We live in a world of convenience. It seems like every device, service, and new technology is geared toward making our lives less complicated and more efficient. Information is coming at us 24 hours a day, to the point where it is impossible to absorb everything. That’s just the nature of modern life. Sometimes it’s more about filtering the information we don’t need rather than seeking the information we do need.
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.
So what does this have to do with being a massage therapist? In this age of constant information and speed, people want to get things done as quickly as possible. When you think about completing a new task or reaching for a new goal, you immediately think about how long it is going to take, how much money it’s going to cost, and what kind of effort you’re going to have to put in. This is only natural because he gives you a realistic idea of what it will take to reach a goal.
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.
In terms of being a massage therapist, people often wonder what kind of commitment is necessary to fulfill the licensing requirements for a practicing massage therapist, and how quickly they might be able to start along the path of offering professional massage therapy treatments in the real world.
The answer varies from state to state and from program to program, but 600 hours of training is a good benchmark for what it actually takes to acquire the knowledge and techniques of professional massage therapy.
Does 600 hours seem like a long time? It actually is a long time — that’s because there is a big difference between professional massage therapy and simply knowing a few massage techniques. Certification in professional massage therapy is going to give you a wide range of practical knowledge, including a working knowledge of various types of massage, including: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, prenatal massage, chair massage, energy work, hydrotherapy, reflexology, trigger points, myofascial release, and more.
It’s also going to give you a blend of classroom and real world experience. No massage therapist should be certified and licensed to practice without a substantial amount of experience treating actual patients in the field. Another thing the coursework is going to give you is practical knowledge of how to run a massage therapy business in the real world, and what it takes from an administrative standpoint.
Completing the requisite hours and earning a massage therapy certification will take different amounts of time, depending on how intensive your program happens to be. A common setup is to complete about 4 classroom hours per week, plus one or two weekend workshops per month. With a schedule like this, massage therapy programs often wrap up after 9 or 10 months of study.
One thing is for certain: Massage therapy isn’t one of those “quick” professions you can simply learn in a few hours, get your certificate and be on your way. It takes a strong commitment and dedication to learning the craft in a comprehensive way — that’s the only way to ensure you’ll have the knowledge and skills you need when it comes time to treat patients out there in the real world!
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.