Being a massage therapist is an exciting and meaningful career path. Your anatomical knowledge and manual manipulation skills will allow you to make a serious difference in the way your clients feel both physically and emotionally. Massage therapy can be used to alleviate stress, reduce pain and discomfort and even improve a person’s general physical health. Even though a career as a massage therapist might seem like a good fit, you may be wondering how long it would take for you to become one. What are your options after you are certified? Let’s take a look at how long it will take you to complete your training and some of the things it will take for you to have a long, successful career as a massage therapist.
How Long Will It Take to Complete Your Training?
Your education is by far the most crucial component of your career success as a massage therapist. Without it you will have no authority or credibility without some kind of formal training and certification. So, you will need to find and enroll in a program. The good news is that the training to become a massage therapist is extremely reasonable, particularly compared to many other professions dealing with health and wellness.
Massage therapy licensing is obtained through vocational programs. Vocational training has a more limited scope than traditional degrees and the curriculum focuses exclusively on the job and the industry in question. This means that instead of needing a four-year degree to begin working in the industry, you could easily have your certified training completed in as little as 5 months if attending full-time. But exactly how long will it take for you to finish your necessary schooling?
Choosing a Massage Therapy Program
This choice is not always a simple one. All legitimate massage therapy programs will give you the tools you need to get started, but there can be a lot of variation in things like teaching style, the kind of classwork and learning atmosphere that can all have an effect on the speed you learn. These factors will affect different people to varying degrees. It is important that you are aware of what helps you learn, what inhibits your learning so that you can choose a program that will give you the best possible learning experience. You should also learn what you can about any instructors involved with the program. This way you can get an idea of whether or not the program you are considering has experienced, expert instructors for you to learn from. If you choose a good program with qualified and enthusiastic instruction, your chances of timely success through that program are extremely high.
Finding a Massage Therapy Program That Works for You
Life is chaotic for all of us in different ways. As strong as your desire may be to learn and achieve your goals there are other things that demand your time, energy, attention and money. Having the time to dedicate to your education is vital. Luckily, becoming a massage therapist requires much less education time than many other academic and vocational fields. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have to make an effort.
Determine your availability by taking an honest look at the demands of your life. Less demanding programs can give you a bit of flexibility in terms of class schedule and program pacing. It is important to get all your options and info from a representative or adviser from the training program you are considering before you make a final decision. Whatever program and certification schedule you decide is right for you, make sure that you are willing and able to set aside the time to complete it.
How Dedicated Are You?
You can spend all day in a classroom and not learn one single thing if you aren’t there to learn. Being a massage therapist doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does require a sincere dedication to be any good at being a massage therapist. If you are unwilling to participate in the learning process and engage with your instructors in a meaningful way it could mean setbacks in your education. As a massage therapist you will be dealing with aspects of health and wellness in a very direct way. How you do (or don’t do) your job can have a far reaching and long-lasting effect on someone’s physical and mental comfort. It is imperative that you take your education seriously, or your instructors may require a delay in your certification.
How Long Will It Take to Become Successful in The Field?
Obtaining your certification is a much need step in becoming a massage therapist, but it is truly only the first step of many on your way to a meaningful and fulfilling new career. Once you have completed your massage therapy training you will have to make decisions about what you want the future of your career to look like. Are you hoping to get hired as a massage therapist in a spa? Do you have plans to be an independent, private massage therapist? Are you hoping to endorse or market products through your massage therapy?
No matter what direction you plan on taking after your education there are going to be factors that you need to consider outside of your qualifications to determine the timeline of your success. The timing and success level of your career within the industry depends on the right market climate and the level of commitment to success you have as a massage therapist.
Know Your Local Market
One of the more practical points of success is knowing about the massage market in your area. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to do an in-depth analysis on your local consumer statistics. It simply means having a reasonable idea about what massage looks like in your area. For example, some ideas you may consider about the are:
- When you search massage therapy, are there a lot of spas?
- What kind of spas are they?
- Can you think of a group of people who could benefit from massage that don’t have easy access to it?
- Are you hoping to score an exclusive or elite client base? If so, what does your area offer in terms of those kinds of clients?
- Is there a natural wellness collective that might be a good fit?
- Are there other compatible services or products in your community that might give you networking and referral access?
Knowing a little bit about where you are will help you make decisions about everything from marketing strategy to where you want to apply, depending on your specific, personal career goals.
Level of Experience
Depending on what your ultimate goals are as a massage therapist, there may be a certain level of experience and time in the field necessary to achieve those goals. For example, you may have the ultimate goal of becoming the massage therapist to celebrities and athletes, but you will need to gain experience and build your reputation before you can hope to gain proximity to those clients.
Likewise, a certain amount of traditional spa experience can help get you on your feet as a general independent massage therapist. It allows you to get an idea of what you do and don’t like about various procedures and protocols within the industry so that you can make decisions about what you want to do with your practice. It also gives you the opportunity to gain experience with a wide range of clients without having to stress about promotion. So, if your goal goes beyond entry level massage therapy, you will likely need at least some experience in the industry before that success can be achieved.
Degree of Expertise
Professional happiness and financial success look different for different people. If an extremely lucrative career is what you are after you will likely want further training or specialization beyond your initial certification training. If you can bring authority to your career by enhancing your mastery of it, you will also be attractive and trustworthy to the clients looking for those services.
In addition, the more services you can confidently offer your clients the more opportunities for income you will have. It is also advantageous, in some cases, to become an authority in a specialized massage field.
Continuing Your Education
Being able to offer expanded services to your clients safely and reliable will likely mean a boost in revenue, but it also means that you will have to make a continued effort to update your knowledge. Because of the continuous innovation of massage methods, there are new techniques, products and philosophies to continuously learn about.
Staying current on the latest trends will help you better engage with the market and allow you to have an authority that resonates with your clients. However, being a knowledgeable expert in your field requires, in most cases, continued or specialized formal training for long term success.
What’s Your Personal Investment?
What you put into something often determines what you get out of it. This is also true when it comes to your career as a massage therapist. The heights of your success will be widely determined by the amount of yourself you are willing to put into your work. Sure, there are financial investments such as certification training and any additional licensing and start-up supplies you might need to begin your journey. However, compared to most other careers, these minimal investments are significantly more manageable.
Because of this, it is going to take effort and investment in many areas. You must be willing to make sensible plans and have the dedication to see them through, no matter what your definition of career success might be. You can have the best training and the best opportunities available to a massage therapist, but it won’t matter if you aren’t invested. In the end it will be you who determines your success.
Want to Learn More?
Did this information about how long it takes to become a massage therapist interest you? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.
*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.