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Sports therapists use their knowledge and skills to treat sporting injuries, advise on injury prevention and support rehabilitation, using a range of physical techniques and therapies.

Many therapists have to supplement their income with other part-time jobs before they become established.

Sports therapist job description: Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of sports therapists include:

  • helping to prepare athletes both mentally and physically
  • advising about stretching and warming up exercises
  • giving massages and applying strapping and taping techniques to provide support
  • giving first aid if required
  • checking injuries and strappings
  • making decisions about whether athletes and players can continue
  • examining and assessing injuries
  • administering treatment for minor injuries such as bruises, strains and blisters
  • referring individuals to appropriate sports and medical practitioners for further treatment
  • accompanying injured athletes and players to appointments
  • examining and assessing injuries
  • providing appropriate treatment
  • designing and implementing rehabilitation and detox programmes
  • advising about nutrition, diet and lifestyle issues
  • collaborating with trainers and coaches on injury prevention programmes

Typical employers of sports therapists

Most sports therapists are self-employed. Typical employers include sports injury clinics, professional and amateur sports teams or clubs, health and fitness clubs and sports and leisure centres. Some sports therapists will also work in other sport-related roles such as teaching, coaching or personal training.

Networking and speculative applications are advisable. Participation in a relevant professional association is essential, and is a useful way of meeting people already working in the area. Job opportunities appear on the websites of the Society of Sports Therapists and Jobs in Sport, in newspapers, local authority vacancy lists, and professional and trade publications.

Qualifications and training required

Although you do not technically need a degree to become a sports therapist, in order to become a member of the Society of Sports Therapists it is now compulsory to have an approved undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree in sports therapy from one of the society’s partner universities. It is not obligatory to become a member of the society but it is advisable as it is a clear indication to employers that you have the relevant skills and knowledge.

Alternative qualifications are available at a range of levels (full or part time), including HND, diplomas and advanced diplomas but these aren’t accredited by the Society of Sports Therapists. You would need to carry out research into each qualification and how well it will set you up for a career in sports therapy.

Relevant work experience can also be helpful.

Key skills for sports therapists

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Physical fitness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Ability to form strong relationships with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to deal sensitively with injured clients
  • Encouraging and motivational communication style

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This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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