Joining The SMA

The SMA holds two main aims:

  • Upholding high standards for the training and further education of soft tissue therapists
  • Representing as wide a cross section of our industry as possible

As such, we accept applications from therapists with a broad range of backgrounds.

We have four membership categories: Full Member (comprising newly graduated therapists at Level 4 or above under the Graduate header), Level 3 TherapistStudent Member and Friend of the SMA.  Please click HERE for clarification as to which category you should apply for if you are in any doubt.

**We recommend that ALL POTENTIAL APPLICANTS read our stance on Intensive Courses prior to making an application**

STUDENT MEMBERSHIP is for any student specifically on a course to qualify in Sports Massage Therapy at any level, not for applicants who are in full or part-time education for any other qualification.  In order to register and be approved for this category, please complete the application form online and upload supporting evidence to prove your place on a Sports Massage Therapy course. This could take the form of a welcome letter or payment receipt and will ideally demonstrate the dates you are due to attend your course in person.

LEVEL 3 THERAPISTS are those who have completed a Level 3 RQF qualification.  We recognise that this is the entry point to the industry but that therapists qualified at this level do not yet have all the skills necessary to meet the National Occupational Standards for Sports Massage Therapy.  Therapists joining at (or upgrading to) this level will be members for a two-year term and undertake to register for a Level 4 qualification that meets SMA minimum standards during this period.  Upon completion of the qualification, thus meeting National Occupational Standards, they will be eligible to become Full members.

FULL MEMBERSHIP is for therapists who have completed a qualification at Level 4 or above in Sports Massage or Soft Tissue Therapy.  We use two metrics to place therapists within our membership system: a numbered grading based on the level of qualification completed and a grading of Bronze, Silver or Gold based on the experience gained since qualifying.  Click HERE for details of gradings.

*Holders of a BSc in Sports Therapy should check their module marks for Sports Massage and apply as either Level 3 Therapist or Full member depending on the mark achieved.  Please click HERE for further clarification as to the category you should apply to join.

A FRIEND of the SMA is a category for those who are not practising (either through retirement or on sabbatical or any other reason) but who wish to remain in contact with the SMA and its activities. It could also be the appropriate category for those whose qualification backgrounds do not match any other category.


We recognise that holders of older qualifications will not easily fit into this structure due to the nature of the training industry pre-2010 and so we therefore assess these qualifications on an individual basis.  Please e-mail us with a copy of your qualification certificate prior to making your application so that we can make sure you apply in the correct category.

Please note: we can only use your formal educational qualification to apply a grading or advise on membership categories as that is generally the only externally assessed qualification you hold mapped to specific content.


 PLEASE NOTE: as of July 2021 we will not be accepting new applications from holders of qualifications gained through Focus Awards at any level as we are unable to verify that the course content meets industry standards.  If you hold a qualification gained through this Awarding Organisation then we suggest that you contact your training provider and ask them to contact Focus Awards on your behalf or e-mail Focus Awards directly and ask them to forward detailed course descriptors to Yvonne Blake, yvonne@thesma.org

Ready to join thE SMA?

Having read all the above information on the SMA membership levels, please click below to complete your membership application

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

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