As you begin your research and search for a massage school, become familiar with these terms.
Accredited Massage Schools – Accreditation is an extra credetial that can be obtained by massage schools. It does not necessarily make it a good school. Accreditation means a school can offer you Title IV funding and allow you to receive federal financial aid.
Here are some of the possible accreditations available:
- United States Department of Education (USDE)
- Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
- National Accrediting Commission of Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Certification – Certification is an extra credential that is given by an approved third-party that may be helpful after graduating from massage schools. It is not the same as getting a massage license. A massage license is done through the board of massage. Many schools will say that they offer a Certification in some type of massage but that is inaccurate. Schools may give a certificate of completion of their program to qualify graduates for state licensing. The only certifications offered in the massage profession are the Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB®) with the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), Structural Integrators, and Reflexologists. See also: Licensing definition below and the list of State Massage Licensing Boards.
For more information on the difference between Certification and Certificate see CERTIFICATE VS. CERTIFICATION: CREDENTIALING TERMINOLOGY MATTERS by Whitney Lowe
Entry Level Analysis Project (ELAP) – This is a comprehensive study that was done in 2013, that has determined the basic competencies that massage therapists will need when they graduate from massage school. This project defined knowledge and skill components of entry-level education and recommend the minimum number of hours schools should teach to prepare graduates for safe and competent practice in the massage profession. The recomended number of hours is 625 hours but there are specific courses, skills and knowlege that need to be taught within that 625 hours of education. See www.elapmassage.org
Evidence Based Massage Therapy – Massage schools are moving toward teaching evidence based massage therapy. It is more about the narrative that teachers give about how and why massage therapy works. Massage schools have in the past taught many different things and have made false claims about many areas of massage therapy.
Massage Licensing – States that have massage licensing laws set up Massage Boards to create the rules for becoming a licensed massage therapist in each state. The path to licensing usually looks like this: Go to massage school that meets the states requirements for licensing (may need to be a board approved school in some states >>>> Pass the school program>>> Fulfill the other requirements for licensing set up by your state (background checks, finger printing etc) >>> Take the required test which is either the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam or the Board Certification Exam>>> Apply for your license through your state board of massage to practice massage.
- Career Training Institutes
- College Programs
- Corporate Massage Schools
There are literally hundreds of different types of massage out there to get yourself and to give in your career. Massage School will usually start you out with some basic forms for you to build on later.
Swedish Massage – is a type of massage therapy that has specific strokes or movements that you make with your hands/arms to give massage. It can be used for relaxing, pain reduction and reducing stress.
Deep Tissue Massage is really a misnomer as it is not about a type of massage but the depth of pressure that you are applying during the massage session. Classes will teach you how to apply more pressure safely and also work the deeper muscles of the body.
Sports Massage is usually touched on in basic massage school to give you the basics of how to work with athletes. It is not so much a technique as it is a way of thinking to create a session plan for the athlete in training, in competition or in rest periods.
Pregnancy Massage again is not a type of massage but a way of applying whatever type of massage you know to women who are pregnant. Stages of pregnancy may require various positioning of the client for safety and comfort.