Here are the steps it takes to become a licensed massage therapist:
- Investigate the career thoroughly to make sure you know what you are getting into. It can be a more rewarding career if you understand the job outlook, job descriptions, salaries and the options for starting and running your own massage business.
- How much can you make as a massage therapist? You can make as much as you want. You have to have skills to negotiate better pay rates at jobs or start your own massage business.
- Understand the various career tracks: Wellness/Health Promotion and Medical Care.
- Understand massage licensing laws and requirements in the state that you want to work or set up your business. Each state is different.
- Research massage schools in your area and around the US. The closest school is not always the best school for you.
Types of Massage School – choose the best type of massage school for you. There are now 2 year community college programs in massage if you want to take your time and get more life experience. Small individually owned massage schools offer smaller classes with teachers/owners who are usually massage therapists themselves. Career Training Institutes offer a variety of training in different careers.
Evidence Informed Massage Schools – Schools are becoming geared more toward teaching massage based on the best evidence we have to date on how and why massage therapy works. Some others teach more traditionally based types of massage and antedotal theories that have been handed down without having evidence to back it up. (That is not necessarily bad – just know what you are getting.
Online Massage Schools – Hybrid massage schools offer some classes online. Be careful when choosing an online program as most state licensing requirements do NOT allow online education classes.
- Figure out how to pay for massage school. Use your savings, find scholarships/grants/loans.
- Complete the school program with passing grades.
- Complete the application with the state board of massage that you want to be licensed in.
- Take the required school and state massage licensing tests and pass.
- Go the extra mile and take the Board Certification test (if it is not required by your state). Board Certification shows you are committed to the profession and maintain continuing education requirements.
- Getting your massage licesnse is just the very first step in your career in massage therapy. It takes much more than passing massage school and a test to become a successful massage therapist.
- Find a job in massage.
- Start your own massage business.