Project Description


BTEC Clinical Sports & Remedial Massage Course Level 5

(Including the foundation level 3 diploma)

Students wishing to complete the full level 5 qualification, with no prior experience or qualification in sports massage would complete the level 3 diploma first.

Students already holding a sports massage qualification at Level 3 or above may join the level 5 bridging programme.

Please note that as from January 1st 2021, all students enrolled on this course are now required to study an additional, compulsory unit, in order to achieve their massage diploma qualification. 

Please see Course Structure by following the foundation level 3 diploma link above – this is applicable to the Level 3 ITEC awarded part of the programme.

Fancy a new career in Clinical Sport & Remedial Massage?

The School of Natural Therapies provides advanced sports and remedial massage training with our popular two-step programme, leading to a BTEC Level 5 Diploma in Clinical Sport and Remedial Massage. Enrolling on this BTEC course provides an opportunity for complete beginners to train to Level 5 standard, one of the highest in the UK, with our unique 2-step programme.

Successful candidates will also become members of the prestigious Institute of Sport and Remedial Massage (ISRM)

On successful completion of the full level 5 programme, students will receive the following three certificates:

  • A BTEC Level 5 Diploma in Clinical Sport & Remedial Massage
  • An intermediate ITEC Level 3 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy – Level 3, whilst studying to BTEC Level 5.
  • A certificate from the of School of Natural Therapies (SNT) which will state – ‘Level 5 Clinical and Remedial Sports Massage Diploma’

The School of Natural Therapies Level 5 Diploma in Clinical Sport & Remedial MassageCourse is open to learners who have already completed our ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy, or the equivalent from another school or learning establishment.

If you are unsure whether your current qualification meets our entry criteria for level 5, please click here

For beginners wishing to progress to level 5, our programme consists of practical and theoretical study, beginning with our ITEC Level 3 Qualification, (unless already qualified to level 3 or 4) leading to a further period of study to progress to Level 5.

The FULL level 5  course structure is as follows:

  • ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy – which takes place over approximately 3 months, followed by a theory and practical exam.On successful completion of the Level 3 diploma above – a further period of 6 weekends (one weekend per month) must be completed in order to qualify at Level 5.
  • The final Level 5 exam consists of a written theory exam, practical assessment + 3 detailed case studies.
  • A Portfolio of home case studies is also required – full details will be provided on application.

The advantages of studying a 2-step programme such as this are:

  • It allows beginners, without previous massage experience, but seeking future employment within this area of healthcare, to join the programme and work towards a level 5 qualification whilst practising professionally at level 3 with paying clients (professional insurance can be purchased once qualified at level 3)
  • It allows qualifying students to build a successful sports massage practise earlier, or to seek employment, perhaps in the sport & leisure industry.
  • Whilst actually working and building a client base, learners may continue to focus on the development of level 5 functional skills and upgrade their qualification to this standard, by continuing with their studies.
  • Students may take a study break, or stop at level 3 if they desire and re-join the bridging programme at a later date, in order to achieve a level 5 qualification through BTEC.

About the Level 5 qualification

This qualification benchmarks not only the highest quality standards, but also the highest qualification available for the Clinical Sports & Remedial Massage Industry in the UK today. Edexcel/BTEC (who are the national awarding body for vocational training) and ITEC (International Therapists Examination Council), who are an International Awarding Organisation in areas such as Complementary Therapy and Sports & Fitness are the awarding bodies.

Developing the skills necessary to become an accomplished and advanced practitioner takes time and practice to learn and assimilate. Remember that once qualified, you may well find yourself working alongside other healthcare professionals, such as Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and similar. Therefore, we do not advocate fast-track training when working to these standards.

The main objectives of our full program, is to provide successful candidates with the skills needed to:

  • Assess Musco-skeletal and soft tissue injuries and disorders
  • Select the most appropriate remedial massage and sports massage methods in order to treat the injury or dysfunction
  • Very importantly, to provide advice, guidance and rehabilitation procedures to assist with on-going healing and prevent injury in the future. Not just for sports men and women, but for the public at large.

After qualifying

On successful completion of the programme, the skills learned on the course will enable graduates to work not only within the sport and leisure industry, but also to work with other client bases unrelated to sports injuries; for example work and occupational musco-skeletal and soft tissue injuries. Therefore, it is worth noting that the skills gained on this programme can be applied to a variety of medical conditions as well.

It is also worth noting that we are validated as a school, by the Institute of Sport and Remedial Massage (ISRM)who have overseen this level of training for a number of years and have achieved much within the remedial massage industry, to establish what is now a recognised field in modern healthcare.

