Soft Tissue Therapy HNC

Course code 161B

What is special about this course?

The HNC Soft Tissue Therapy has been designed for those who want to perform hands-on treatments with people who participate in sport. The treatment could be designed to help an athlete optimise their performance, or help aid recovery from injury that has been diagnosed by an appropriate medical professional.

Achievement of the award will allow you to work with any athlete from recreational through to elite level performers. It will also allow you to work within a sports medicine team, beside other professionals, such as: sports medicine doctors; physiotherapists; general, strength and conditioning coaches and nutritionists; or independently in a clinic-type environment.

You will also have the opportunity to progress on to the second year of the HND Sports Therapy.

Special features

  • You will gain the knowledge and understanding required to analyse, plan and evaluate appropriate soft tissue treatment
  • You will also have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skill in administering accurate and appropriate soft tissue treatment and provide appropriate after and home care*
  • This programme may include weekend and twilight (5pm – 9pm) classes/clinics
  • You may be eligible for professional body membership on completion of a sufficient number of logged practice hours.
  • You may have the opportunity to provide support for a variety of sport events
  • You may be eligible for reduced entry conference fees relevant to your field of study
  • During your practical work you will log a number of hours of practice that demonstrates your competence at using a variety of different techniques. This log, together with the HNC award, is the basic requirement for you to achieve membership of a professional association such as the Scottish Massage Therapy Organisation or Sports Therapy Organisation. Membership of a professional body assures the public that you are not only appropriately qualified, but will work within strict ethical guidelines laid down by the industry.

*You will be required to organise some of your own clients in order to practise sports massage.


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 2 Highers at grade C or above and a core skills profile at SCQF level 5 with communication at SCQF level 6, or equivalent, OR
  • 2 A levels at grade D and relevant GSCE equivalent core skills
  • Alternatively, Essential Massage Skills: Integrative Healthcare, Soft Tissue and Sports Therapy SCQF Level 5/6 OR
  • National Qualification at SCQF level 6, S/NVQ level 3, or equivalent, in an appropriate subject area eg health or sport
  • Applicants with relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage

You will be invited for a group and/or individual interview where you will get the opportunity to find out more about the course and tell us why you are interested in this subject area.

Year 1 - HNC

Subjects may include:

  • Basic objective and subjective assessment
  • Clinical and team experience 1
  • Clinical sports massage
  • First aid for sport and fitness
  • Flexibility training
  • Functional anatomy
  • Pathology and aetiology of sports injury
  • Prevention and management of sports injury
  • Research investigation in sport
  • Sports massage for events and special populations
  • Sports therapy: anatomy and physiology
  • Sports therapy: exercise principles and testing
  • Sports therapy: graded unit 1
  • Sports therapy: professional standards

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)

You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures, tutorials and practical sessions in college and in the community. 

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • Perth

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2022-232023-24
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2022-232023-24
Full-time per year £7,110 £7,110
Part-time (per HN credit) £474 £474

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2022-232023-24
Full-time per year £7,440 £7,980
Part-time (per HN credit) £496 £532

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

Additional costs

Additional costs include:

  • Insurance (£35)
  • College uniform (£15)
  • Massage couch (optional but good for practicing at home, approximately £60 - £80)

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of course you may gain employment as a soft tissue therapist, opportunities include:

  • Independent therapist
  • Employment within sports clubs
  • Working with other professionals (eg physiotherapists, coaches, strength and conditioning specialists, or nutritionists)
  • Employment in single or multi-disciplinary clinics providing clinical sports massage treatments
  • You can also diversify to apply your skills to treat overuse injuries in an occupational setting

Can I progress into further study?

You may be able to progress to the second year of the HND Sports Therapy or BSc (Hons) Integrative Healthcare.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Soft Tissue Therapy HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2023

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.