Thinking of a career Change? Looking to train as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist?
In the last few years there has been an explosion in training courses for equine massage. This is a career that appeals to horse owners and people working in the equine industry. The appeal has been greater since the Covid 19 lockdowns in 2020 and ’21 with people being inspired to change their work/life balance and move into careers which bring greater personal satisfaction.
An Equine Sports Massage Therapist has an enviable opportunity to spend the day working with horses, in the open air within self directed working practices. The appeal of working as an Equine Massage Therapist has prompted many to search out courses online, at local colleges or local stables.
If the job appeals to you and you are considering a career change then please consider the course you choose very carefully. There are many equine massage therapy training courses available but many are of relatively low quality, unregulated or do not offer the depth of knowledge that a person wishing to work professionally in this field requires.
It is essential that if you wish to practice as a professional equine sports massage therapist that you gain a recognised QUALIFICATION as opposed to just completing a course. However, finding a suitable qualification might just be harder than you would expect.
Why is a qualification different?
In short, a qualification will be regulated by OFQUAL. Here is a list, illustrating the differences between a standard course and a qualification:
- Can be set up, designed and written by anyone
- Can be of any length or method of delivery – many are short or only online
- Some courses offer academic levels such as a ‘level 3’ but the level is set by the course operators and not regulated or validated by an external body
- May say that it is accredited by an OFQUAL approved Awarding Organisation – and may show that Awarding Organisation’s logo. However, unless it appears on the OFQUAL Register with a qualification number, it is not a qualification but an accredited course
- May have been subject to Quality Assurance by an external scheme, but these schemes are voluntary, and such endorsement may have been paid for by the provider
- May be certificated but certificates will not carry the OFQUAL logo
- Regulated by the government through OFQUAL
- Have been verified by OFQUAL as having been written at the required level, and must be delivered with stated resources and standards of teaching, in an agreed format
- Will be assessed in accordance with strict OFQUAL protocols and regulations
- Are revalidated for standards every 5 years
- Are listed on the OFQUAL Register where a full official qualification guide can be downloaded which confirms the Regulated Qualifications Framework level.
- Have an official OFQUAL qualification number assigned to them
- Diplomas carry the OFQUAL logo
The Open Awards Level 4 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage appears on the OFQUAL register. View the qualification on the Open Awards website.
A qualification ensures professional standards
Qualifications are designed to provide in-depth, professional standards of knowledge and skill which ensure that paying clients and their animals will be treated safely and correctly within industry guidelines and regulations by therapists subject to industry standards carrying full insurance. Courses can be great for developing knowledge to a lesser depth, for CPD, or greater understanding, but they do not offer the reassurance of a qualification.
The confusion about standards of training extends to some insurance companies, who will offer professional indemnity insurance to people who have undertaken short courses. If you wish to check the standard of a person’s training, whilst it is advisable to ask to see their insurance certificate you should not rely in the fact that they are insured as confirmation that they are fully qualified.
Professional associations and registers
Completion of a course may entitle a person to become a member of a professional association, of which there are many. However, only completion of an OFQUAL Regulated Qualification will entitle a therapist to membership of an industry register such as the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) or the Animal Health Professions Register (AHPR).
Whether you are an owner wanting to check out the background of your therapist, or someone looking for that career change – you need a QUALIFICATION every time. Here are four reasons:
- Professional Standards
- Patient Safety
- Industry Regulation
- Full Insurance