What Qualifications Do Sports Massage Therapists Need?

Updated July 19, 2017

Sports massage therapists need the same certifications and training as other licensed massage therapists; the sports-massage part is merely a speciality. Therapists specialising in sports massage often team with physical-therapy businesses or gyms.


U.S. states vary in their certification or licensing requirements, but all require some combination of coursework, supervised practice, character references and examination.


States require between about 500 and 1,000 hours of coursework, including the study of biology, physiology, anatomy, law and theory.

Supervised practice

Most states require about 100 hours of supervised practice, often counted among the coursework requirements.


Therapists must take classes to learn the ethics of their field, and must submit affidavits attesting to their good moral character.


All states require a certification test that includes some combination of written, verbal and practical examination.

Physical requirements

Massage in general is a physically intensive field, with most therapists able to do 20 to 25 hours of massage a week when they are in top physical condition.

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About the Author

Josh Shear began writing professionally in 1999. He has been an editor at Reminder Publications and project coordinator at the daily online news site He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Western New England College, and took graduate courses in mass media theory at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.