In This Episode You Will Learn: 

  1. How to find inspiring teachers.
  2. Why you should pay close attention to the amount of clinical hours prospective schools offer.
  3. What a massage schools’ website can tell you about the quality of their program.

Look Inward First

Bob McAtee, massage therapist, educator, and author, offers advice on how to choose a massage therapy school that enhances your strengths and promotes your health.

Bob has been practicing massage for 40 years and emphasizes how critical it is for prospective massage therapists to reflect on their personalities and needs before starting their search for a massage school. 

He recommends considering prompts like:

  • What is my personality like?
  • Am I good with people?
  • Do I like working with my hands?
  • Do I have issues with my hands, arms, or shoulders that might be problematic?

[6:51] “Injury rates for massage therapists are probably higher than they need to be. I have a general sense that massage training programs don’t focus on the strength and conditioning aspect of being able to do the work.”

Most massage therapists only last three to five years in the profession. It’s essential that students determine ahead of time whether they are cut out for the work.

Choose an Independently-Owned School

Bob prefers smaller, independently-owned schools to larger, corporate programs. He has noticed they tend to provide quality education and often are owned and operated by experienced massage therapists.

It’s a good sign if the school you’re interested in has a longer application process, an interview stage, or invites you to visit and attend a class. These traits demonstrate that it is strategic and intentional about accepting the right students.

Analyzing the websites of the schools you’re interested in is also a critical part of the discernment process. Bob says the best massage schools’ websites will:

  • Have a social media presence.
  • Give potential students a feel for what the school will be like.
  • Have student testimonials.
  • Publish graduation/certification rates.
  • Provide information about its faculty.

Research Program Hours and Instructor Credentials

Look into how many practice hours your state requires for you to be able to practice massage legally. Then, choose a school whose program offers that amount, at a minimum. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the foundation you need.

Bob believes that massage educators should have at least five years of professional experience. Seek out instructors who are well-versed in massage practice and pedagogy. If you feel stuck, ask a massage therapist in your town what school or instructor credentials they’d recommend.

A Strong Program Supports Holistic Health

Bob emphasizes to his own students the importance of ongoing education and self-care:

[20:42] “Staying mentally and physically healthy is important… I also try to emphasize that massage therapy is an art and a science. The importance of having anatomical knowledge in our business can’t be overemphasized, but at the same time there’s no one right way to do work.”

Great students and massage therapists are open to growth. Bob attests to how curiosity and a willingness to learn has enhanced his career and quality of life. Massage is a rewarding career, and Bob encourages students to pursue it wholeheartedly.

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Also Mentioned In This Episode: