How to become a Massage Therapist

  • To become a massage therapist, one should complete an entry level education (high school diploma or general equivalency diploma or GED) degree) before enrolling in an accredited massage therapy school. One should select a massage therapy program based on the state’s licensing department. In general, massage therapy programs are offered at post-secondary colleges, including community colleges. It has been reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that massage therapy programs offered at post-secondary institutions need extensive training of more than 500 hours in various health fields such as human anatomy and physiology, ethics and kinesiology (a branch of science that deals with human movement), followed by basic business management. Keep reading for more information about how to become a massage therapist.

  • Moreover, one should complete a specific coursework in a clinical massage therapy program to gain work experience in a clinical setting. Various massage therapy schools offer different massage therapy programs; while some offer diploma programs that include only general therapy. One can prefer taking up courses in one’s field of interest such as Swedish-style massage, Indian ayurvedic massage, facial techniques, clinical aromatherapy, nutrition, lymphatic drainage techniques, and Oriental bodywork theory, to include a few.

    One should obtain a license on passing an examination officially conducted by the state. Sometimes, one may require tests with national recognition. These include the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

    Why to become a massage therapist?

    There has been a sudden hike in demand for the massage therapists as the number of spas have currently increased and thousands of therapists are employed immediately on completion of their massage therapy programs. This is also due to increasing number of massage clinic franchises that offer affordable massage services to large number of customers. Moreover, one can have a lucrative and respected career by treating pain and improving an overall state of wellness in clients. In addition, one can start earning soon after completing just less than 12 months or 2 years of massage therapy training program.

    Currently, the massage therapists are at a higher demand than before and according to the BLS, the employment for them is more likely to increase by up to 20 percent by the year 2010 to 2020. Massage therapists tend to get new job openings with continued demand for massage services in future. Apart from receiving competitive salary, one can gain more salary benefits by becoming a certified massage therapist.

    Massage therapist requirements

    On successful completion of massage therapy program that usually lasts for 1 to 2 or less than a year, one can apply to take either the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage or the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work. The candidate then can obtain certificate on completion of exams, Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB).

    One should understand that every state requirement for becoming a certified massage therapist will be different. The number of hours of massage training varies for different states. It has been reported that at least 500 hours of training time should completed in case of the NCBTMB. Many schools offer massage programs during the weekend; while some offer as evening classes. Some schools offer massage therapy programs that usually last for less than a year, while others may offer massage therapy courses that may require up to 2 years of massage education and training. On completion of program, one should learn whether the state requires certification. One should apply to either of the exams, the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work or the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage as conducted by the NCBTMB.

    To become a certified medical massage therapist, one should complete a typical educational coursework that includes medical subjects like human anatomy and physiology. Moreover, one should learn the difference between medical massage therapy and a standard massage therapy as a medical massage requires in depth knowledge of skeletal and muscular conditions. For this reason, one should learn various anatomy and physiological mechanism of various parts of the body. The education and training for a certified massage therapist initially focuses on body parts like the hand and arm; before moving to the leg and feet; followed by the neck and shoulders; then back, and so on.

    Massage therapist training

    On enrolling into an accredited massage therapy program, one should complete various phases of program as mentioned below:

    On completion of anatomy, the latter part of the medical massage section includes treating specific medical conditions like actual application of massage tasks. During this curriculum, the massage therapist learns about certain objectives in particular such as focusing on patient complaints to improve the condition; mechanism of reducing the inflammation; and establishing normal ranges of motion as in case of knee pain or joint ache.

    On completion of second section of massage therapy program, the final step focuses on educating the therapists about clinical protocols and patient management. During this period, candidates will learn about reinforcing an appropriate type of treatment depending upon the patient condition; frequency of treatment administration; and duration of treatment course. During this phase of education, one can gain extensive clinical experience.

    Massage therapist certification

    Various states have different massage therapy regulations. Although license for massage therapy is not required in all states, however one should follow certain regulations that are specific at a local level. If a state has specific massage therapy regulations, then one should either obtain a certification or license on graduating from an accredited massage training program. One can practice massage therapy only on obtaining state license. One can obtain license on passing an exam that is solely conducted by a state exam or from nationally recognized testing agencies. Some of these include the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB) and the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

    Massage therapist degree and education

    To become a massage therapist, the candidate should first complete an entry level education (high school education or an equivalent degree) before enrolling in a degree program offered at private or public postsecondary institutions. The candidate should undergo at least 500 hours of training time that includes practical experience and clinical training in natural health practices like anatomy, physiology, business management; kinesiology, ethics; and the hands-on practice of massage techniques. Massage therapy degree can be obtained on successful completion of an accredited massage therapy program.

    How much does a Massage therapist earn ?

    The annual salary for an average massage therapist is around $34,900 per year and an average hourly wage is around $16.78 per hour. Read more information and facts about Massage therapist salary.

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