It’s a great feeling when you find a new career path that excites and energizes you. Suddenly you can envision a whole new routine and lifestyle for yourself, as you prepare to leave behind an old job or career that wasn’t really fulfilling to you. But everything is still in the “idea” phase, and some real decisions have to be made before you can take a concrete step forward.

This is exactly what many people feel when they decide to explore a career in massage therapy. It may be something they’ve always wanted to do; or it may be something that just caught their attention recently. Either way, the process of choosing a school and a specific course can be daunting. Depending on where you live, there may be dozens of schools and courses in the vicinity. Is one as good as the next? How do you go about making the most intelligent, informed decision? These are questions that every prospective massage therapist will ask, and it’s important to find the right answers.

Sometimes, knowing what to avoid in a massage therapy school can be just as useful as knowing what to look for. Here are three common mistakes made by massage therapy schools:

1. Not incorporating enough hands-on training

The classroom is an important element of training to be a massage therapist; but it’s only one element. It’s also important to get plenty of hands-on field training. For this reason, many reputable massage therapy schools have a dedicated student clinic where therapists-in-training can work on real clients, while being supervised by their instructors. The ability to apply classroom learning to real situations is an important prerequisite of any reputable program.

2. Not teaching a wide variety of massage techniques

When a massage schools focuses on just one or two types of massage, their students may learn those techniques very well. But there are many different healing modalities that are worth having in your toolkit. Look for a school that teaches students a wider array of techniques, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, Myofascial release, and other styles. The ability to blend and apply these different still will give each student a more versatile and dynamic practice.

3. Not preparing students for the business side of being a massage therapist

Like or it or not, being a massage therapist isn’t all about being skilled at massage. The business side of things is equally important, and if you don’t have those skills, you won’t be optimally prepared for long-term success in the business. Good schools dedicate serious hours to the administrative side of being a professional therapist.

Finding the right school for you

The last thing anybody wants is to embark on an exciting new chapter in life, only to find out later that the school they chose did not adequately prepare them for a successful career in massage therapy. It’s a booming industry, it allows you to work just about anywhere, and the possibilities for growth are limitless. But getting the best training is a hugely important first step. Research each massage therapy school in your area carefully, ask lots of questions, choose wisely, and enjoy this exciting new chapter in your journey!

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