Hopefully you have read through most of the information on this website and done futher research into careers in massage to help you determine if a career in massage is for YOU! There are various categories of practice and distinct career settings where you can start your career. Massage is both a wellness and medical career. There is no one career track and they can be intertwined in many different ways.
One of the first things you will want to know is will you be able to make a decent living as a massage therapist to be able to support yourself and your family or have it as a second income source. Massage salary statistics vary greatly. When a massage school website uses the BLS Salary Stats, they are inaccurately portraying the massage profession. These statistics are for full time work and massage therapy is usually less than full time hours, making the statistics skewed to make it look better than it is. The truth is you can make as much or as little as you want. It depends on YOU – Your ability to find jobs in massage and negotiate pay and benefits, your ability to build a massage business and your ability to connect with clients in a way that will help you be successful.
Will you be able to get through massage school and classes like anatomy, physiology and kinesiology? (No Math!) There are so many study resources these days and it is usually just a matter of repetition in the beginning to get through massage school and the massage licensing process. People of any age over 18 attend massage school. The average age of most massage therapists is around 45. Many attend right out of high school or after a career in other fields. It is a great way to supplement your income or make a living.
Will you have the freedom that many massage schools advertise? Not really…but somewhat. If you start a business, you need to think of it as a business and have set hours and policies. If you get a job in massage, you may be able to pick your hours but you still need to show up and be professional. Massage therapists have a tendency to not take those things seriously.
Do you have what it takes to become a massage therapist?
- A desire and willingness to help others and care for others and set boundaries in doing to to keep yourself healthy and safe? (You will be taught about boundaries in basic massage school and it will also be a career long learning process.)
- You will be touching people of all types, ages, sizes with various health conditions and yes body smells, skin conditions, scars and hair in a dark/dimly lit room in a state of undress (but under sheets for privacy). This often brings up other challenges.
- You will be challenged by clients/patients who ask for “happy endings”. You will learn how to deal with this in massage school. Make sure you know how and get all the information you can in school and when you work in the profession.
- Self care is essential in this profession. Be strong, healthy and have a good work ethic.
- Understanding your rights and things like job classifications will help you in negotiating your job pay and benefits. Many massage therapists are misclassified as independent contractors. Be sure to know the difference.
- While you think you might want to get paid ‘what you are worth’ or work on only clients ‘who value you’, that will never happen. Just get over yourself. People will never really pay you what you are worth. Money has little to do with worth.
- Most massage therapists start their own business either right out of massage school or at some time in their career. You will be working harder than ever. You will need to show up whether you have a client or not if you are serious about starting a business. People who find massage therapy as a second career do well in business.
Choosing the best massage school for YOU!
Choosing a massage school is often a process of visiting massage schools and finding the one that will work best for your schedule and budget. Your choice can also make or break your career. Your massage school should be able to help you through every stage of your career – from student, to job, to starting your own business. The problem is that most schools only teach you how to massage. They don’t teach you how to become a massage therapist. You will have to learn that on your own after massage school when you start looking for jobs or deciding if you want to start your own business. Learn more about massage schools and how to choose the best one for you.
Most states require that you fulfill specific licensing criteria. There will be a specific number of hours of training required and also specific hours of topics that will need to be studied. You will be required to take an exam that is approved by your state to get your license to practice massage therapy. You will often have to take a background check and be fingerprinted. Follow this Guide to Massage Licensing.