As the old saying goes, time is money. But is that really true? When you’re talking about education and training that leads into a new career, spending more time is justifiable. After all, professionals that are rewarding and worthwhile take skills. Those skills don’t come automatically, without investing any time or money. If they did, everybody would do them. That what separates somebody who’s really driven, and really ambitious, from somebody’s who’s not.

But we all have to be practical. There are bills to pay and trips to fund. Embarking on a new career is one of the most exciting things in life, but it’s important to know how long it will take to become a professional who earns money in a given trade. Massage therapy is no exception. There are countless candidates out there who want a career in massage therapy, both for the economic opportunity it provides, and for the chance to make a living in a way that helps people. But they need to know how long it takes until the checks start coming in. That’s only fair.

Let’s cut right to the quick: 600 hours of coursework is a good benchmark for a quality massage therapy school. Depending on how many nights a week the class convenes, it’s often possible to complete this certification process in as little a six months. That means you could attend your very first massage therapy class and, if you stick with it, be working professionally within the year.

It might also take longer, depending on the requirements of the program and how many hours a week you attend classes.

But there are more important factors than “how long is this going to take” – after all, you’re embarking on a new career path. It’s much more advantageous to set yourself up for success by going through a rigorous program, and doing it the right way, rather than choosing a program that promises to have you working professionally in a very short amount of time. Those are the programs that tend to produce therapists who are either disreputable or simply don’t have the best techniques and methods for treating patients.

The point is that if you want to be a massage therapist, the rewards can be great – but it’s very important to choose a reputable school with an impeccable reputation and the highest scholastic standards.

Don’t take the easy path

There are massage therapy schools out there that promise to rush you through the training and have you working with paying clients in very short amount of time. You should always make sure the school’s program meets your state and local standards for certification in massage therapy. Beyond those basic requirements, always look for a school that goes above and beyond to prepare you for working with real people in the real world. Of course, this involves comprehensive training in a number of different massage disciplines – but it also requires knowledge about the administrative and business side of being a massage therapist, whether you plan to work independently or with a team of professionals.

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