Preparing for Massage School: 7 Things to Know
If you're considering going to massage school, you've probably got a long list of questions in your mind: Which are the best accredited massage therapy schools? How long is massage therapy school? What are the different types of massage therapy certifications? Or even should I go to massage school? Let’s answer some questions to help you along your career journey. Here are the top seven things you need to know before going to massage school.
1. Different courses vary in length and content.
The content of each course will vary slightly, but each will help you to learn how to do massage therapy including learning more about anatomy, basic massage techniques, health and safety best practices, and how to greet and re-book clients.
How long is massage therapy school?
The length of time that it takes to qualify as a massage therapist varies depending on each state's licensing regulations, and with different types of massage therapy certifications. In Florida, courses generally last 600 hours and take a minimum of five months to complete when studying full time.
A 600-hour massage therapy course can usually be completed in as few as five months when studying full time. However, should you decide to study part-time, courses can take longer to complete. The duration of your course will depend on whether you study part-time or full-time, with lots of schools offering night classes for people who need flexibility to work or parent during the day.
What are the main types of massage therapy certifications?
The main massage certification comes from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, though there are several other specialty certifications. For instance, you can get obtain additional certifications in medical massage, reflexology, practical acupuncture as well as a few other certifications.
2. You may need to fulfill some qualifications before beginning at massage therapy school.
The main massage therapy major requirements vary by state. Most schools will need students to have a high school diploma or another qualification at the same level, like a GED. That said, you may be able to qualify without this if you already have experience in another industry, so it's always worth getting in touch with a local therapy school to see what their application prerequisites are.
3. Massage therapy is a growing industry.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage therapy is a growing industry, with it being worth an estimated $18 billion in 2018. Revenue growth within the sector is expected to grow a further 1.9 percent annually until 2024. Now is a great time to start looking into what education is needed to become a massage therapist and embarking on a career in this growing sector.
4. You will need to plan financially.
You will need to consider how much you will need to spend on your education to qualify as a massage therapist. To give you an idea, the average cost of tuition varies between $8,000 and $11,000 for courses across the country. The specific fees for a course depend on the school's location and the state's qualification requirements. On top of this, you will usually have to purchase books and other equipment including your own massage table if these are not included in course fees.
5. You’ll need to find a school that's right for you.
Given how much time you will be spending studying, you need to find a school that is the right fit for you. These factors include not only practicalities such as course structure and fees, but also the school's ethos and teaching style. Schools often schedule in-person or digital open evenings that give you a chance to get an idea of what it is like to study there. You can also ask around to see if you can find any graduates who would be happy to talk to you about their experience at the school. Prospective students often ask, "What is massage therapy school like?" Speaking to past students can be a helpful way to answer those questions.
6. There will be other training requirements after you graduate.
You will likely need to take the MBLEx, which is the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. It's a standardized test that is required by many states to practice massage therapy. It can form part of a massage course, or it may be a test you need to take independently – it depends on individual training centers.
You will also need to complete Continuing Education (CE) coursework. Massage therapy licensees in Florida must complete 24 hours of CE by August 31st every other year. Current regulations mean that of the 24 hours, you will need to include one CE hour on human trafficking education, two Continuing Education hours covering the prevention of medical errors, two CE hours on Florida laws and rules, and a further two CE hours on Professional Ethics.
7. You will be able to have a varied and fulfilling career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for massage therapists is due to grow by 24 percent between 2016 and 2026. That's a much higher rate than the average for all occupations. You can use your Massage Therapy skills to work in a wide range of settings, from salons to chiropractor offices and even in hospitals, making it an exciting career for a wide range of people with varying goals and aspirations.