Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who runs Active Health Group?

    Active Health Group was founded by Richard Johnson, who also founded the Sports Therapy Organisation back in the 1990’s.

    Richard has had a long career in the Health & Fitness industry, along with an entrepreneurial spirit that he imparts to his students.  He runs a very busy multi-disciplinary clinic in Manchester City Centre and also teaches and assesses for various establishments in the UK and abroad.  Richard also runs an educational consultancy and health coaching company.

    Richard has three passions in life; animals, sports therapy and nutrition, and is currently advancing his own clinical knowledge in Functional Medicine, training with two very prestigious organisations, Harvard Medical School and the Functional Medicine University.
    Whilst Richard is very much hands-on with all his businesses, he is supported at AHG with a great team comprising of our Clinical Director/Partner, Christian; Head of Centre, Karen B; Student Support, Siobhan; Admin Support, Liana and Karen H; Course Leader and IQA, Kirsty; Principal Tutors, Dawn, Brad, James and Neil.  We also have our supporting tutors; Erica, Beth, Alex and Martin. Our stress levels are kept low by our resident psychologist, Charmain.
    Whilst training with us at AHG you will also meet both STO and ITEC examiners who’s job it is to ensure good quality assurance on all of our courses.

  • Who validates/accredits the courses?

    Accreditation is usually something that is worn like a badge of honour for a training school, however, not all accreditations are the same.  We have ensured that our courses are accredited/recognised by the organisations that matter.  As we run different courses in various fields, we have different accreditations and memberships as appropriate.  All of our ‘Sports Therapy and Sports Massage courses are accredited by the Sports Therapy Organisation (STO).  Whilst STO used to be a ‘sister’ company to AHG, as both were founded by Richard Johnson, STO has since grown into a major accrediting body for Sports Therapy, and now accredits four Sports Therapy Degrees, five Level 5 Sports Therapy programmes as well as numerous CPD providers.  STO is also a verifying organisation for the Sports Therapy Regulator, CNHC, and are members of the governing body, GCMT and the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS).  We have various courses and qualifications, validated and accredited or endorsed by some of the leading bodies in the UK, including Sports Massage Association (ITEC Levels 3, 4 and 5 in Sports Massage Therapy) and REP’s (Fitness Instructor & Personal Training), and the International Institute of Complementary Therapy (IICT) for our complementary courses including Vocal Massage, Myofascial Release and Lymphatic Drainage.
    We run a full range of Regulated Sports Massage, Fitness and Education courses which are all awarding by ITEC a leading Ofqual Regulated Awarding Organisation.

  • Who issues the qualifications?

    We run various recognised qualifications: STO accredited Active Health Group Certificates and Diplomas; ITEC Awards, Certificates and Diplomas; and Protraining Certificates (for First Aid). Accreditation by our awarding bodies is a guarantee of quality. It means that the learning programme has been scrutinised and approved by an independent panel of experienced educational professionals and is quality audited annually. We have been licensed by our awarding bodies on the basis of our own quality systems. We have heard claims that some of the levels offered by other training providers are not to usual educational standards. We counter this claim by stating that our Level 5 qualification takes around 500 hours to complete, with students spending between 12 and 18 months in training. By its very definition, our Level 5 Advanced Diploma is the equivalent (in educational terms) of an HND or Foundation degree and is accepted by some universities (we haven’t tried them all yet) for entry onto their own BSc Sports Therapy programmes. We have also heard that our Level 5 Advanced Diploma has also been used by our graduates for entry into Physiotherapy and Osteopathy courses.  Our Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Sports Therapy gives access to the Sports Therapy Top-up Degree from Newcastle College, which is a one-year programme.  If you are interested in progressing to a Degree, you would need to contact your chosen Universities to see if they recognise our qualifications.

  • What types of courses do you run ?

    Our training portfolio covers Sports Therapies, Bodywork, Fitness, Coaching and also Teaching and Assessing. We also run CPD workshops for therapists and a range of home study courses.

