3 Things to Look for in a Massage Therapy Program

The number of massage therapists across our country is on the rise. As a result, there are also more massage therapy training programs than ever. Depending where you live, there may be dozens of programs in your area that can give you some kind of massage therapy certification. That doesn’t mean, though, that all of the programs are equally valuable to aspiring therapists. When it comes to choosing the right program for you, consider the following three factors that will help you separate the mediocre programs from the excellent ones.

Range of Modalities Taught

There is a wide range of styles and techniques that massage therapists use in their day-to-day work. When choosing a program, you want to ensure that it will provide you with adequate training on a wide variety of massage modalities. While most programs will start with Swedish massage, which is often the most commonly used modality, a qualified massage therapy training program won’t stop there. Make sure to ask any prospective programs about what modalities will be taught, and to what extent.

Alumna Employment Rates

While there are plenty of people who feel passionately about massage therapy and want to learn more for their own enrichment, most individuals will pursue massage therapy training in order to secure a job in the field. If you want to work as a massage therapist once you’re certified, it’s natural to be curious about how difficult or easy it is for graduates of a given program to find work after they’ve completed their training. When researching massage therapy programs, ask for employment statistics for recent graduates. Another good question to ask is if the program has a career services team and what sorts of support is provided in finding employment.

Specialization

Find out what the specialization of a school is before committing to it. There are plenty of schools that solely train students in massage therapy, and others that lump massage together with dozens of other skills and certifications. Although there are exceptions to every rule, in general you should look for a program that specializes in massage therapy above all else. Choosing such a school will often guarantee higher quality instructors and curriculum.

Choosing an Excellent Massage Therapy Program

Whatever you do, don’t jump a massage therapy training program without doing adequate research. While getting certified as a massage therapist can be an enjoyable and enriching professional experience, there are plenty of programs that provide substandard training, or that don’t provide training on all specializations. Choosing a high-quality program will increase your chances of having a positive learning experience and having a good start to your career when you finish school.

Your best bet in getting reliable and unbiased information about massage therapy programs is to ask to be put in touch with recent graduates. Massage therapists who have recently completed a given program will be able to speak to the quality of instruction, the preparation provided, and their ability to find a job upon completion of the training.

4 Big Benefits of Massage Therapy Certification

Anybody who has ever experienced a professional massage knows the difference training makes. That’s not to say that casual shoulder rub from a partner or friend isn’t relaxing — but when you lie down on that table for a professional treatment, you know it’s not the same thing. So why should you consider enrolling in a massage therapy certification course? Here are four big benefits of doing so.

1. Job prospects

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, massage therapists are in greater demand every year. Specifically, a 23 percent increase in gainfully employed massage therapists is expected between 2012 and 2022. Also consider the fact that the number of office jobs is expected to rise continually into the future — massage therapy is becoming more and more relevant on the job market. Being trained in professional massage is reliable professional skill, and will only become more reliable in coming years.

2. Your own practice

Setting yourself up as a certified, licensed massage therapist is the best way to become an independent massage therapist in your area. A lot of professionals appreciate the ability to set their own schedule and build their own client base, while making a name for themselves in the community. Of course, it’s possible to prey on the public and offer massage without the proper training. But this should never be done without proper training and certification — especially if you want your practice to thrive.

3. Diversity of skills

People often don’t realize how in-depth and comprehensive a proper massage therapy certification course should be. Reputable program teach a wide array of techniques and disciplines, including: Myofascial release, reflexology, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone therapy, hydrotherapy, chair massage, trigger points and more. Maybe of the best programs involve up to 600 hours of hands-on training — so when you finish the course, you can expect a broad range of experience and knowledge.

4. Industry insight

A good massage therapy certification course should not only train you to deliver professional treatments in a variety of settings — it should also give you plenty of practical insights and information to prepare you for the business. Did you know that many healthcare programs (and medical professionals) are adding massage therapy to their wellness programs, and recommending therapeutic massage to their patients? Health insurance programs are also covering massage more frequently. Professionals looking to enter or strengthen their presence in the field of massage therapy need an active understanding of how the business is evolving, in addition to all of the necessary technical skill and knowledge.

Choosing the right course

Obviously, not every massage therapy certification is created equal. When you look for a program, focus on those that go deeper into the study of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Having a grounded understanding of the human body is vital to mastering the practice of massage therapy. Also look for programs that offer hands-on clinic time and are dedicated to ethical business practices in the community. It’s also important to know that the certification you receive will meet or exceed the massage therapy certification standards of the State in which you live and intend to practice. Do your homework before you choose a program — you’ll be glad you did!