How To Become A Massage Therapist

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How Long Does It Take, What Degree Do You Need, and More

Massage Therapists

Massage Therapists perform therapeutic massages of soft tissues and joints. May assist in the assessment of range of motion and muscle strength, or propose client therapy plans.

Salary
$47350
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality




Table of contents
  1. Summary
  2. Steps to become one
  3. Popular degree levels
  4. How long does it take

Summary

Degree Certificate
Degree field Massage Therapy
License or certification Required
Duration to become one A few weeks to a few years
Difficulty to become one Medium

Becoming a massage therapist requires licensing, and most programs that provide the required training require a high school diploma to enroll. There are many massage therapy certification programs available around the country. Most commonly, they are offered at community colleges and vocational training schools.


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Massage Therapists Requirements

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Becoming a massage therapist requires licensing, and most programs that provide the required training require a high school diploma to enroll. Alternatively, many also accept a GED (General Educational Development). There are some programs that do not require any proof of schooling, but holding a high school diploma will also open up more job opportunities further down the line.

It isn’t absolutely necessary to earn top grades in high school to become a massage therapist. However, it is important to develop good study skills, since massage therapy programs entail a lot of memorization. In addition, it’s a good idea to pay special attention in biology and anatomy courses since knowledge of the human body is also taught in massage therapy programs.

Step 2: Complete a Massage Therapy Training Program

There are many massage therapy certification programs available around the country. Most commonly, they are offered at community colleges and vocational training schools. Vocational training or certificate programs are faster than community college programs, but the major benefit of a community college program is that a person also earns an associate degree along the way, which can be beneficial in other fields.

If a person is considering working for themselves as an independent massage therapist or starting their own massage therapy business, it’s wise for them to take courses in business administration, accounting, and other relevant fields.

There is also a proliferation of programs offered via the internet. A person who wants to go this route needs to make sure that the program meets their particular state’s requirements. It is also smart to check that the online school will help enrollees find and complete the practical, hands-on (in person) training required.

Step 3: Gain the Minimum Experience Required

As mentioned above, becoming a massage therapist entails studies and passing exams, as well as practice in the real world. Each state requires completion of a minimum number of hours of practicum before awarding a license for massage therapy.

The biggest benefit of an in-person school or vocational program in massage therapy is that they typically provide space for completing these hours right there. More than likely, they have a clinic with everything their students need, including real clients on whom to practice and learn.

Some states require more practicum hours than others; this can be as few as 300 or as many as 1000 hours.

Step 4: Become Licensed

To be a massage therapist, you will require a license. Each state will differ in its requirements, though. Some states administer their own exams for massage therapy, while several administer the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). In order to sit for these exams, many states also require that a person has completed some kind of a training program.

In addition, as mentioned above, a hopeful massage therapist must also show proof that they have completed at least the minimum number of hands-on training hours.

Step 5: Work as a Massage Therapist

Once a person has completed their training program (including the practicum piece) and passed their state’s licensing exam, they hold a license and are able to obtain employment as a massage therapist. Often these licenses cost money to obtain and keep.

In most places, the job market for massage therapists is rather good. Something to consider when choosing a training program is whether they help graduates with job placement.

Many massage therapists start out working in a salon or spa and may take on additional individual clients on the side. Eventually, some transition completely to independent work, or may open a salon of their own.

Step 6: Complete Continuing Education

Once a person is working as a massage therapist, they may be required by their state’s licensing entity to complete continuing education training. This varies from state to state, but even when not required, it’s a good idea for massage therapists to stay up to date on the latest developments in their field. Not only can this help make them more competitive candidates on the job market, but it helps them help their clients as well.

What degree do most Massage Therapists have

Post-secondary certificate

We did a survey to ask other Massage Therapists what degree they had when they first became one. Here are the results.

Post-secondary certificate
56.67%

High School Diploma
20%

Certificate
10%

How long does it take

A few weeks to a few years

The length of time from enrolling in a massage therapy program to becoming fully licensed and working as a massage therapist can vary greatly depending on three factors: where a person lives, which training program they choose, and how much time they devote. In some cases, the process is as short as a few weeks, but in others, it can take two years.


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