Massage therapy programs teach students to heal with their hands.
The field is usually not regulated, so there are a lot of disreputable
schools out there. Make sure a school is on the up and up. First, check
if the school is approved by an accrediting organization such as the American
Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Students should also be aware that a license earned in one state does
not guarantee licensure in another. Check the requirements of the state
in which you want to practice.
"Students should look for the number of years a school has been in business,
the success the school has on the board examinations and the percentage of
graduates that are working," advises Brad McCutcheon, a former massage therapy
Margaret Avery Moon, owner of the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts
in Arizona, says students should look for schools that hold a state license.
She adds that you may even want to consider a two-year or four-year degree
"Stay away from apprenticeship programs -- they tend to be illegal
operations and therefore not preparing you for licensure," she warns. "Stay
away from 'cheap' schools. Plan to spend quite a bit on your training."
Moon says most people don't get into this training right out of high
school. "A high school student who is thinking about massage may want
to wait until he or she has finished a few years of working in other jobs,"
That said, there are high school courses that will help, says McCutcheon.
He recommends biology, interpersonal communications and art. "Massage
is a science and an art, and communication is of utmost importance when dealing
with patients," he explains.
Laurie Levy, an instructor at Brenneke School of Massage in Seattle, believes helpful
courses include biology, business, marketing, communications, psychology or
Moon emphasizes the importance of physical fitness. "The physical
aspect of doing massage can be tough," she says.
You should also experience a massage yourself. "Receiving professional
massage is probably the most important step in preparing for training. It
is vital for a student to understand what it is like to be a client," Levy
Besides tuition and books, you'll need to pay for uniforms. "Students [may]
need to purchase a massage table, supplies [sheets, oils, lotion] and professional
massages for themselves," Levy says.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Physical
Therapist Assistants and Aides
Massage Therapy Education and Requirements Listed by State
Find out what you need to do
Global Directory of Massage Therapy Schools
From Massage Therapy Web Central