Massage therapists need specialized education and training.
Massage Therapy Career
Massage therapists use many techniques to manipulate soft tissues and muscles in the body. They can use their hands, elbows, forearms, and feet to perform massages.1 Massage is not just for spas; it is a “health and wellness profession”. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) estimates that there are over 300,000 US massage therapists. There are over 350 massage therapy schools that are accredited. In order to receive massage therapy training, at least a high school diploma is required; higher education is helpful, though. Massage therapists may find it useful to have education in business, humanities, science, and physiology and anatomy. Massage therapists have flexibility in their profession to work in a variety of settings, and they can choose the number of hours they work. According to the AMTA, “full time is defined as 17 or more hours of actual massage per week”. The rest of the professional work week is typically spent on marketing, housekeeping, billing, scheduling, etc. Massage therapists can choose to practice on cruise ships, in salons and spas, and at hotels or resorts. They can also work with sports teams, at health clubs, onsite at offices or airports, or in hospitals. They could work in medical offices or practice with chiropractors. They may even have their own office or practice massage in people’s homes.2
Massage Therapy Schools
In order to become a massage therapist, it is necessary to complete a training program, followed by any necessary requirements for licensing or other credentials. If massage therapy is regulated in the state or city, the therapist will likely need to pass an exam, such as the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx). Massage schools are accredited by the United States Department of Education (USDE), and there are other accreditation options from other organizations, such as the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Massage therapists can also be certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).3 There are many websites online that can provide information and referrals to various training programs.4 The Soma Institute, in Chicago, is a national school for clinical massage therapy. It is nationally accredited and it offers its students career placement assistance.5 Pima Medical Institute also offers a massage therapy program. They have a day spa to give students experience. Pima is nationally accredited, and it has many locations in several western states.6
Check out more information about massage therapy and chiropractic.