but you might also choose to invest in branded fitness gear to better represent the brand you’re aiming to build.
Other, often overlooked pieces of equipment you will need are:
- A phone
- Reliable transportation if you’re planning on travelling to clients.
- A computer to run your business on.
These are integral to providing a service clients will want to return to, as well as one that they’ll recommend to friends.
#7 - A Lucrative Career
As we’ll discuss below, one of the biggest advantages of being a sports massage therapist is that it can also be a rewarding career financially. According to Payscale, the average hourly pay for a sports massage therapist is €10.92.
This means if you’re self-employed and just starting out, you can determine your own prices and charge anywhere between €10 and €15 an hour for your services.
Once you begin building your service and gain more clients, you can increase your prices to reflect this. If more clients are referred to you, you can charge on the higher end of the price spectrum which according to Payscale is €18.22.
The ability to find clients and determine your pay means there is greater opportunity for you to earn a nice income. You can take on as many clients as you want, but be aware not to overstretch yourself.
Location is also a factor in how much you should charge for your services. Sports massage therapists who work in cities will charge more than those in more rural areas.
They’ll likely charge more because it’s much more expensive to rent space or own a clinic in London as opposed to anywhere else in the country.
Sports massage therapy is ideal when it’s done in tandem with other fitness-related careers like personal training or yoga instructing. This can help you gain more client leads and ultimately more revenue.
However, while the money may be nice, don’t let this blind you to the point where you can’t keep track of appointments and double book potential clients. You want your service to be reliable, so always ensure the smooth running of your business takes priority over the pound signs.
Enquire to become a Sports Massage Therapist Start a new and exciting career as a Sports Massage Therapist today!
Enquire to become a Sports Massage Therapist
Start a new and exciting career as a Sports Massage Therapist today!
Still interested in becoming a sports massage therapist? Here’s some articles you might want to look at:
- A Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer
- Being a Personal Trainer: Pros and Cons
- How To Use Google My Business As A Personal Trainer
Career Prospects for a Sports Massage Therapist
Most sports massage therapists take a portfolio approach to building their career and often enhance their income with other part-time work. Gaining experience doesn't mean you just have to become a self-employed sports massage therapist, there are other career options out there for you to pursue too!
#1 - Personal Trainer
After gaining a Level 4 Sports Massage qualification, you may decide to become a personal trainer to compliment your services. You can go on to complete a Level 3 Fitness Instructor Course and then progress onto a Level 4 Personal Trainer Course.
You can also complete a Personal Trainer Diploma and become qualified this way.
By doing this, you may gain clients through both areas of your work. You can offer personal training services to your sports massage therapy clients and vice versa. This means you could prevent injuries from occurring while also helping people train again once they've recovered.
According to Payscale, the average hourly pay for a personal trainer is €12.94.
With more experience and clients, a personal trainer salary can increase as you can charge more for your services if you're freelance or self-employed.
#2 - Working for a Professional Sports Team
You may find you want to work for a professional sports team, providing relief to football clubs, rugby teams, and cricket clubs. Sports massage therapists play an important role in preventing, treating, assessing, and rehabilitating sports injuries.
Through your rehabilitation plan, the main goal would be to help an athlete return to their optimum fitness level in the shortest and safest time possible.
However, some sport teams may require you to have a BSc Sports Therapy Degree, rather than just a qualification in sports massage therapy.
The Football Medicine and Performance Association (FMPA), the organisation that represents medicine and performance practitioners working within football, lists some essential and desirable qualifications for those wanting to become sports therapists for football teams:
As you can see below, you can be a sports massage therapist for different sports teams. However, salaries vary depending on the role, what teams you are working with and whether you have experience.
It's likely these kinds of positions would be ones you would need to work your way up to so this is why gaining experience in other areas is important.
#3 - Education
You may find that even teaching can be a career prospect for you. This could be in higher education or you could even become a lecturer.
If this is the career path you would like to go down, it would mean returning to education and graduating with a degree in sport therapy.
For example, take a look at this job advertisement for a lecturer in sports therapy from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan):
As this is more of a vocational course, it doesn't specify you need a PhD to apply. However, you do require a teaching qualification or must be willing to undertake one. You should also be currently practicing as a Sports Therapist in the industry.
Prospects provides some questions and answers from Emily Davies, a sports therapy graduate working as a part-time sports therapy lecturer. To gain experience, she secured a placement with Bournemouth Rugby Club which helped her secure contacts.
She hopes to complete a Masters in Physiotherapy to work in a hospital setting with patients, highlighting the range of career options avaliable to graduates within this industry.
#4 - Exercise Referral Specialist
Exercise referral specialists are those who are qualified to create tailored fitness programmes for anyone suffering with a chronic illness or physical condition.
Exercise referral specialists usually acquire clients through referrals from GPs, private doctors, NHS professionals, and medical practitioners.
Disadvantages of Being a Sports Massage Therapist
Every job has potential disadvantages, and being a sports massage therapist is no different. When considering a career, it’s good to get the full scope and understand what exactly you’re getting yourself into.
#1 - Hours Can Be Limited
Although we mentioned above how not working a typical 9 to 5 was one of the advantages of being a sports massage therapist, it also means your hours can be less consistent.
