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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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Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

Programs : Massage Therapy, and more..

Campus Locations :

Visalia: 3356 South Fairway Visalia, CA 93277

Nampa: 1021 West Hemingway Nampa, ID 83651

Clovis: 731 W. Shaw Ave Clovis, CA 93612

Bakersfield: 2822 F Street Bakersfield, CA 93301

Sparks: 950 Industrial Way Sparks, NV 89431

Palm Desert: 75-030 Gerald Ford Drive Suite 203 Palm Desert, CA 92211

Set your career in motion at Virginia College.

Programs : DIP-Therapeutic Massage, and more..

Campus Locations :

Birmingham: 488 Palisades Blvd. Birmingham, AL 35209

Biloxi: 920 Cedar Lake Rd. Biloxi, MS 39532

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

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Programs : Massage Therapy, Massage Therapy, Therapeutic Massage, and more..

Campus Locations :

Towson: 700 York Road Towson, MD 21204

Mobile: 3590 Pleasant Valley Road Mobile, AL 36609

Norfolk: 6300 Center Drive, Suite 100 Norfolk, VA 23502

Pensacola: 4081 East Olive Road Suite B Pensacola, FL 32514

Richmond: 2000 Westmoreland Street, Suite A Richmond, VA 23230

Scranton: 517 Ash Street Scranton, PA 18509

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

Earn Your Diploma from Home!

Programs : Relaxation Therapist, and more..

Campus Locations :

: , PA 94404

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

Programs : Diploma in Massage Therapy, and more..

Campus Locations :

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

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

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

Campus Locations :

Minneapolis: 7801 Metro Parkway Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55425

As a student at Southeastern College, you will gain the training, skills, and knowledge you need to start a rewarding career in growing occupations such as practical nursing, emergency medical services, medical assisting, massage therapy, and pharmacy technology.

Programs : Diploma in Massage Therapy, AS in Massage Therapy, and more..

Campus Locations :

Tampa: 15453 N. Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL 33618

New Port Richey: 6014 Hwy 19 North Suite 250 New Port Richey, FL 34652

West Palm Beach: 6812 Forest Hill Blvd Suite D-1 West Palm Beach, FL 33413

Arizona College prepares students to work in the 'real world' of medicine.

Programs : Massage Therapy, and more..

Campus Locations :

Mesa: 163 North Dobson Mesa, AZ 85201

Glendale: 4425 W Olive Avenue Suite 300 Glendale, AZ 85302

Start a great career in healthcare with Medical Careers Institute.

Programs : Massage Therapy - Associate, and more..

Campus Locations :

Newport News: 1001 Omni Boulevard Suite #200 Newport News, VA 23606

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