What does it mean if a therapist is a member of an association?

Given the array of people offering sports injury treatment from a multitude of professions one word that keeps coming up is trust. How do you know who to trust to ensure they have the required level of training, have the qualifications they say they have and are committed to continuing professional development?
 
The key thing is membership to a respected industry association. In order to gain membership qualifications are checked and there is an ongoing continuing professional development (CPD) requirement every year.
 
On sportsinjuryfix.comwe’ve done the hard work for you.  You can see which association memberships are held by therapists along with reviews of that therapist.

Therapist Association Logos
 
We often get asked which association is ‘best’ in the various professions but that is a very subjective point. All of them have been set up with the aim to promote their profession and serve their members. Some have been set up to focus on a particular subset of a field such as sport whilst others have been set up because they wish to operate in a different way to existing associations.
 
If you’re a therapist reading this and wondering who to join, then we recommend speaking to each association in your field, and some of their members, to decide which one fits in with your values and vision.
 
Below is a guide to explain who the different associations are and what reassurance you can get from someone being a member. This further helps you find a therapist you are comfortable with and can trust. Interestingly in ‘newer’ professions that do not yet have a statutory body, such as Sports Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, CPD requirements and the percentage of members CPD audited tends to be higher.

Chiropractic Associations

General Chiropractic Council(GCC) - Mandatory
This is the statutory body and in order to call themselves a chiropractor an individual must be registered with the GCC. Qualifications are checked on sign up which need to be a minimum of graduate level. In order to stay a member, they must complete 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) per year of which 15 hours must be learning with others. The GCC advised sportsinjuryfix.com that 10-20% of submissions are checked annually.
 
British Chiropractic Association
Serves and supports members and promotes the Chiropractic profession. Over 50% of the UK’s registered Chiropractors are members and insurance is included as part of membership.

Osteopathy Associations

General Osteopathic Council (GOC)- Mandatory
This is the statutory body and in order to call themselves an osteopath an individual must be registered with the GOC. Qualifications are checked on sign up which need to be a minimum of graduate level. In order to stay a member, they must complete 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) per year with a requirement that 15 of those hours are learning with others. The GOC advised sportsinjuryfix.com that 100% of CPD Annual Summary Forms are checked, 20% of CPD Annual Summary Forms are audited for detail, and 2% of the register are required to submit evidence of their CPD activities.
 
Institute of Osteopathy
Serves and supports members and promotes the Osteopathic profession. Insurance is included as part of membership.
 
Osteopathic Sports Care Association
Serves and supports members to provide knowledge and skills required for the management of sporting injuries in practice and in the sporting environment. Promotes Osteopathy within sports and as part of a modern inter-disciplinary therapist team.

Physiotherapy Associations

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) - Mandatory
This is the statutory body and for an individual to call themselves a physiotherapist they must be registered with the HCPC. Qualifications are checked on sign up which need to be a minimum of graduate level. The HCPC deals with standards of education and training; conduct, performance, and ethics; fitness to practise; and protection of the public. There are CPD requirements in place and the HCPC advises that audits are conducted periodically with 2.5% of people per profession per renewal period, which is every two years.
 
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
Theprofessional, educational and trade union body for physiotherapists, assistants and students in the UK. Serves and supports members and promotes the physiotherapy profession. Full membership of the CSP provides membership benefits including insurance subject to terms and conditions. 
 
Physios in Sport
Supports chartered physiotherapists who are interested in and/or work in Sports & Exercise Medicine (SEM). Has a well-respected CPD pathway with three levels, bronze, silver and gold. A bronze member will have a minimum of two years post graduate working experience, a minimum of four years for silver and minimum of six years for gold. This is alongside a series of courses, shadowing, self study and reflections.

Podiatry Associations

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) - Mandatory
This is the statutory body and for an individual to call themselves a podiatrist they must be registered with the HCPC. Qualifications are checked on sign up which need to be a minimum of graduate level. The HCPC deals with standards of education and training; conduct, performance, and ethics; fitness to practise; and protection of the public. There are CPD requirements in place and audits are conducted periodically with 2.5% of people per profession per renewal period, which is every two years.
 
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
Serves and supports members and promotes the podiatry and chiropodist profession. Insurance is included as part of membership.
 
Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatry
Serves and supports members and promotes the podiatry and chiropodist profession. Insurance is included as part of membership.

