We are Soft Tissue Therapists. We work independently to assess, treat and offer rehabilitation advice for people suffering a wide range of minor and chronic injuries caused by any lifestyle factor. As well as treating the injury we aim to identify the underlying causes and offer more long-term improvements in physical wellbeing
We are qualified to do this because we are currently studying for a BTEC Level 5 Professional Dipolma in Soft Tissue Therapy. We are currently three quarters of the way through a year of study covering classroom teaching, home study and supervised and recorded clinical hours. We have completed a number of written assignments, practical assessments and will soon be completing case studies. This qualification is only taught by the Institute of Sports and Remedial Massage (the ISRM), and is assessed by BTEC.
So who are BTEC?
BTEC is the biggest awarding body for vocational qualifications - you might remember them from when you were at school, although BTEC qualifications are also offered at colleges and universities.
BTEC aren’t the only people who offer qualifications in this field - two other awarding bodies (ITEC and VTCT) also offer qualifications.
ITEC is a specialist examination board, providing qualifications in Beauty & Spa Therapy, Hairdressing, Complementary Therapies, Sports massage. Their Level 3 qualifications are recognized in many countries by employers in the Beauty and Spa industry.
VTCT is an awarding organization specializing in Hairdressing & Barbering, Beauty Therapy, Complementary Therapy, Sport, Active Health & Fitness, Hospitality, Business & Retail and Learning & Development.
So that’s the different awarding bodies - but then you have the different levels!
Level 3 is equivalent to a school GCSE and it teaches you to give a routine massage treatment for sport, relaxation, beauty or similar.
Level 4 is equivalent to a school ‘A’ level or university entry standard and this teaches some more advanced technique which can help in the recovery of common injuries.
Level 5 is equivalent to a university under-graduate and only on this level will you learn how to assess, treat and rehabilitate a wide range of injuries.
So that’s the different levels - but then you have the different ways of going through those levels!
It is possible (especially with the ITEC and VTCT qualifications) to take a Level 3 course, pass it, and then a couple of years later take a Level 4 course, and then a couple of years later take a Level 5 course, but an integrated course teaches the foundation subjects at the right clinical level needed for the advanced training to follow.
If you decide to book treatment with a therapist, please check they have a qualification recognised by BTEC, ITEC or VTCT; some unscrupulous further education providers make up their own qualifications that aren’t recognised. If you’re after a lovely spa massage, you’ll be fine with a Level 3 qualified masseuse, but anything more may be beyond their qualifications and you would need to be asking what additional qualifications they have.