Differences Between Level 3 and 4 and 5 Sports Massage Qualifications


Here is a list of the Ofqual qualification Levels taken from the Government website What qualification levels mean: England, Wales and Northern Ireland - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Level 3

- A level

- Access to higher education diploma

- Advanced apprenticeship

- AS level

- International Baccalaureate diploma

- Level 3 NVQ


Level 4

- Certificate of higher education (CertHE)

- Higher apprenticeship

- Higher national certificate (HNC)

- Level 4 NVQ


Level 5

- Diploma of higher education (DipHE)

- Foundation degree

- Higher national diploma (HND)

- Level 5 NVQ



Warning – If a qualification is not accredited by an Ofqual approved Awarding Body you cannot trust the Level they say it is. The Register of Regulated Qualifications: Home page (ofqual.gov.uk)


Level 3 is equivalent to school A level which only covers basic massage for healthy people with no injuries. Level 3 Sports Massage should not really exist because people seeking Sports Massage will nearly always have a musculoskeletal problem that is beyond this level of training.  


Level 4 and 5 top-up courses that continue from Level 3 suggest that they train therapist to work on a clinical level treating injuries. But the underpinning knowledge and understanding jumps tenfold when treat people who have pain and injury. To properly achieve this, these top-up courses would need to take longer than the basic Level 3 training and involve significantly more in-depth study of anatomy, physiology and clinical procedures.


Level 4 and 5 qualifications that that stand alone and are not top-ups from lower level, deliver all the training at the higher level right from the start.


For the most in-depth BTEC Level 5 Soft Tissue Therapy qualification, which includes Sports Massage:

London & Southampton – www.lssm.com

Exeter & Bristol – www.thestschool.co.uk

Oxford – www.ossm.co.uk

Cambridge - www.thecssm.co.uk




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