VTCT Level 5 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy

The VTCT Level 5 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy is aimed at experienced massage therapists who wish to develop massage skills, knowledge and understanding.

Academic Year: 2023/24
Course Code: 10726
Campus: Lisburn
Study Type: Part-Time
Education Level Higher Education
Department: Beauty & Holistic Therapies

Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course
Course Structure

This qualification will enable you to work with non-acute recent injuries and pre-existing conditions for restorative and corrective purposes, with focus on posture, gait, ligamentous and neural conditions.

Through this qualification you will develop an in depth understanding of, and use a range of complex assessment methods and complex massage techniques. Assessment will include subjective assessment and build on prior knowledge looking more deeply at yellow and red flags and their implications.  

Objective assessment will include posture (including myofascial reading e.g. anatomy trains), gait analysis, range of movement, isometric testing and a variety of special tests. Special tests will include testing of ligaments, labrum, cartilage and for indications of impingement and dislocation.  

You will also develop your knowledge of the neurological system and be able to recognise neurological presentations. This will include exploration of pathophysiology (ligamentous and neural) of all the major joints.

Practically you will carry out sports massage using a range of complex techniques, to include myofascial, positional release, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), and active isolated stretching. This will include critical evaluation of the effects and benefits of each technique. You will also be able to provide aftercare methods that will complement your massage treatment, to include mobility, proprioception and isometric strengthening.

In addition you will explore the concept of evidence-based practice, understand the importance of evidence-based practice in sport and be able critically to appraise research undertaken on the use of sports massage and be able to draw conclusions.

Units include:

  • Conduct complex assessment for sports massage
  • Provided complex massage techniques for sports massage

Contact Hours per week

5 hours contact time to include practical classes, lectures, workshops or tutorials 

Personal Study

Approximately 6 hours studying and preparing assessments.  A further 10 hours clinical practice per week.

You must have completed the Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy or equivalent in order to undertake this qualification.

This course requires an interview and skills test.  

For Learning Outcome 1 (Be able to undertake assessment of sports specific postures and gait) competent performance of Observation outcomes must be demonstrated on at least one occasion. For Learning Outcomes 2 (Be able to conduct complex assessment methods for sports massage) and 3 (Be able to devise a sports massage treatment plan from information gathered) competent performance of Observation outcomes must be demonstrated on at least five occasions on a minimum of 5 clients. Assessor observations, witness testimonies and products of work are likely to be the most appropriate sources of performance evidence. Professional discussion may be used as supplementary evidence for those criteria that do not naturally occur. Feedback is offered throughout the process in both verbal and written format.

Your assessor will observe your performance of practical tasks. The minimum number of competent observations required is indicated in the Evidence requirements section of this unit. Criteria may not always naturally occur during a practical observation. In such instances you will be asked questions to demonstrate your competence in this area. Your assessor will document the criteria that have been achieved through professional discussion and/or oral questioning. This evidence will be recorded by your assessor in written form or by other appropriate means. Your assessor will sign off a learning outcome when all criteria have been competently achieved. The range section indicates what must be covered. Ranges should be practically demonstrated as part of an observation. Your assessor will document the portfolio reference once a range has been competently achieved.

On completion of this qualification you will be qualified for roles such as a Level 5 Sports Massage Practitioner using a variety of soft tissue and assessment techniques. You will be able to work with recent non-acute injuries and pre-existing conditions. This may include working in clinics, for sporting teams or as a mobile therapist. This may be in an employed or self-employed context.


The VTCT Level 5 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy (QCF) has been designed to provide experienced practitioners currently working in sport and active leisure, with the requisite understanding and complex skills and techniques to work as an advanced sports massage practitioner.  Successful completion of this course will equip you to work with clientele ranging from recreational sport and active leisure enthusiasts to professional sports persons and elite athletes.

Recommended reading list:  

  • Myofascial Release (Hands-On Guides for Therapists) Paperback  – 15 Jun 2014  by Ruth Duncan - £24.99  
  • The Concise Book of Trigger Points Paperback  – 29 Aug 2014  by Simeon Niel-Asher - £15.99  
  • Muscle Energy Techniques: A Practical Handbook for Physical Therapists Paperback  – 30 Nov 2011 by John Gibbons - £13.99  
  • Postural Assessment (Hands-On Guides for Therapists) Paperback  – 1 Feb 2012 by Jane Johnson - £25.99  

Massage kit to include; oil, towels, bolster, couch roll.

Uniform cost:  t-shirt approximately £20 


Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course

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Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course

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Terms & Conditions

Students will be required to comply with SERC's Terms & Conditions of study.

We strive to ensure the description of courses on SERC's website and in publications is accurate. However, for various reasons there may be occasions when the College may need to change arrangements or be unable to deliver classes due to circumstances such as reduced funding. If there are insufficient numbers applying for a course it may not be viable to deliver the class.

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