Course Structure

Level 3 & Level 5 Program Content

Initial Level 3 Syllabus 

Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy

This course will be examined by a visiting ITEC examiner and successful students will achieve a Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy at Level 3 initially

Additional Information

  • Level 3 is equivalent to NVQ 3, Advanced GNVQ, BTEC National and AS/A Level
  • Some home study and case studies are required away from the classroom.
  • The course will take place over four months, spread over seven study weekends and one revision weekend. You can expect to study therefore around two weekends per month – see dates for this course above and on the right hand side of this page.
  • Exemptions to this part of the course may be given for those holding a prior qualification in sports massage at Level 3 or 4 – we will need to see proof of qualification and it must be a UK recognised diploma (see first bullet point above)

The Level 3 course consists of five units, (numbered 451 to 455) as follows:

iUSP160 – Functional Anatomy & Physiology for Sports Massage
Students will learn how to understand the structural organisation of the human body, in relation to sports massage application; these areas include:-

  • Human cells and tissues
  • The structure and function of the Skin
  • The structure and function of the Skeletal system, including joints and categories of joints, ligaments and tendons
  • The structure and function of the Muscular System and the location and function of relevant muscles in the body
  • The structure and function of the Nervous System
  • The structure and function of the Endocrine System
  • The structure and function of the Cardio-vascular system
  • The structure and function of the Lymphatic System
  • The structure and function of the Respiratory system
  • The structure and function of the Digestive System
  • The structure and function of the Urinary System

This unit will be assessed by an externally set multiple choice question paper (25 questions) on exam day.

iUSP174 – Principles of Health & Fitness.
Students will be able to understand the following –

  • The benefits of an active healthy lifestyle
  • The effects of exercise on the body
  • The components of fitness
  • The principles of training
  • Nutrition – the role of micro/macro nutrients, hydration and healthy eating and how this relates to growth, repair and injury.

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

iUSP150 – Professional Practice in Sports Massage
To include-

  • Sports Massage Legislation
  • Scope of practice in the sports massage industry, including awareness and understanding of caution, contra-indications and interface with other professionals and therapists.
  • Professional Standards and regulations, pertinent to the industry
  • Legal obligations, legislation and client record keeping

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

iUSP181 – Understanding the Principles of  *Soft Tissue Dysfunction
*Soft tissue is an anatomical term to categorise the tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body, other than bone. This includes tendons, ligaments and muscle fascia, amongst other tissue and is relevant therefore to the sports massage industry. Learners will therefore understand –

  • Soft Tissue Dysfunction and the process of repair of this tissue, including causes and types of injury and damage.

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

iUSP178 – Applying Sports Massage Treatment
Learners will gain the knowledge, theory and skills to understand and apply –

  • The history, origins and development of sports massage
  • Sports massage techniques* and tools and apply them as sports massage treatments
  • Equipment and its adaptation/modification in relation to different environments and events.
  • Identifying contra-indications and contra-actions before, during and after massage treatment
  • Assessing and screening clients for sports massage treatments
  • Consultation and client assessment recording methods
  • Devising a suitable massage strategy for each client and their specific needs/requirements and carrying out an effective and safe treatment.
  • Develop and ensure good posture whilst working and making effective use of massage equipment, including massage couch, oils and massage mediums.
  • Working to good professional standards of practice, ensuring that hygiene and sterilisation is observed at all times.
  • Monitoring client communication and feedback.
  • Evaluating the outcomes and effectiveness of the massage strategy and treatment in every case.
  • Post massage analysis and aftercare advice and guidance.

Techniques will include :

  • Effleurage
  • Petrissage
  • Friction
  • Tapotement
  • Vibration
  • Neuro-Muscular Technique (NMT)
  • Pre/Post/Inter-Event Massage
  • Other specific sports massage techniques

Successful students may then continue their study program to Level 5 Clinical Sport & Remedial Massage by undertaking the following program:

BTEC Level 5 Program

This comprises of a six study weekends, one weekend per month, culminating in an examination weekend (an additional 7th weekend), consisting of:

  • A theory paper – time allowed – 2.5 hours
  • A practical exam, lasting approximately 1 hour

In order to satisfy BTEC requirements for the Level 5 program, learners will also need to undertake the following home study assignments:

  • Three practical assessments are taken during the course.
  • Three theory assignment papers are also undertaken during the 6 month programme and these are externally marked.
  • On occasions, students may be asked to complete an additional Anatomy & Physiology assignment paper – however, if students are able to provide suitable evidence of past robust learning in this field, RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) will be granted, but subject to our final decision.
  • It is expected that three full case studies must be submitted also as part of the final exam structure and requirements – these are handed in on exam day and are externally marked and verified.
  • Full details of all exam requirements and assessments are given on the first day of the programme, so that all students are fully appraised as to what is expected of them.

