Massage Therapy Programs and Careers Q&A

What careers can I pursue with a massage therapy certificate?

With a massage therapy certificate, you don’t have to limit yourself to a career in traditional massage. You can also pursue a specialization such as medical massage, Asian bodywork, reflexology, shiatsu or another type of massage therapy.

Should you ever choose to pursue certification in another type of massage, having your basic certification as a massage therapist will make it much easier to obtain another, specialized certificate. Learn about your career options.

What degree programs will I take?

In order to get started practicing massage therapy, all you need is a certificate from a licensed massage therapy program. You can choose to complete the minimum training needed to begin practicing or spend more time on your program before taking the test for your massage licensure. Both of these paths have their own benefits and should be considered before enrolling in a program.

What can I expect after I submit a request for information to a school?

Once you’ve submitted your info to a school or program, you’ll be contacted by that particular institute to further discuss opportunities and courses available. During this conversation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask about class sizes, specific curriculum content and other questions you may have.

Is financial aid available for massage therapy school?

Financial aid can come from a number of sources, and every program’s financial aid offerings are different. If you choose to attend an accredited massage school, you could be eligible for federal loans and grants.

What types of courses will I take?

Massage therapy school will include classes on anatomy, health values of massage, theory of massage and pathology. Since many massage therapists are self-employed, coursework often covers business and license procedures as well.

Is it better to work for myself or an employer?

Working for an employer typically provides perks like medical benefits, but self-employment can allow for flexible work hours and a greater earning potential if you build a large client base. Choosing between having a boss and being the boss also depends on what type of setting works for you. For example, if want to help people heal from injuries, working in a rehab clinic may suit you whereas a massage therapist interested in travel or luxury might do well in a spa, hotel or cruise ship.

If I work for myself, what else will I need to learn?

Being self-employed means knowing how to run a business. You should enroll in accounting and business administration classes so you’re comfortable managing payroll and keeping books. If you plan to employ others, courses in human resources will be particularly helpful. You’ll also need to decide if you have the right personality to run your own business.

Does school program accreditation matter for massage therapy careers?

If you’re interested in applying for federal financial aid, school accreditation definitely matters. In addition, accreditation is the seal of approval that a program meets industry standards. Several accreditation agencies review massage therapy programs; find the complete list of organizations here.

What type of licensing (if any) will I need?

In most states, you’ll need to pass the MBLEx (Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam) in order to become licensed as a massage therapist. This exam is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

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