How to Become a Massage Therapist
If you’re passionate about helping others, enjoy working with your hands and consider yourself a good listener, then a massage therapy career might be for you. Like physical therapy, massage therapy involves a variety of bodywork techniques designed to reduce stress, improve circulation and help clients heal from injuries. It’s a well-established career path and one that’s currently experiencing a lot of growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent employment growth rate for massage therapists between 2014 and 2024. To find out more about massage therapy and get some expert tips on becoming a therapist, we sat down with the team at Massage Envy Franchising, LLC.
Here’s what you need to know about becoming a massage therapist.
1. Figure out what appeals to you about massage therapy
Like any career, becoming a massage therapist begins with deciding what you’re passionate about and aligning your passions with the position. “I have always been passionate about helping people,” says Chrissy C., a therapist at a Massage Envy franchised location.* When thinking through her career options, she initially considered a position in healthcare before deciding to focus on massage. “I chose massage therapy because it helps people feel better, without being invasive,” she explains. Letting her desire to help others guide her career path turned out to be the right decision for Chrissy, who found her dream job when she joined the team at a Massage Envy franchised location.
Pro Tip: Although there are a variety of reasons why people choose to go into massage therapy (including perks like flexible hours and professional growth opportunities), what all massage therapists have in common is that they’re dedicated to helping others and comfortable working with their hands. If you share those qualities, then chances are that massage therapy could be a rewarding career for you.
2. Find an accredited program that meets your needs
Part of becoming a massage therapist means getting licensed to practice. This involves attending an accredited massage therapy program usually lasting between six to 12 months, where you’ll receive hands-on training and learn a variety of therapeutic modalities including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and sports massage. You’ll also develop a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology, learning how the different muscles and body systems interact with each other. Depending on your program and the massage therapy school you pick, you might also learn about kinesiology (the study of human movement) and pathology (the study of diseases).
Pro Tip: Since different states have different licensing requirements, a good place to start is by learning the requirements for your state. Once you know what credentials you need, you can look for an accredited program in your area.
3. Pick a massage therapy career setting that’s right for you
After finishing massage therapy school and getting your license, you’ll need to decide what type of massage therapy setting works best for you. Do you have a brain for business and want to be your own boss? Building your own practice or opening up your own studio allows you to experience the business side as well as the therapeutic side of massage. Do you prefer to work alongside others in your field and dedicate your time to performing massage instead of running a business? A spa, salon or franchise massage setting like you’ll find in a Massage Envy franchised location may be for you. There are several potential benefits to working in this setting: You’ll get on-the-job training by working with more experienced colleagues, you’ll have access to loyal clientele and you’ll be able to focus primarily on massage therapy as opposed to things like scheduling, marketing and billing.
Added bonus: You’ll be able to enjoy working in a dynamic environment. “We work within a team environment,” explains Johanna O., a therapist at a Massage Envy franchised location. “Everyone has their own strengths, and working with a diverse group of people really helps develop my personal skills. As a massage therapist, the more modalities I know, the better I will be with every client I have on the table.”
Becoming a massage therapist is an opportunity to be a part of a rewarding field while working on your professional and personal growth. By knowing what to expect and what you need to do to get started, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and getting one step closer to landing the job.
*Massage Envy Franchising, LLC (“MEF”) is a national franchisor of independently owned and operated franchised locations. Each individual franchised location, not MEF or any of its affiliates, is the sole employer for all positions posted by a franchised location, and each individual franchised location is not acting as an agent for MEF or any of its affiliates. Hiring criteria, benefits and compensation are set by each individually owned and operated franchised location and may vary from location to location.
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