Summary of study weekends subject areas, there are 6 in total :

Biomechanics, Joint assessment and specialised Tests – during the programme, students’ will:

  • Revisit Postural Assessment and advance their current skills to a more advanced level
  • Learn how to undertake specialised function and mobility tests
  • Common injuries
  • Professional methods of note-taking and case histories
  • Remedial Exercise Advice
  • Trunk/Core Stability

Soft Tissue Release (STR) – to include:

  • Correct usage of technique
  • Active and Passive techniques
  • Weight-bearing
  • Clinical usage
  • Contra-indications

Muscle Energy Techniques (METs)

  • When these techniques can and should be used safely and appropriately
  • Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) methods
  • Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) methods
  • Contra-indications

Preparing to set up a successful clinical practice – to include the following sessions:

  • Business Practice
  • Working outside and at major sporting events

Neuromuscular techniques

Connective Tissue Massage

Positional Release

  • Building on Level 3 techniques, we advance friction and NMT skills along with general massage practice

Consolidation and Clinical Practice Weekend – an opportunity to assimilate the whole bridging programme content, revisit all techniques and to prepare for the final Level 5 examination. The weekend includes a Clinic day, with real clients, with injuries, and muscular and soft tissue dysfunction. All clinical clients will be seeking sport & remedial massage intervention, help and remedial advice. Great preparation for the forthcoming exam.

Please note that the study weekends do not run in the above order, rather the full programme focuses on elements of the above disciplines during every weekend as appropriate and where required.

We do factor in plenty of time to revisit and practice all techniques learned, in order for students to be able to consolidate these techniques into a cohesive treatment programme.

Course Fees

Level 5 (including Level 3) £2,499.00

A deposit of £299 will secure your place.

Course fees may be paid in full or the balance may be spread over 10 monthly payments of £232.60 (This includes a 5% admin fee).

Please note that a one-off BTEC/ISRM registration/exam fee of £385.00 payable in month 5 of the course or spread over the duration of the course.

The course fees include the following:

  • Guided learning in class with tutor support
  • Direction and support for home study
  • Songbird professional massage wax
  • Comprehensive SNT level 3 course manual
  • A copy of Chris Jarmey’s ‘Pocket Atlas of Human Anatomy’
  • Course folder, note pad and pen
  • Advice, guidance and discount with choosing and purchasing a quality massage couch and equipment at student rates.
  • A wide selection of discounted relevant massage, anatomy and other relevant
  • Lotus publication books
  • Six month student membership of the ISRM
  • A friendly and relaxed learning environment

For those who change their mind and only wish to take the Level 3 ITEC exam, the level 3 course payment of £1587 plus £110 exam fees must have been paid, before a student will be entered for the exam.


I have no previous massage experience and I have no previous background in science or anatomy – can I sign up for this course?

Yes, the course assumes no prior knowledge and is open to beginners who are looking for a career change, or those with related experience, who wish to further their knowledge. We will train and guide you throughout the course on practical massage techniques and all sports massage related theory, including anatomy and physiology.

Who are the Institute of Remedial Massage (ISRM)?
The ISRM qualification in Clinical Sport & Remedial Massage has evolved over 20 years to best meet the needs of the client and it has become the benchmark for quality training in the UK. It has been developed by working therapists who really understand what it takes to provide good Remedial massage therapy and build a successful practice. ISRM sits on the Sport and Remedial Therapies Council (SRTC) which is recognised by CNHC as the lead body in the sector. There are only eight ISRM validated schools in the UK.

Are all the ISRM schools a franchise?
Absolutely not. All schools have to pass rigorous standards of practice and delivery of this BTEC validated qualification in order to be approved and accepted by industry leader and popular sports/remedial massage author, Mel Cash. He also oversees the examinations in most cases and heads the ISRM.

Do I need to do any pre-reading or preparation before the course starts?
Some general reading on the human body in advance of your course may be helpful if you haven’t studied any anatomy or physiology before and we will supply a basic recommended reading list prior to the course, once you have booked and paid your deposit. Don’t forget we also provide our own exclusive and comprehensive course notes as well once the course is under way?