    All of our courses are insurable for practitioners, therapists and trainers.

  • How do I pay for the courses?

    Our courses can be paid for by Cash, Cheques, Credit/Debit Cards and Bank Transfer.  Where instalments are available, these must be paid for by equal monthly direct debits.

    Due to the huge costs involved (which would have to be passed on to our learners), we do not offer Adult Learner Loans (19+/24+).

  • What happens if I cannot complete the home study in time?

    All of our courses come with an ‘expiry date’, just like you would get with a College or University course.  This ensures our courses are current and valid, and fall in line with Regulation policies.

    Maximum timescales are as follows:

    Level 3 – one year
    Level 4 – one year
    Level 5 – two years
    Level 6 – four years

    We understand that sometimes life gets in the way of study which is why we have our online classrooms and forums where you can get support from our tutors and your peers.  Our student support team are also there to help where required.  We look at cases on an individual basis, but always tell our learners that if they are undergoing any difficulties to let us know straight away so that we can help.

  • What are the job prospects for a sports therapist?

    Sports Therapists are gaining huge recognition in the UK, and this has led to more companies, sports clubs and individuals seeking their services. Recent Sports Therapy vacancies have been advertised with starting salaries of £27,000 pa. In private practice, average earnings of up to £60 per hour are possible. Some of our graduates have gone on to do the following jobs: Osteopathic Assistant, Football Sports Therapist (up to Premier League), Rugby Sports Therapist (up to SuperLeague level), Lecturing, Sports Injury Clinic, Private Practice, GPs’ Surgery, European Ski resort, Dance School. Some NHS trusts now employ Sports Therapists in the rehabilitation departments.

    Compared to other Health Professions, Sports Therapy, at only around 30 years old, is still in its infancy, which is why AHG is leading the way in getting more recognition and offers Business Building workshops for its students and graduates.

  • Where do you run your training courses from?

    Our aim is to ensure our students work in a relaxed and professional atmosphere, and similar to one in which they may be working in upon graduation. It is for this reason that we run most of our courses from our own purposely designed training centre, with attached clinic in Manchester City Centre. We have spacious training rooms, a resource centre/library with free internet access and full use of our comprehensive range of books, DVDs, videos and PC software, kitchen plus our on-site clinic. Our therapy clients know the high quality of our training courses, and will often volunteer for treatments from students. We also work with many sports clubs, so on-site work can also be arranged. We also offer students an online resource centre, giving access to websites, course notes, tests and exams. Fitness/Personal Training courses may be run from our local gym in Manchester.  Every year or two, we also run a Level 5 Sports Therapy course in London.

  • I have checked out other courses and yours seems expensive!

    Our Practitioner Level 5 courses prepare our graduates for a competent career in the industry. People regularly attend our courses after paying a few hundred pounds for a course elsewhere, and tell us that they wished they had saved their money and come straight to us! We pride ourselves on being the longest established private sports therapy training provider in the UK, and can boast that our graduates are some of the most respected.

    50% of our students have already done training with other schools, colleges and even universities, and pay us to ‘fill in the gaps’ in their training.

    Our reputation is everything which is why we have the very best tutoring team.  Part of the criteria for our tutors is that we will only employ someone who has a thriving clinic.  Good teachers do not come cheap!

    As the saying goes ‘buy cheap, buy twice’……..but not if you train with AHG!

  • What is the difference between a diploma in Sports Therapy and a Degree in Sports Therapy?

    Probably around £30,000!  In all seriousness, we are confident that our Advanced Diploma prepares you for work as well as, if not better than the BSc. The reason? Sports therapy is a hands-on profession, not academic, and we actually train BSc graduates (from sports therapy, physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation) on our sports courses because of the quality of our vocational training!

    We have had over 25 years experience in the Sports Therapy industry, including 18 years teaching the Advanced Diploma.  Considering feedback we get from some college/uni lecturers teaching after graduating just months before, we can see why there can be a lack of good quality teaching out there!   Teaching needs experience and that is something we have in abundance, considering our courses came before the Degree.

