What is the Fastest Way to Become a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist providing services for their client

Interested in quickly becoming a massage therapist? This profession offers flexibility, low stress and job satisfaction. Massage therapists can also choose their workplace, with options at resorts, massage franchises, salons, from home and at office buildings. If you are interested in this fast-growing profession, the first and fastest step to becoming a massage therapist is getting a formal education at a vocational school.

Although there are many different specialties, most massage therapists specialize in one area. With full-time attendance, the massage therapy program can be completed in just 12 months. You will be able to decide your specialization after learning the different massage techniques in a vocational program.

What Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist must have a high school diploma in addition to a certificate from a vocational school. A licensure examination is administered twice per year. There are often city requirements to legally conduct business as a massage therapist and some municipalities work under licenses. To receive a license, certification must be taken to Officials or the City Clerk for certification verification.

A background check is required for licensing, and the applicant must pay a fee. Once this process is complete, the applicant is licensed to perform massages in that city. Once licensed, specific obligations, professional accountability, disciplinary actions, investigations and client bills of rights must be reported. It is important to find a school that offers curriculum that meets the standards of the National Standard for Massage Therapy. This ensures that you are eligible to take a national exam called the MBLEX.

MBLEx is an appreciation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. This is a standard exam created to test the critical knowledge required to practice massage. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers this test and has received recognition as a United States professional organization.

The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions. Each student has two hours to complete the exam at an authorized testing center. The sections included on the exam are:

  • Special Populations, Areas of Caution, Contraindications and Pathology
  • Treatment Planning, Reassessment and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice
  • Physiological Effects and Benefits of Techniques Manipulating Soft Tissue
  • Kinesiology
  • Regulations, Laws, Boundaries and Ethics

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

The courses taught at a vocational school study the human body, how the mechanics of the body work and the location of tissues, muscles and organs. Typical courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Labs
  • Business Practices
  • Medical terminology
  • Body mechanics
  • Massage ethics

A massage therapist also learns multiple techniques including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Sport therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Hot stone massages

All of this knowledge is necessary to succeed in a career as a massage therapist and manage the pain and stress of others. In addition to the essentials required to work as a massage therapist, courses including business management and ethics are just as important. Not only does a massage therapist need to understand the basics to help clients, but they also need to establish good relationships. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client must be professional and consist of both commitment and trust.

Hands-on Training

Vocational school teaches you the best way to build relationships, the value of ethics, how to run a business and dealing with clients on an intimate basis. Hands-on training is the backbone of massage therapy education. Every student receives hands-on training. You will learn how to perform massage on real people, classmates and at student run massage clinics. In the end, you learn what is necessary to become a successful and happy massage therapist. Ensuring the comfort of clients, proper hygiene and the importance of kindness.

Proper Hygiene

Vocational schools teach the importance of hygiene for all materials used including tables and hands. This is when you develop good bedside manners for clients and classmates. Learning how to listen and communicate is an extremely important skill for a massage therapist because it promotes a feeling of relaxation resulting in fluid and calming sessions for clients. To become a successful massage therapist, certain skills must be mastered. The good news is you will enjoy learning and practicing theses skills while mastering them in a massage therapy program.

Communication and Camaraderie

One of the most delightful yet unexpected things you will learn while attending school is camaraderie. As the months pass, strong bonds, close relationships and amazing friendships will form with other students. You will learn and grow together. You simply know you are never alone, there is always a connection and students in your massage classes often start to feel like family.

Proper Massage Technique

Once you become a massage therapist, the self-care techniques taught become standard practice and invaluable. When you are massaging a client, your body mechanics, movement and breath must be consistent. Remaining hydrated and consuming a healthy diet will help. Many massage therapists remain calm, connected and in a mindful state when working with clients by practicing quiet meditation. When you are not working with a client, try physical exercise, receiving regular massages and meditation to help preserve your focus and enthusiasm.

How Do You Find a Job After Graduation?

There are numerous ways to find a good job once your graduate. The vocational school offers career services and there are job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn that offer networking. It is also important to talk to spa managers within the community. Employers in different environments hire massage therapists including hospitals and retirement facilities. You can work for someone else or establish a small business. Attracting a steady client base is dependent on professionalism and friendliness.

The best part of becoming a massage therapist is the ability to make clients feel better while earning a living. The demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase 21 percent between 2019 and 2029. Once you decide whether to open a practice, work for a business or work alone, your career will begin in this growing industry.

Start a Small Massage Business?

Running a small business offers benefits including flexibility and freedom. You decide the type of space to work in, which hours and days you will be available and determine your own scheduling and fees. All of the revenue earned is yours. If you enjoy working alone, you perform every job and decide whether an assistant or any employees are necessary.

Running a small business is expensive and involves handling all costs associated with the business such as licenses, rent, equipment and advertising. A sole practitioner does not receive the same benefits as a massage therapist working for an employer. Working for an employer means a specific schedule must be maintained including availability, hours and treatments.

Work for a Franchisee Massage Employer?

Certain employers will require you to perform additional administrative duties in addition to massage. The benefit of working for a franchise massage employer is a career offering a wide variety of choices and responsibilities. One of the most important considerations is equipment. Establishing a business as a massage therapist includes purchasing all of the necessary equipment as opposed to having everything provided by an employer.

Some employers pay for continuing education and training. Whether you decide to work for yourself or as part of a team, becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career. Prior to deciding which course is right for your individual needs, consider your personality, preferences, the option best suited to your temperament and how to provide clients with the best possible experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to open a business by yourself, with a team or work for someone else is an important decision. However, the first step you need to take is deciding whether a career as a massage therapist is right for your needs. Once you enroll in vocational school, you’re on the fastest path to your dream career.

Want to Learn More?

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 12 months. 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 massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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