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Posted by Marian Child, Dec 19 2010 11:49AM

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ITEC Sports Massage course

I completed this course some time ago, but understand it has been updated from a level 3 to a level 4.

Is it possible to do a top up from level 3 to 4 without redoing the whole thing. When I enquired with ITEC about a top up course, I was told it was not possible to go on to the level 5 course without doing level 4. Not a great help. Especially as it is the first time I had been aware of a level 5 course.

Can anyone throw any light on this. I want to know if it is possible to do a course without having to go over the same stuff all over again AND pay for a whole course.

Bridgette Bradley
Dec 19 2010 2:59PM
This is news to me. I'd like to know more too. I'll
Do some enquiring of my own and let you know
If I come up with anything.
Marian Child
Dec 19 2010 5:02PM
This is the link from the itec website

Seem unfair to pay again for what you have already covered, studied and qualified for. appreciate there must be new material, but resent having to do the whole course again.
Anna Maria Mazzieri
Dec 21 2010 12:14PM
Hi Marian and Bridgette,

the sports and remedial massage industry is changing very fast and it is understandable that you will come across some contracting information.
If you possess a level 3 Sports Massage or Remedial Massage Qualification and you have been practising for 2 years you are eligible to do what we call BRIDGING PROGRAMME to obtain the BTEC level 5 qualification through the ISRM.
The bridging programme is for those who already have a qualification and just need to update and upgrade their knowlege and skills to achieve a level 5.

The bridging programme works as follow:
you will go through an assessment to identify your skills and knowledge
from the result of this theory and practical assessments you will be advised which subjects and classes from an already running course at the school, you will need to attend to upgrade youe skills from a level 3 to a level 5.
Also you will need to complete the internal assignements, case study portfolio and logged hours diary.
you will then be able to sit the examination for the level 5 course.

Each school run their own bridging programme, however in essence this is how it works.

I hope this clarify a bit your options.

Anna Maria Mazzieri

Marian Child
Dec 21 2010 12:34PM
Anna Maria Mazzieri. Thank you for your reply. confused as to how BTEC relates to ITEC, are they equivalent?
Anna Maria Mazzieri
Dec 21 2010 1:12PM
Hi Marian,

They both cover the NATIONAL OCCUPATIONA STANDARDS which is the most important thing you want to check for when choosing a course.
I am not conversant enough with the ITEC sports massage level 5 qualification to comment, however you can easily access it from their site.
I am also not sure if through the ITEC route you will need to go through the level 4 or can bridge to level 5. I am sorry for not be of help there but we deal only with BTEC courses.

In any case I strongly recommend you to upgrade to level 5 whichever route you want to follow.
As an employer I am not considering any Therapist applying for a position unless they possess a level 5. And i can assure you this is the case with many of my colleagues. Gradually this is were the Sports and Remedial Massage industry is heading to and it is welcomed by many of us.

I totally understand that it can be very confusing and certainly i understand that you may have studied hard and now you have to upgrade your knowledge, however this is a transition time for Massage Therapy and as therapists I feel we must give support to our associations, whichever they are, so to achieve a common goal of better professional benchmarks.

Anna Maria Mazzieri
Marian Child
Dec 21 2010 1:18PM
More than happy to upgrade, it is the redoing of a course which includes upgrades which bugs my finances.

I simply want to know if there is a bridging course for ITEC. As far as I know, these advanced courses didn't exist when I was training, otherwise I would have chosen another professional body to study with.
Anna Maria Mazzieri
Dec 21 2010 1:30PM
Hi Marian
some of the advanced qualifications have been there for around 20 years however they were not in the mainstream and certainly not within the funded framework.

Qualification syllabuses should not be very different, so it does not really matter with which you take it, good luck anyway!

Anna Maria Mazzieri

Kathryn Kemp
Dec 21 2010 2:08PM
Hi Marion

I've been reading with interest as I found myself in the same position.

I took the ITEC Sports Massage Course at ITEC Level 3 and was disappointed when I found out that it was being superceded by the Level 4. I was advised, by an ITEC tutor, that if you want to progress into a sports massage career then you will need to upgrade to 4 (or 5) as employers will look for it. If you dpn't want to take that path but use it alongside other massage, then don't bother. I was also advised that, if I spoke to my tutor, I could possibly just resit the paper as the practical is the same.

P'raps call ITEC direct and ask the question, or speak to your tutor.

Kind regards
Marian Child
Dec 21 2010 3:49PM
I did, and this was the response
Dear Marian,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Please note that the Level 4 qualification is a higher Level than a Level 3.

A lot of the content of the Level 3 is also being covered in the Level 4. If you already have Level 3 you do not have to complete Level 4 to “top up” your qualifications.

However, if you would like to progress onto Level 5, then you would be required to hold a Level 4 qualification to go onto the Level 5 course.

I hope this answers your query, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.

Kind regards,
Karolina Palasinski


So my question again is if a lot of the content from level 3 is covered in level 4, why does there not appear to be a bridging course.