    It is also interesting to note that whilst the Advanced Diploma is accepted by the Regulator, not all Degree programmes are!

  • How long does it take to complete your Level 5 Advanced Diploma?

    Our Level 5 Advanced Diploma is run over 2 years and has been assessed at over 800 notional learning hours (approximately 8 hours per week).

    Some of our learners have come from different backgrounds (physiotherapy, sports massage, personal training etc), and have already covered some of our syllabus so can reduce the time taken to complete.

    Also, as a vocational course, if a learner can commit more time per week to complete the course, it can be done in less time than 2 years.

  • What is the difference between Active Health courses and those of other training providers?

    There is only one company that run AHG qualifications, and that is AHG!    We don’t franchise our courses, and we don’t have hundreds of colleges with varying standards. Where we license other providers to offer our courses, it is only people with whom we have many years working relationship. The training courses will be the same where-ever you choose, whether it be Manchester, London, Plymouth or Norfolk! When you train with us, you can be assured of the highest standard of training, backed by a national awarding body and working very closely with the governing body and regulator. We find some of the alternative therapy courses on offer by other training schools disturbing due to the huge variances of their standards. As an example, you can do a Level 3 Sports Massage course in 3 days at one institution but complete it over 1 year at another. There just doesn’t seem to be any standard. AHG have full control over the quality of their courses.

  • Do I need a degree to be a sports therapist?

    One of the main questions we are asked is “Do I need a degree to be a sports therapist?”, and the answer is “No”.

    The Sports Therapy diploma has been around for almost 40 years, and has always been aimed at getting its graduates either into work in sport or in private practice.  The first Sports Therapy degree was set up in the mid 90’s, and heavily weighted in academia.  Indeed Active Health Group have trained many degree graduates (of both Sports Therapy and Physiotherapy) who have decided to use our Level 5 courses as their ‘post-graduate’ training to gain the valuable hands-on soft tissue skills that we teach, and that are essential for this industry.

    Whilst experience has told us that you do not need a degree to work as a sports therapist, we understand that some people would like the challenge of undertaking a degree course.  We are pleased that our Advanced Diploma in Sports Therapy allows for accelerated entry onto the Newcastle College Sports Therapy ‘Top-up’ Degree undertaken over a year.


    With a progression route in mind, we also developed our own, which is the Level 6 Masters Diploma in Clinical Sports Therapy.   Unlike traditional university degrees, our Level 6 is a hands-on vocational programme, which builds on the Level 5 Advanced Diploma and includes our highly regarded Diploma in Myofascial Release.

    The Level 6 programme has a maximum duration of four years.

  • Sports Therapy or Sports Massage, Whats the difference?

    The two are commonly confused, however, Sports Massage is a single element of Sports Therapy.

    Level 3 Sports Massage focusses on basic massage techniques, performed on ‘non pathalogical’ tissue, or uninjured tissue. This level of course, in our opinion is suitable as a foundation course, but not practitioner level as one cannot work on injuries.

    Level 4 Sports Massage has additional soft tissue skills, and allows for sports massage to be performed to prevent and treat injury. As injury treatments primarily involve the use of additional techniques such as cryotherapy, ultrasound, taping etc, sports massage treatments will be very limited for this purpose.

    Level 5 Sports Massage involves a greater amount of functional anatomy.

    Sports Therapy courses start at Level 5 and their pre-requisites are Sports Massage and Anatomy & Physiology. Sports Therapy builds on Sports Massage to include advanced soft tissue techniques, orthopaedic assessments, cryotherapy, thermal therapy, athletic taping, sports first aid and exercise therapy. Most Sports Therapists will find that Sports Massage becomes a tiny proportion of their treatment.

  • How do I enrol on to a course?

    One each of our course pages you will find dates that are linked to our external booking site.  Click on your chosen course and then complete the registration form on our booking site.  Alternatively, you can call us on 0161 235 5307. Our standard terms and conditions need to be agreed to before an application is processed to an enrolment.

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