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Massage Therapy Schools and Training Programs

Do you want a career that enables you to help others? Do you like to work with your hands? Are you tired of sitting behind a desk all day, and would you prefer a job that allows you to move around a bit? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should look into a career as a massage therapist.

Careers in Massage Therapy

Massage therapists manipulate soft muscle tissue in order to relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and help patients recover from injuries. There are more than 80 different types of massage therapies, including Swedish massage, acupressure, sports massage and deep tissue massage. In many cases, the massage therapist will use a complementary treatment, such as hydrotherapy.

Benefits of Being a Massage Therapist

A massage therapist career is unique in a number of ways. First, massage therapists are often able to set their own hours and decide how much they want to work. This flexibility is perfect for those with families or people working more than one job. Second, massage therapists don’t have a lot of overhead. Many massage therapists go to their client’s homes, or work out of hotels. They don’t need to rent office space and hire receptionists. This means that can keep most of the money they make from their clients. Third, massage therapists are able to see the benefits they give to their clients immediately, which is very rewarding.

If you are seriously thinking about becoming a massage therapist, you should consider enrolling in a massage school. Earning a certification from a massage school can boost your reputation as a professional.

Massage Therapist Training and Educational Requirements

There are many options for massage schools, but there is also a hodgepodge of regulations on the professional practice of massage therapy. Be sure to research accreditation and certification requirements thoroughly.

Training

Most people interested in becoming massage therapists go to school close to where they live. Approximately 1,300 massage therapy schools are scattered throughout the country. Training programs are typically found in postsecondary schools, colleges and other institutes throughout the country. Course material generally includes anatomy and physiology as well as business ethics. Of course, hands-on practice always plays an important role in any massage school.

Training standards for massage schools vary from state to state. If you live in a state that regulates massage therapy you will need to graduate from an accredited massage school to practice massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Certification

Regulations on the practice of professional massage vary, and you will have to check with your state board to see what it requires. Several states require certification by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) for those wishing to begin a massage therapist career. In addition, many massage therapists decide to take the national certification exam.

No matter what your state’s requirements may be, it is always a good idea to attend an accredited massage school to ensure that you are properly trained and ready to practice. In addition, potential clients often prefer masseuses with more knowledge and training.

Massage Therapist Employment Opportunities

Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing sectors of the health care industry. More and more people are turning to alternative medicine, spiritual healing, holistic therapy and other noninvasive techniques to help them battle various illnesses or injuries.  

Employment for professional masseuses is expected to grow faster than average -- 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov).

Salary Potential for a Massage Therapist Career

The average hourly wage for a massage therapist was $19.12 in 2010, according to the bls.gov. Because many therapists work part time, yearly earnings can vary considerably. Also, many massage therapists receive gratuities.

Career Advancement in Massage Therapy

Career advancement is rather unique in the larger field of massage therapy. While many people work at spas, clinics, gyms, resorts, and wellness centers, the vast majority of massage therapists have their own private practices straight out of school, so career advancement is not always very important—but securing clients is.

Related Career Profiles on Health-Care-Careers.org:
Physical Therapy Training Schools

Additional Resources for Individuals Pursuing Schools in Massage Therapy:
American Massage Therapy Association
Massage Therapy Foundation

Campus and Online Massage Therapy Schools

 
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