Kathryn Kemp
Dec 21 2010 4:01PM
Umm, I heard a rumour that someone goofed hence the Level 3 and 4 "have similar content". Seems odd that they are so similar we don't need to "top up" from 3 to 4 but you can't get 5 without 4..! I guess the answer lies with ITEC. Personally, I'd write back to them, particularly if you want to go for Level 5.
Kind regards
Hazel Jones
Jan 4 2011 7:12PM
I have not long completed a Level 3 course, and I have enquired about upgrading to Level 4, and the same old answers as Ive read from the previous emails above, There doesnt seem to be any difference in the course work. So if anybody out there gets a reply or knows how to `top up` to Level 4 . let me know please
Kathryn Kemp
Jan 5 2011 9:58AM
I notice in the new Embody magazine that companies are offering 'upgrades' from Level 3 to Level 4 (page 14, top left corner) - "this course involves just one contact day, followed up with case studies and an exam". As I mentioned previously, go back to your tutor and enquire about an upgrade, they should be able to help.
Hope this helps.
Marian Child
Jan 5 2011 10:01AM
Thank you. I did. He is looking into it, but more or less confirmed what you have just said.

Got the Embody yesterday. thanks for this

Bridgette Bradley
Jan 5 2011 10:36AM
Hi marion,
Unfortunately my tutor isn't doing the up grades.
I looked into upgrading to btec level 5 but it costs
About 1400 pounds an amount I cannot afford.
Please let me know, anyone if your tutor is taking
Part as I need to find some one in the Essex area.
Marian Child
Jan 5 2011 10:53AM
Bridget, I am not sure how the BTEC equates to ITEC. The course mentioned in the Embody magazine is to upgrade ITEC 3 to level 4. You need level 4 to take the course ITEC level 5.

The course providers are they are in london. it is a one day course with case studies and exam. Why not email them. I have, this morning.

It seems there is so little information, but I understand it is all very new and not all the trainers have been on the upgrade courses.
Bridgette Bradley
Jan 5 2011 3:28PM
Great. Will do. Thank you. B
Bridgette Bradley
Jan 5 2011 3:28PM
Great. Will do. Thank you. B
Debra Goldston
Jan 7 2011 3:02PM
Athena School of Natural Therapies are running special "top up" courses over a short period so you can bridge the gap.There website is and their telephone number is 01902 238901.
Hope that helps!
Berkeley Wilde
Jan 7 2011 9:21PM
I have done some research into Level 5 Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy courses, I am currently at ITEC Level 4. My understanding is you do not need to have a Level 4 qualification to do the BTEC Level 5, you do have to have qualified at Level 3 and have an up to date First Aid certificate.
The LSSM with Mel Cash is highly recommended, he is the author of the book "Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy" and defined "Sports Massage" as a discipline.
The courses I have looked at are expensive about £2600 for the course and include 500 hours of case studies.
If you want me to send you links to other course I have found email me off list.
Debra Goldston
Jan 10 2011 4:04PM
Athena School of Natural Therapies offers an intensive 4 day course to upgrade to level 4 if you already hold a level 3 qualification.The next course runs on:
April 3rd
April 10th
15th May
22nd May
It costs £400 but is currently on offer at £300 until the end of January. The telephone number is 01902 238901 and website is that helps!
Marian Child
Jan 10 2011 5:05PM

According to itec you do need ITEC level 4 to progress. See their email in my post dated Dec 21 2010 3:49PM

There seems to be a lack of general knowledge about this. I have approached 2 schools who are unsure, but believe it is a one day upgrade course, but you will also need to take a theory exam and do more case studies. However, they too are waiting for further information.
Anna Maria Mazzieri
Jan 10 2011 6:07PM
Dear Marian,
I run a school which provides the BTEC level 5 and the Bridging programme, and i can confirm that: If you have an ITEC level 3 in Sports Massage you can definitely access the BRIDGING PROGRAMME to achieve the BTEC level 5 without the need to have a level 4 qualification.

I hope this help to clarify your options

Anna Maria Mazzieri
Marian Child
Jan 10 2011 6:25PM
Sorry to all, I misread Berkeley's reply.

I guess something I need to find out is the difference between ITEC level 5 and BTEC level 5. Are they equivalent and does the industry accept both equally.

Bridgette Bradley
Jan 10 2011 6:46PM
My understanding is that colleges running the
BTEC courses (a national qualification) have
input and design the course program themselves.
Whereas ITEC (internationally recognised)
Course content is governed by ITEC. Please
Correct me if I'm wrong.

Marian Child
Jan 10 2011 6:54PM
I think you are right, it is how the levels equate that would be interesting to know. I suppose I ought to check out the relative websites, but am waiting for my instructor to let me know when he knows more.
Debra Goldston
Jan 10 2011 7:56PM
I think you will find that "level 5 is level 5" and that they are all equally accepted. That is in fact the real reason behind the changes, namely to make all training consistent.
Anna Maria Mazzieri
Jan 10 2011 8:54PM
Debra is correct,
the levels attributed are the same for any qualifications. The National Qualification Framework sets out the levels at which a qualification can be recognised. In our case level 5. In order for the qualification to be recognised at level 5 it must cover specific learning outcomes. An example of a learning outcome is :Plan, apply and evaluate massage methods to prevent and manage injury. These learning outcomes are what we call National Occupational Standards which means that no matter where you train, which qualification you gain everyone across the board will have to learn to Plan, apply and evaluate massage methods to prevent and manage injury. This is only one learning outcome.

So although between awarding bodies like ITEC and BTEC there may be some differences in the syllabuses they all have to cover the same "things" to be at a level 5.

Anna Maria Mazzieri

Marian Child
Jan 10 2011 9:31PM
Thank you for such a clear response.

Now all I need to do is save up - again
Neil Shilson
Aug 15 2013 9:34AM

Does anyone know where you can do a bridging course for level 5 in Berkshire. I should have really looked at this a few years ago, but I think it might be time to get a level 5 to stop all the confusion. Plus the costs and time of doing a level 4 then 5 is not an option.

Thanks Neil

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