Every year, new information and statistics are revealed about massage therapy. What are we learning about this booming industry? Basically, we’re learning that it’s “booming” for a reason: The health and wellness benefits of professional massage therapy services are well documented, and the body of evidence is growing all the time. The pool of clients is growing, as is the pool of massage therapists.

To that end, there are a lot of massage therapy schools courting new students. But there’s an obvious (yet important) question that needs to be asked: Is one massage therapy school as good as the next?

The answer, quite simply, is ‘no’ – there are significant differences between massage therapy schools, just as there are with other fields of study. Here is a breakdown of some of the most important differences:

1. Student-to-faculty ratio

Studies have shown that better student-to-faculty ratios have a direct impact on the quality of education received. In the field of massage therapy, smaller classes provide more individual learning opportunities for each student, and allow for more personalized feedback and instruction. You’re bound to have questions during your journey through a massage therapy certification program, and your skills will progress much faster if you have easy and convenient access to your instructors.

2. Variety of techniques

Massage therapy includes a vast field of knowledge and incorporates many different techniques. Examples include Swedish, deep tissue, therapeutic, Thai, and sports massages. There are many other massage techniques; this is only a short list. When you inquire with a massage therapy school, you’ll want clear information on what techniques are included in the curriculum, and whether you as a student will be able to ‘focus’ on certain techniques over others. Different programs have different ways of going about this, but a broad range of techniques should be properly and correctly taught in order to maximize the student’s potential as a therapist.

3. Student clinics

Not every massage therapy school has a student clinic, in which massage therapy students have the opportunity to refine their skills in a hands-on environment will real clients. This “real life” experience is a crucial aspect of training, and students of massage therapy schools that don’t have a student clinic (or other opportunities for hands-on training with real clients) are going to be far less prepared to succeed in the real world of massage therapy.

Taking massage therapy to the next level

The opportunities for a successful and rewarding career in massage therapy have never been greater. If you (or someone you know) are thinking about entering the field, one of the very best pieces of advice you can receive is to research schools carefully – don’t rush into anything! Compare the various curriculums, including the balance between classroom learning and hands-on training. Also pay close attention to whether or not the school prepares students for the business and administrative side of being a massage therapist. A well-rounded set of skills is essential in order to deliver next level massage therapy to your clients. Good luck!

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