Sports Massage Associations

Criteria for membership of sports massage and soft tissue associations is typically referred to in levels, normally sports massage level 3 qualified and upwards. For an explanation of what those levels mean see here.
 
The Association for Soft Tissue Therapists (SMA)
Formerly called the Sports Massage Association. Serves and supports members and promotes the sports massage and soft tissue profession. Insurance is included as part of membership. Members are required to meet criteria which, on average, is sports massage level 3 and upwards from a reputable provider. Members are then graded based on their experience and CPD as follows:
·      Full Member with no further status: recognised qualification with less than one years post qualification experience
·      Full Member with Bronze status: recognised qualification, between one and four years post qualification experience and a CPD record of 40 hours per annum on average from year two onwards.
·      Full member with Silver status recognised qualification, between four and eight years post qualification experience and a CPD record of 40 hours per annum on average
·      Full member with Gold status: recognised qualification, more than eight years post qualification experience and a CPD record of 40 hours per annum on average
 
The Institute for Soft Tissue Therapists (ISRM)
Originally called the Institute of Sport and Remedial Massage. Serves and supports members and promotes the sports massage and soft tissue profession. Members must undertake a A minimum of 15 hours a year to spend on CPD requirements. ISRM is a registered BTEC centre which has established the BTEC* Level 5 Professional Diploma in Soft Tissue Therapy. It licenses a number of small independent schools who run the qualification. Insurance is included as part of membership. Members are required to be BTEC Soft Tissue Therapy level 5 or equivalent level 5 qualified.
 
BTEC stands for British Technology and Education Council and was set up in order to provide vocational qualifications.  BTEC levels 4 and 5 are roughly regarded as equivalent to first and second year degree level.

Sports Rehabilitation

British Association of Sports Rehabilitation and Trainers (BASRaT)
Serves and supports members and promotes the graduate sports rehabilitation profession. Membership includes full insurance, subject to relevant terms and conditions. BASRaT advised sportsinjuryfix.com that continuing professional development requirements are in place on an annual basis and that checks are carried out for a selected number of members at random each year. As membership numbers changed this can change year on year.

Sports Therapy Associations

Sports Therapy Association (STA)
Serves and supports members and promotes the sports therapy profession. Qualifications checked on sign up and at renewal. Insurance is not included as part of membership but discounts with a preferred supplier. There are 4 types of membership:
·       Student membership
·       Associate Membership – Level 3 Sports Massage
·       Full Membership – Level 4/5 Sports Massage and/or Sports Therapy diploma
·       Graduate Membership – FdSc BSc MSc Sports Therapy or Sports Rehab.
 
An electronic CPD diary is provided every quarter to members and discounted and free CPD is available via their education partners. They do not run CPD as they believe that it is a potential for conflicts of interest. 25% of members CPD every 6 months is audited and are currently working on an online file repository for members to store and record their development along with their online profile
 
Sports Therapy Organisation (STO)
Serves and supports members and promotes the sports therapy profession. Qualifications checked on sign up. Insurance is not included as part of membership but discounts with a preferred supplier. There are 4 types of membership:
·       Student membership
·       Affiliate Membership – Level 3 Sports Massage
·       Silver Membership – Level 4 Sports Massage
·       Graduate Membership – BSc Sports Therapy. Only for one year after graduation.
·       Gold Membership – Level 5 Sports Massage, Sports Therapy/Sports Rehab level 5 and above.
The STA told Sports Injury Fix that they have CPD requirements and check 10-20% of submissions a year.
 
Society of Sports Therapists (SST)
Serves and supports members and promotes the sports therapy profession. Qualifications checked on sign up. Insurance is included with membership. Therapists are eligible to join if they are graduates holding a BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy, MSc Sports Therapy or Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Therapy from a University or College with which The Society of Sports Therapists has a collaborative agreement.
 
The SST advised Sports Injury Fix that once a therapist becomes members the SST ask at every renewal that all members sign a declaration which confirms that they have been undertaking CPD.  A 10% random selection are then audited for their CPD on an annual basis.

Other Related Organisation

Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council
A UK register of complentary health practitioners for 16 professions, one of which is sports therapy. Requires a qualification from a recognised National Occupational Standards (NOS) body for membership and this is checked.  It is professional standards accredited but for some reason there has been limited take up by sports therapists and few are listed. There is a requirement to undertake 15 hours of CPD a year and 5% of members are audited annually.


Share This Post