Do I have the right background to study sport/remedial massage?
As we have said, the course is open to anyone with a genuine desire to learn the art of sport/remedial massage and is physically fit enough and able to perform what we term ‘bodywork’. This is quite a physical course, so it is important to advise us at the time of booking or enquiring, if you have an illness or condition which may affect your ability to perform massage. Something that may be helpful for potential candidates is a background in some sort of sport, exercise or dance, but it is absolutely not essential

What will I need to bring to the course?
You will provided with a course manual, comprehensive course notes throughout the course. Coloured pencils and general writing materials will be needed for the anatomy class, although we do provide a notebook and school pen

Will I need to buy my own couch?
You will undoubtedly need your own couch for practise at home and for case study treatments. We will be able to advise you before you purchase one and we have an exclusive deal with a well-respected massage couch supplier, who is able to offer discounts and very good deals for students.  We will provide couches during class time of course.

How much study time at home will be needed?
You will need to allocate time regularly throughout the week for assignment work and some small pieces of written work. You will also need to set time aside for case study work/home treatments as the course progresses. Of course it depends on how quickly you learn as to how long you will need but you will need to make some time available.

Will there be lots of essay writing?
The ITEC Level 3 anatomy exam is multiple choice only. The other units involve some writing but the tutor will guide you as to the style of presentation. Generally, bullet point presentation is passable if the information is thorough, clear and accurate. As we progress towards Level 5, there is more assignment work to complete – we are able to make allowances if English is not your first language, or those who have any degree of dyslexia.

What if English is not my first language, or if I haven’t studied for a long time
We would expect anyone applying to possess a reasonable command of English language, both written and oral. However, there are many ways of presenting work and we can advise what is best for the individual in terms of how they present their work, if they find they are struggling with their written skills.

I have dyslexia
We can assist those who struggle with English, don’t have English as their first language, or have dyslexia – see question above.

Is there an age limit?
We prefer students to be at least 21 years of age in order to undertake this course. Younger students may apply by contacting us and acceptance on this programme is subject to telephone interview first.

Do I have to provide my own “clients” to practise on for coursework?
Yes, you will need to find people to do case studies on in your own time – friends, family and work colleagues are usually very willing to receive a free massage session!!

Can I leave my belongings at the venue between sessions?
Students cannot leave belongings at the venue as there is very limited storage available.

Are the massage classes single sex?
The massage classes include both male and female students. You would need to advise us in advance if you have an objection to that and we will advise you if this course is suitable.

Exam Details

Level 3 has 3 assignments, plus 3 case studies with a 25 MCQ theory paper and a 1 hour practical exam.

Level 5 has 3 assignments and 3 case studies with a 2.5 hour theory exam and a 1 hour practical exam.

Course Dates and Info

BTEC Clinical Sports & Remedial Massage Course Level 5 

Course Dates:  January 27th to July 12th (2024)

Exam Dates: ITEC level 3: 19th April: BTEC Level 5: Nov 8th

Start and Finish Times: 9.30am – 5.30pm

Course cost: £2499

Venue: Unit 7J – Clapham North Art Centre (Map here)

Weekends Level 3 (Saturday/Sunday) All sessions taught In-class

January Weekends (Saturday/Sunday) All sessions taught In-class 

  1. Jan 13th / 14th
  2. Jan 20th / 21st
  3. Feb 3rd / 4th
  4. Feb 17th / 18th
  5. March 2nd  / 3rd
  6. March 9th / 10th
  7. March 23rd/ 24th
  8. April 6th / 7th

April 19th Exams (Friday)

Follow through Level 5 (Saturday/Sunday) All sessions taught In-class

  1. May 11th / 12th
  2. June 15th / 16th
  3. July 13th / 14th
  4. Aug 10th / 11th
  5. Sept 7th  / 8th
  6. Oct 19th / 20th

Nov 8th Exams (Friday)

Accredited By


Examining Body

The BTEC National Diploma is a vocational qualification taken in England and Wales and Northern Ireland by young people aged 16 and over and by adults.

Latest Reviews

5 star rating

After completing my ITEC level 3 in Sports massage I then spent 8 years working privately and working at a rugby club. I was looking for a course that would further my knowledge and make me feel more confident working with sports therapists and physios. I contemplated going back to uni and doing 3 years of Sports Therapy but eventually settled on doing the level 5 and it was the best decision I ever made. The course was extremely flexible, meaning I was able to continue working whilst studying and the course itself gave me such a boost and now I feel my manual therapy skills are a real asset to my place of work. The course tutors pitched it perfectly for all of us no matter how much experience and couldn’t do enough to help us. Having tutors from different backgrounds gave me the opportunity to see things from different perspectives and gave me the clinical reasoning skills to make better decisions and do more for my clients. I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to further their knowledge and give their career a boost. Since the course I now feel the world is my oyster in terms of career progression and further study and am now thinking of just topping up with 1 year to get my sports therapy degree. Thankyou so much to Joseph and the team!

Alexandra proctor (October 4, 2021)