What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Massage Therapist

Massage therapist and peers at spa

Massage therapy is a rewarding career that enables you to relax and heal your clients. Clients may come to you because they need to unwind and relax, or they may be experiencing muscle tenderness and soreness. Becoming a massage therapist allows you to help your clients live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Some massage therapists work on their own, running and operating their own businesses. Others work in spas, healthcare clinics, fitness centers and hotels. No matter where you choose to work as a massage therapist, it’s crucial that you receive the proper education.

What a Massage Therapist Actually Does

Most people who enter the field aren’t aware of what a massage therapist does and what is involved during the day-to-day practice. Part of working as a massage therapist involves keeping a clean area that is sanitized for every client coming to you for their appointment. This ensures that clients are not cross-contaminating each other because they are coming into your work area.

Who Do Massage Therapists Help?

The massage therapist works with people of all ages and sizes, so it is important to be aware of different massage points of the client. Depending on the type of work that you choose to do, you may provide massage therapy as a rejuvenating and regenerating procedure. Maybe you will focus on relaxation and muscle tension. Before entering the field, it is a good idea to figure out what type of client you’d like to work with. This can help in determining where you want to work and the type of career that you are going to have.

The Different Places You Might Work

The great thing about massage therapy is that you can work about anywhere. A massage therapist can work in a hotel, spa, fitness center, doctor’s office, hospital or in a specialty wellness clinic. Massage therapy is meant to relax, calm and rejuvenate clients, so it can be beneficial in a wide range of different fields and facilities. The types of clients you will work on will vary from one facility to the next. For example, you will be working on different clients in a doctor’s office than you would at a fitness center.  Regardless of where you work, massage therapists are in high demand.

What You’ll Learn in a Massage Therapy Program

Massage therapy programs prepare students for a career within the field. You will learn how to work with clients, create a calming and rejuvenating environment, start your own business, find gainful employment and most of all, how to perform massage therapy. Many classes allow students to practice their technique, which enables them to have a hands-on experience practicing their skills. Learning massage out of a book is fine and will help with the details of the practice, but you need to perform massage to work with clients and give them the experience that they are looking for. Not every massage therapy program is the same, so it is important to be aware of the program to see what it includes and what to expect before starting a massage therapy program.

Why Vocational School is the Right Choice for Massage Therapy

Vocational school is essential if you want to become a massage therapist. These schools offer convenient programs that are ideal for people who want to start a career for themselves without it affecting their current job scheduling and family life. Vocational schools can provide you with the skills necessary to begin working in the field of massage therapy.

What to Expect After Graduation

Many students assume that they will be able to start working once they graduate from their massage therapy program. First, you need to either choose to work for someone else or begin your own company. Keep in mind that, as with any other skill, you may need a few months of work as a massage therapist before you can hone in on your skills and provide an enjoyable experience for your clients. Many massage therapy programs offer their students help in finding employment after graduation. This helps you to get started working as a massage therapist and providing massage to your clients. After enough experience to improve your skills as a massage therapist, you may want to consider opening your own business.

Why Continuing Education is Important

Just because you have graduated a massage therapy program doesn’t mean that you will never need to go to school again. As with most careers, continuing education is important and often required if you have a certificate or license. In some areas, continuing education credits allow a massage therapist to maintain their license. Even if you do not need to have continuing education, it is important to keep up with changes and different methods within the massage therapy industry. These classes and seminars help you to network with others who are working as massage therapists.

How to Choose Between Employee and Self-Employment

Once you have received some experience in the massage therapy industry, you can choose to start your own massage therapy company. As a massage therapist, you have two options when seeking employment. Working for someone else or working for yourself. If you have just graduated from school, you may want to give yourself a few months working as a massage therapist before you consider opening your own business. This gives you time to focus on building your skills and getting used to working as a massage therapist before you are by yourself running a business.

Running your own business owner and working with a multitude of clients is a rewarding way to jump start your career and can be done even if you are new to the field. Keep in mind that you will need to build your clientele, even when working for a massage spa. This involves working with clients, giving them a good experience and relying on both positive reviews and word-of-mouth to get more clients.

Why You Need Quality Equipment to Work

Whether you’re working for yourself or for a facility, it is crucial that you invest in high-quality massage equipment. You need equipment that is going to last for years before it must be repaired or replaced. You also need equipment that is large enough to accommodate clients of all shapes and sizes. If you make home visits, you need to focus on equipment that is portable and easy to transport so that you’re able to bring the entire massage experience into a client’s home or office. If you are working for someone else, you may be required to have your own equipment. This is something you will need to discuss with the employer before you begin working for their facility.


No matter where you choose to work as a massage therapist, you will find that this set of skills offers you an opportunity to begin a career that you can enjoy for life. Not only are you offering a service to clients, who will benefit fully from what you are able to do for them, but you are able to meet, talk and connect with people of all backgrounds. Because of the wide range of facilities that you can work in as well as having the ability to work from home, your career can take you in places that no other industry is able to do. For these reasons, many people are choosing to begin a massage therapist program.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? 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 13 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.

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