If you’re interested in an entry-level career in health care, massage therapy is a fantastic place to start with many benefits. As a massage therapist, you’ll be able to provide beneficial relaxation and stress reduction services, as well as alleviating pain and other health issues.
State Massage Therapy Laws
To ensure client safety, most states have rules, regulations, and certification requirements to work in the industry as a massage therapist. There are only a few states that do not have state-wide regulations, but even they have other criteria before you can legally practice massage within certain cities and counties, such as minimum education requirements. New Jersey is a State that requires massage therapists to be licensed.
Local Massage Therapy Laws
It’s also extremely important that you understand as well as follow any applicable local and civil laws. While you can enquire with your local authorities or other local massage therapists, the American Massage Therapy Association and the Associated Bodyworkers and Massage Professionals are our two primary national massage associations and are the most trusted resources when it comes to accessing information regarding the most up-to-date massage certification requirements in your state.
Massage Therapy Education Requirements
A quality education in massage therapy is pretty much essential to get any work as a massage therapist. These massage therapy schools and programs offer certifications which can be earned in colleges, at private schools, or other massage-specific institutions. The Department of Education officially recognizes a number of different accrediting bodies for massage therapy programs such as AMTA, ABHES, COMTA, ACCSC, and others. As a massage therapy student, you can generally expect to complete around two years of training – or the equivalent of an associates degree — at a school before you can work professionally and legally in this field.
The education guide for massage therapy states that students usually need to complete between 500 to 1,000 hours of study and hands-on experience in training and educational programs before they will qualify you for certification and accreditation. Some of these programs provide training in techniques for generalized massage, while other schools teach skills in specialty massage styles. This enables professional massage therapists to use different and specific techniques to heal and treat certain types of ailments. New Jersey has a 500-hour educational requirement. You would then need to pass the Massage and Bodyworkers Licensing Exam (the MBLEx) in order to become licensed by the State so you could practice.
Specialty Certifications & Accreditations
Once you have earned your board licensing for massage therapy, you will then be ready to have a positive impact on the well-being of people’s lives in so many ways. But there are still a wide range of other options to continue your training in massage therapy and ultimately further your career.
Once you are fully licensed, you can earn a variety of certificates in specialized fields such as modality of massage or a specific client demographic. Pursuing one of these optional trainings or certifications will ensure your clients receive the very best possible care by elevating your standards of massage. An advanced education in massage therapy also shows prospective employers and clients that you’ve exceeded the minimum requirements, while also setting you up to possibly go on to teach your trade to others in the future.
The Last Word…
Besides requiring certification due to local regulations, you may also voluntarily become a nationally recognized massage therapist after several years of experience and minimum educational requirements through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB,) which is definitely one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition.