Sports therapist

Sport and leisure
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help people to take part in professional sport safely and effectively. You’d help them overcome injuries and get back to top performance.

You would help sports professionals prepare for training and competitions so they will be able to do their best.

You’d work with the athletes to prevent injuries, using techniques such as:

  • Testing their fitness levels
  • Doing exercises to strengthen muscles
  • Checking they do an effective warm-up
  • Improving their cool-down routine after exercise

You’d help your clients understand more about their body and how to look after it so they can meet the demands of their sport.

If one of the sportsmen or women you work with is injured you’d work with them on a rehabilitation programme to safely get them back up to optimum fitness.

You would:

  • Suggest specific exercises for the person
  • Do sports massage
  • Manipulate and move their muscles and joints
  • Use physiotherapy techniques
  • Schedule sessions of hydrotherapy, or sessions in a sauna or steam room
  • Refer them to a physiotherapist or doctor for specialist treatment.

It would be important to encourage them to continue with their treatment even when they may be frustrated about the progress of their recovery or anxious about their career.

Sometimes you might be required to give first aid to sportsmen and women on the spot at matches and events.

You’d work closely with coaches, physiotherapists and sports scientists.

Working conditions

Hours

You may have to work in the evenings or at weekends to suit your clients. You may also have to go to matches and other events at the weekend.

Environment

Some exercises would involve working outside with your clients. You may also have to attend outdoor events.

Travel

You may have to travel to competitions anywhere in the country or overseas.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Explaining things
  • Caring for people
  • Being tactful
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit
  • Coping with pressure

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications for this role. Many sports therapists have an HND (SCQF Level 8), a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) or a postgraduate qualification (SCQF Level 11) in subjects like:

  • Sports development
  • Sports science
  • Physiotherapy

Another route is through an osteopathic or chiropractic qualification.

You would complete a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) or postgraduate qualification (SCQF Level 11) accredited by the Society of Sports Therapists.

Only qualified physiotherapists can work as sports therapists with the National Health Service (NHS).

You can enter a Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11), you will require a degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects (required by most courses)
  • Physical education
  • Health & food technologies
  • Social studies such as psychology

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate understanding of sports, exercise and diet such as Sports Leaders UK Award or Skills for Work Sports & Recreation (SCQF level 4/5).