Considering a Career in Massage Therapy? We've borrowed from and expanded on the American Massage Therapy Association's guide to evaluating schools to help you sort out your decision. Each step has links to places in our website that address the issue under consideration. Please print out the page to use it as a guide, and feel free to email us with any questions any time. And best of luck in your search!
Your first step is to investigate massage therapy as a career.
1. Learn about the profession: Massage today is practiced in many arenas. We tend to think of it in three broad categories, Relaxation Massage, practiced from clientís living rooms to luxury resorts, Sports Massage, working with local softball teams to Olympic Athletes, and Clinical Practice, working with health practitioners in many fields to support the well being of their clients.
Practitioners in each area have many modalities to choose from. Learn the different styles of massage, and different places and ways that people practice their art. Get a strong sense of what areas most appeal to you.
2. Learn about licensing requirements in the state or city in which you would like to practice, How many hours of education, what classes, and what schools are approved to teach these classes? Is there a written test for licensing? A hands-on practical test?
3. Talk to a licensed massage therapist, or to the AMTA. Ask about the market in your area, types of massage that are growing in demand, and get feedback on schools. Ask them what criteria you should pay attention to in choosing a place to start your career.
4. Take time to personalize your approach. All massage schools and all massage careers are not alike. Take time to consider your own path. Now that you are more familiar with the options available, what would a successful massage therapy career include for you personally? What are your hopes and dreams?
Armed with this groundwork you are ready to begin to approach the schools:
1. Talk to several likely schools. Get a feel for who they are, and how they approach the work they do. Professional and Caring? Slick and Corporate? Very warm but maybe less professional? Are they trying to rush you into their program, or helping you make decisions based on your needs? You should feel listened to, supported by, and well connected to the school you choose.
2. Investigate the information you are given. This is an important investment for you. Stand up for yourself in demanding a reputable school that doesn't make false claims about what they offer. Talk to the AMTA about the schools you are interested in. Check with the State Licensing Board to find out what the pass rates are for graduates of the schools you are considering. And do talk directly to the competition. We can't stress enough the importance of actually going to the schools and evaluating what you've heard. If an admissions counselor is inclined to speak poorly of a rival, it may be that they are afraid you'll find out their rival is the better school for you.
3. Ask for a catalog. A good school will readily mail you a catalog on request. Read each catalog carefully to be sure the school's philosophy and programs match what you want from your training. Do they have the right kind of classes and number of hours for licensing? Do they offer the electives to make you more attractive as a prospective employee? Who are their instructors, and what standards are used to choose them?
4. Consider tuition, supply and book costs. What is the charge per credit hour? What are the payment options for your education? How much money is required to get started?
5. Consider the number of hours in the program - if your licensing requires 600 hours and the school insists you take 800 hours, are you locked into paying for a larger program than you need? If you decide upon a longer program, be clear about what you will get out of the extra hours that will add to your expertise in the field and make you a better, more well-rounded and in demand professional.
6. How long does the program take to complete? How flexible is the scheduling? Can you take evening classes? Is there any difference in the pass rate of students taking faster programs?
7. Attend an orientation or open house and/or audit a class. Visit the school and talk with an admissions representative, students, alumni, and faculty.
8. Determine whether the school is approved or accredited and by which agencies. Will the training transfer or be accepted by a different institution or licensing board?
9. Receive a massage from a graduate of the school and/or from a practitioner at the school's Student Clinic.
10. Find out how long the school has been in business. Is it a stable business? Is it state-licensed? Contact The State Department of Education to learn more about the institution.
11. Finally, find out about alumni support. Does this school provide active and on-going support and encouragement for its alumni, or just a job listing? Can you get continuing education to meet your C.E. requirements as a professional? Do they offer support in job placement, promotional services through alumni clinics, career placement, business opportunities, newsletters and website for alumni? A great school stands out in following through for you throughout your career.
From careful inquiry you can determine which school most closely matches your career intentions, time line for completion of training, personality, and budget. We're confident you'll choose our school- but happy to answer any questions even if your personal inclinations incline you elsewhere.
If you choose to become a Licensed Massage Therapist after making a thorough investigation into the profession, it will be a decision in which you will always feel confident. Massage therapy offers many benefits as a career path: the freedom of working for yourself if you choose, creating meaningful work you can enjoy, and helping other people improve their health and well-being. Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing health care professions today. Undertaking an education in Massage Therapy is a valuable investment in yourself and your future. Consider it carefully, and choose the best starting point for your own career in Massage.