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Massage Therapy Schools

Massage therapy is an increasingly common component of many people's overall wellness regimen. Massage therapists have become respected partners in the field of health care and rehabilitation.

If your image of massage therapy is be limited to a dimly lit, aromatherapy-filled day spa, you might be surprised to discover that the field of massage and bodywork is actually very diverse. From craniosacral therapy to Thai massage, there are many ways you can specialize your massage practice.

Massage therapy schools will teach you the basics of bodywork with courses like anatomy and physiology, kinesiology (the study of motion), and pathology (the study of disease). You may also get the basics of running a small business, from accounting to marketing. Where you take your education from there is largely up to you.

Massage therapy specializations

There are numerous kinds of massage therapy and bodywork, called modalities. You may choose to focus on one kind of practice, like craniosacral therapy, or to incorporate a number of modalities into your practice, like Swedish massage, trigger point therapy, acupressure or deep-tissue massage.

Massage therapists can choose to specialize in a certain areas of the body. For example, there are massage therapists who are experts in treating backs or hips or feet.

Your client base is another way to specialize in massage therapy. Some practitioners work solely or partially with specific populations, like the elderly or pregnant woman.

Where massage therapists work can also be a specialty. For example, some may work within a rehabilitation clinic and focus solely on helping people heal from injury, while others may work for an athletic team and specialize in sports massage.

Massage therapy certifications and degrees

The College Board reports that many community colleges now offer associate degrees in massage therapy. Massage therapy schools also offer non-diploma training. Both paths can lead to state or national certification and will generally include a combination of classroom work and hands-on practice. To become licensed, massage therapists must complete a minimum 500 hours of study. To become board certified, the minimum educational requirement is 750 hours.

Most states, forty-four to be exact, regulate the practice of massage therapy. In those that due not, regulations may exist at the local level. Before you enroll in massage therapy school, it can be helpful to know your state's regulations. Two organizations offer nationally recognized certifications:

  • The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork offers two national certification exams, the NCETM and the NCETMB.
  • The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards offers the MBLEx.

Continuing education can allow massage therapists to become certified in specific modalities or for work with specific populations, such as prenatal massage.

Massage therapy salary and career outlook

If you are considering entering massage therapy school, it is important to understand your salary and career potential after graduation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), massage therapists earned national median salaries of $35,920 in May 2013. Salaries and wages can vary greatly within the field. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $20,000, while the top 10 percent earned over $71,020. The three top-paying states for massage therapists in 2013 were Alaska, New York and Oregon.

Once you graduate massage therapy school, will there be jobs available? According to the BLS, there will be promising opportunities for those with formal training and national certification. Overall growth of massage therapy is predicted to rise 23 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average. This growth is due in part to a growing acceptance of massage therapy by "traditional" health care providers. Massage therapists have become respected partners for treating injuries and working with patients with special needs, including the geriatric patients.

So, jobs are out there, but where will they be? The BLS notes the three states with the highest employment level are California, Florida and Texas. Projections Central predicts the greatest job growth for massage therapists will be found in:

  • Washington: 47.8 percent
  • Utah: 37.6 percent
  • Virginia: 35.2 percent

Building your massage therapy practice

For new massage therapists, building up a client base can be the biggest challenge. Massage therapy schools often teach students the basics of marketing and advertising. Networking and referrals, too, help to build up your client base. The BLS suggests specializing and training in specific modalities can improve your chances for a successful career in massage therapy.

Sources:

Massage Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm

Massage Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htmhttp://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319011.htm

Massage Therapists, Projections Central, Long-Term Projections, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Massage Therapy Schools
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Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln Technical Institute.

Programs : Massage Therapy, and more..

Campus Locations :

Lincoln: Lincoln Mall 622 George Washington Highway Lincoln, RI 02865

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

Programs : Diploma in Massage Therapy, and more..

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Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

Take your career to the next step with IntelliTec College.

Programs : Massage Therapist (Grand Junction), and more..

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Grand Junction: 772 Horizon Drive Grand Junction, CO 81506

Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.

Programs : Massage Therapy, AS, Physical Therapy Assistant, AS, Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Port Saint Lucie: 10330 South U.S. 1 Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

West Palm Beach: 2085 Vista Parkway West Palm Beach, FL 33411

Lakeland: 2400 Interstate Drive Lakeland, FL 33805

Sarasota: 6151 Lake Osprey Drive Sarasota, FL 34240

Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Earn Your Diploma from Home!

Programs : Relaxation Therapist, and more..

Campus Locations :

: , PA 94404

Explore a new career with Academy of Massage Therapy & Bodyworks.

Programs : Massage Therapy and Bodyworks, and more..

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Pottstown: 141 East High Street Pottstown, PA 19464

Prepare for a Career That You Will Love … in Massage Therapy!

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Tempe: 1409 West Southern Ave. Suite 6 Tempe, AZ 85282

Phoenix: 10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite D-100 Phoenix, AZ 85051

Flexible career learning to fit your busy lifestyle - National American University.

Programs : Therapeutic Massage A.A.S., Therapeutic Massage Diploma, and more..

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Hopkins: 10901 Red Circle Drive Ste. 150 Hopkins, MN 55343

Sioux Falls: 5801 South Corporate Place Sioux Falls, SD 57108

Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.

Programs : Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program, Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program, and more..

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North Hollywood: 5200 Lankershim Blvd. Suite #150 North Hollywood, CA 91601

With Miller-Motte you can expect the focus to be on you, the student, and your career. We are committed to Changing Futures, Changing Lives, and it all starts with you. You can rely on challenging programs, interesting curriculum, and educators with industry experience preparing you for your new future.

Programs : Massage Therapy - Diploma, Massage Therapy - Certificate, and more..

Campus Locations :

Augusta: 621 NW Frontage Rd. Augusta, GA 30907

Conway: 2451 Highway 501 East Conway, SC 29526

Roanoke: 4444 Electric Road, SW Roanoke, VA 24018

Lynchburg: 1011 Creekside Lane Lynchburg, VA 24502

Columbus: 1800 Box Road Columbus, GA 31907

Chattanooga: 6020 Shallowford Road Suite 100 Chattanooga, TN 37421

Fayetteville: 3725 Ramsey Street Fayetteville, NC 28311

Clarksville: 1820 Business Park Drive Clarksville, TN 37040

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