Massage Therapy Education
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
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
avoid a lot of unnecessary setbacks and costs. The most successful massage therapists follow these steps when starting their career:
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.
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:
- Focus – In order to give a great massage, it’s necessary to tune out all other distractions and focus only on the client.
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.
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.
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
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 24 percent through 2026. That is much faster than the national average for all careers. By 2026, an additional 37,700 massage therapists will be added to the pool of 160,300 working nationwide in 2016. In that same year the median salary was reported to be $39,860 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
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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