YOUR FUTURE AS A MASSAGE THERAPIST STARTS HERE

Browse hundreds of accredited massage therapy programs for free

CERTIFICATION

A massage therapy certification program will prepare you for professional licensure.

LICENSURE

Most states have certain training and licensing requirements you’ll need to complete.

CAREERS

A growing field, massage therapy can offer many opportunities from spas to clinics.

Massage Therapy Education

Are you looking for a career that is diverse, rewarding and in demand? If so, consider a career in massage therapy. The need for these health and wellness professionals is growing rapidly. And working as a massage therapist opens up chances to work around the world and with new people every day.

Massage therapy is a unique and exciting career opportunity. This site offers straightforward information on how to become a massage therapist and can connect you with the right school.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the field of massage therapy.

Massage Therapy School

There is a lot more to giving an effective massage than just applying a little bit of pressure. Massage is a complicated and nuanced series of techniques. And massage serves a number of purposes from relaxation, to therapy, to pain relief. It is a mistake to assume that anyone with a set of hands is ready to provide massage therapy.

In order to be effective as a massage therapist, you will need to complete a certificate program. These programs teach you the necessary skills and techniques. They are also a requirement to get a state license that most massage therapists much have to practice legally.

What you learn as part of a massage therapy program will depend on where it’s offered. However, there are broad avenues of study that are a feature of all programs:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • The history of massage
  • Basic and advanced massage techniques
  • Developing a treatment plan
  • Working massage into a larger health and wellness program
  • Performing massage on specialized clients like the elderly or disabled

Course work will include both classroom instruction and hands-on training performing actual massages. Some programs teach the fundamentals of massage along with complementary treatment methods like acupuncture and aromatherapy.

Upon graduation, massage therapists should feel comfortable performing both basic and specialized types of massage. There are lots of opportunities open to professionals just coming out of school. It is also convenient for many massage therapists to pursue continuing education while working full- or part-time. Once the initial training has been completed, a career in massage therapy branches off into lots of exciting directions.

How to Become a Massage Therapist

If you are eager to get your career started and achieve your goals sooner, it’s important that you follow a career plan. Know exactly what you need to do and when to get where you want to be helps you

avoid a lot of unnecessary setbacks and costs. The most successful massage therapists follow these steps when starting their career:

STEP
1

Study the Job

You might be attracted to massage therapy because you love getting massages. Or you might be interested in the booming field of natural medicine. No matter what your motives are, it’s important to learn about what life as a massage therapist is really like. The work is rewarding in many ways, but demanding in many others. And while some people are a natural fit for the role, others have less success. If possible, talk to a working massage therapist. It’s a great way to get insider information while also picking up helpful career tips.

STEP
2

Evaluate Your Skills

There is not one single model of a great massage therapist. People from all walks of life enjoy and excel at this job. But in order for your career to be marked by more success than setbacks, it’s important to have some specific skills going into your career:

  • Self-Promotion – Many massage therapists use effective self-promotion techniques to build up a roster of repeat customers and take advantage of referrals.
  • Business Management – It is common for massage therapists to work independently either in whole or in part. Being able to effectively manage the basics of a business is essential.
  • Calming – A good massage therapists knows how to create a calm and relaxing environment no matter where the massage is taking place.
  • Customer Service – The massage itself is only part of the experience. A good massage therapist makes it a priority to meet any and all of the client’s needs.
  • Personable – Massage therapists work closely with regular clients as well as a number of strangers. Having great interpersonal skills is important in both scenarios.
  • Skilled – In order to encourage repeat customers, massage therapists must be able to give massages that satisfy the client’s specific requests.
  • Dexterous – Being strong and limber throughout the body is important when giving long or involved massages.
  • Stamina – A massage can last for an hour or longer, which puts a heavy toll on the massage therapist. It is important to have the stamina for a long massage and for a full day of massage.
  • Empathy – Massage therapists work closely with patients on intimate matters related to health and wellness. Being able to understand the client’s feelings and reactions is crucial.
  • Focus – In order to give a great massage, it’s necessary to tune out all other distractions and focus only on the client.
STEP
3

Get Training

Once you’re ready to dive in you will need to complete a massage therapy training program. The length of these programs varies from just a few weeks to several years. In order to obtain a state license many regulatory boards required new massage therapists to have completed a set number of hours of actual massage. The longer the program lasts, the more of that requirement will be satisfied during your training. There are some online training programs available, but they will need to be supplemented by in-person instruction.

STEP
4

Become Licensed

Every state sets different requirements for getting licensed as a massage therapist. In addition to hundreds of hours of experience, applicants will have to pass a state exam and may also be required to pass a national exam. Some states also require license seekers to have liability insurance to get a license. Be sure to check on the requirements in your state to learn exactly what you need to do to work legally. Working without a license can subject you to stiff fines and put your massage therapy career into peril.

STEP
5

Develop Professionally

There are lots of ways to develop your credentials and accelerate your career as a massage therapist. Numerous professional organizations offer certification and training programs to teach more advanced skills. There are also parallel fields of study that therapists can focus on to expand their service offerings. A degree and a license are the ways to get a career started. Professional development is the way to push it forward.

What to Expect in a Massage Therapy Career

22
percent
job growth

$38,040
median salary

205,300
working massage therapists

One of the most exciting things about a massage therapy career is how diverse it is. There are massage therapists working in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, fitness centers, and often people’s living rooms. There are also opportunities to work at exotic resorts, on cruise ships, and with professional sports teams. No matter what your personal and professional ambitions may be, a career in massage therapy gives you lots of options to pursue.

The Bureau of Labor Statics reports that the demand for qualified massage therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2024. That is much faster than the national average for all careers. By 2024, an additional 36,500 massage therapists will be added to the pool of 168,800 working nationwide in 2014. In that same year the median salary was reported to be $38,040 per year. Since many massage therapists form their own practices, there is the potential to earn as much as you are willing to work.

Finding the Right Massage Therapy Program

There are a ton of massage therapy programs available in just about every part of the country. Before leaping at the first one you find it’s important to evaluate its quality and make some decisions about your long-term career goals.

The first and most important thing to consider is whether the program has been approved by the state licensing board. Not all programs are, and the ones that have not received accreditation will not count towards your required hours of experience.

To find the right accredited program, you should look at the coursework, the tuition, the time it takes to complete the program, and it’s prestige in the massage therapy field. You should also consider how much the program does to help you satisfy state licensing requirements, and what kind of services they offer to graduates like job placement or alumni networking.

The right education lays the foundation for all your future success. Learning as much as possible now will empower you to accomplish as much as possible later on.

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