As many sports massage therapists work part-time, they may be forced to schedule their appointments for the weekends and evenings if clients are working during the day. This can make it difficult to obtain a steady income solely from sports massage therapy.
If you’re self-employed, you may be at the mercy of your clients if they can’t use your services in the middle of the day. This can be difficult if you have a full time job but also need to spend time working on the weekends.
Even if you have free time at various points of the day where clients could have appointments, it’s pointless for you if they have other obligations.
It’s important to give yourself enough time to relax and engage in activities outside of work. While there are many great mental benefits of exercise, you may want to try things away from health and fitness.
You must also be sure to organise your schedule effectively so you don’t overload yourself with appointments or double book yourself. All this will lead to unnecessary stress, and can begin to look unprofessional on your part if you keep missing appointments or rescheduling.
#2 - Clients May Complain
One of the disadvantages of being a sports massage therapist you should be prepared for is the unrealistic expectations of certain clients.
Those who don’t use sports massage therapy regularly, often believe it will cure them entirely of pain and discomfort, or have an instant benefit on their health.
Some people use sports massage therapists as a last resort after exhausting every other option to alleviate years of physical pain. They may complain about their issues if they still occur after visiting you, expecting the problem to be solved after one session.
The best thing to do is explain during their first session how sports massage therapy works and how it can help them. Remind them how it isn’t a cure, but a way to alleviate tension, and provide relief from chronic pain.
You’ll probably experience upset or frustrated clients from time to time and this is understandable. People who are suffering from injuries will naturally feel irritated and it can be hard to please everyone.
The most important thing to remember in difficult situations is to remain calm and diffuse the situation as best you can. If you’ve done your job correctly, it’s unlikely their frustrations will be a reflection of your work.
#3 - Tough On Your Body
While this may not be the most serious disadvantage of being a sports massage therapist in this list, it’s still worth mentioning. Of course, there is more challenging work in the fitness industry but this doesn’t mean that sports massage therapy isn’t taxing.
Something to keep in mind is that, if you’re working with multiple clients a day, you’ll spend most of your time standing up, repeating the same hand motions. Some clients will need more vigorous muscle work than others, which requires a lot of strength.
Providing massages can take a physical toll on your body and may lead to burn out. Common injuries to your hands include arthritis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
As you’ll be leaning over a massage table for extended periods of time, it can also be tough on your back. The best way to avoid burning out or injuring yourself too quickly is to avoid scheduling too many appointments in one day.
Take time to relax between sessions to keep your body and mind working efficiently. You could try experiencing the benefits of meditation, or other mindfulness practices to help keep you calm and focused.
What Do I Need To Become a Sports Massage Therapist?
The first thing you need to do before experiencing all the advantages of being a sports massage therapist is to get qualified! To do this, you will need to complete a Level 4 qualification in Sports Massage Therapy.
As this is an entry-level course, you don’t need any previous education, experience, or qualifications to enrol. However, if you’re already qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer, or have completed a Level 3 Gym Instructor Course, you’ll have an advantage.
This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be a better sports massage therapist as someone who isn’t already qualified, but you will already be familiar with some of the content that will be covered on the course.
Having studied these fitness courses means you’ll already have a grasp of subjects like anatomy and physiology, which are also components of the sports massage therapy course.
A great addition to the sports massage therapy course is a taping anf strapping course. It provides more information on how best to provide for clients as well as more tailored details on posture and improving athletic performance.
When choosing a course provider to complete your studies with, you should ensure your sports massage therapy course is regulated by an awarding body approved by Ofqual, such as Active IQ and Focus Awards.
If a course has this regulation, it means it has met industry standards as a ‘Level 3’ course.
You should also ensure the course you choose is accredited by CIMSPA, the UK’s professional body for health and fitness. This ‘stamp of approval’ means the course you are taking is reliable and meets fitness industry standards.
Enquire to become a Sports Massage Therapist Start a new and exciting career as a Sports Massage Therapist today!
Enquire to become a Sports Massage Therapist
Start a new and exciting career as a Sports Massage Therapist today!
What skills do I need to be a sports massage therapist?
If you want to become a sports massage therapist, it’s important to understand what skills and qualities you need to be successful.
Depending on your career or previous experience, if you have the skills of a personal trainer, it’s likely you already have the skills necessary to be a successful sports massage therapist.
Some basic qualities you should possess as a sports massage therapist include:
- Great communication
- Empathy and understanding
- Good hygiene and appearance
If you’re entering the fitness industry, these are qualities you should already possess, so it’s important to continue practicing them to ensure success as a sports massage therapist.
While they may seem like simple skills, you shouldn’t underestimate their importance. As you’re working in close contact with clients, you must always be respectful of them and ensure you present yourself well.
Making clients feel uncomfortable and presenting yourself well is crucial to have people return. The last thing you want is word getting out that you’re unprofessional as this will negatively impact your business.
Before You Go!
Now you’re caught up with the advantages of being a sports massage therapist, it’s time to decide if this is the career for you! While it’s always best to be aware of the disadvantages of any profession, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives with this career path.
If you’d like to see what other career paths OriGym has on offer, you can check them out on our personal trainer courses page here.
However, if you’d still like to experience the advantages of being a sports massage therapist, get started today with our Level 4 Sports Massage Therapy!