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.

How to Use Social Media as a Massage Therapist

Social media is here to stay. Aside from personal networking, social media is increasingly being used in professional circles. Used in an informative way, social media content and posts can increase a client base, enable massage therapists to network professionally, and access potential clients more easily. This article highlights how massage therapists can use social media to their advantage.

Personal versus Professional

As a professional trained massage therapist it is important to keep personal boundaries on social media. You may share content and posts with family and friends on a Facebook that are not appropriate to share with a wider audience. A massage therapist will encounter clients from all walks of life and it is wise to keep personal and professional lives separate. Massage therapists should lock down personal accounts and have separate social media for professional use. On a positive note, a professional social media presence will reflect the professionalism of the massage therapist.

Professional Networking

One of the big advantages of social media is that it enables people to connect on a global perspective. As a professional massage therapist there are forums and networks to industry issues and exchange ideas. Using Facebook or WhatsApp are just two examples where professional networking can take place. Another useful resource for massage therapists is LinkedIn, which connects professionals in different industries. LinkedIn is a recruitment tool that allows massage therapists looking for a new job or career change to discover opportunities.

Informative Material

Some of the best uses of social media is using your networks to provide informative and useful messaging to your followers. Focus on clear, professional posts that will build a following. Massage therapists can link posts to their blog or website, so that potential client have details on their massage therapy services. Use your profile to promote special deals, promotions and new massage therapy techniques to gain attention.

It is important to take time to think through your social media posts. Great posts provide insightful information, use hashtags to promote content and promote positive company attitudes. These techniques build a strong social media following. Post regularly to maintain your followers interest by developing new posts and ideas. It is also important to check the post before sending. Make sure that you do not have typos or confusing sentences. Ideas will flow throughout the day, so keeping a notebook to write down potential posts is important.

Massage therapists working for organizations must check their social media policy. Some do not allow social media posts at all whereas others are more proactive and will retweet or endorse material.


One of the most important things for a massage therapist to remember is that client information is confidential. Do not post this information at all. This includes making derogatory comments about people or insulting someone. Do not post content or photos of clients without given written consent. Clients having a massage are usually in a vulnerable position, so posting content without permission will lead to mistrust. Posts may go viral, and this may affect your client. If a massage therapist had a bad day, it is generally best to stay away from social media to avoid ranting about work problems.

Do not share contact information or e-mail addresses without written consent. Personal information is protected under individual state and federal laws.

Targeting Specific Groups

A great way of professional social media is to target specific social or age groups. It is important to know where your potential clients are online. Retired people use social media differently than younger groups. For example, a lot of millennials use Instagram. Some companies will target advertising at specific groups of people, for example men over 50 living in Manhattan. Knowing your audience is becomes vital when building a social media following and attracting clients.

Facebook – The most well-known social media platform and where most people are active. If you are using Facebook to promote massage therapy, update your profile at least once a week. Engage with the community on Facebook with content and posts and create a group of followers. A group of massage therapists can share ideas and tips on better business practices.

Twitter – Post unique content on Twitter and other accounts. Your followers will have a reason to follow you on both Twitter and Facebook. Include images along with text, as text only posts tend to be ignored. Like and share other massage therapists’ tweets and they will return the favor.

Instagram – Instagram is a visual social medium, so add great images of your massage space to attract followers. Users find posts through hashtags, so make sure to use them!

LinkedIn – A great platform to network with other massage therapists. If you are starting out as a massage therapist or joining another organization, LinkedIn will help you connect with the massage therapy industry.

Another way of promoting a service on social media is through original material. Original content can reach wider audiences. Social media is about interacting with the global community. One of the best ways of growing a following is to promote other businesses related to massage therapy. Beauty and wellness companies are happy to help each other. They can then return the favor by promoting a retweet or Facebook post.

Social media is a game changer in business. There are many opportunities to reach clients, share creative ideas, and connect with others. Getting a social media account is a gateway into a global community for a massage therapist.

Did this article about social media 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 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 massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in massage therapy.


*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What it Takes to Be a Successful Massage Therapist

Interested in becoming a massage therapist in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment? While attending a vocational school and taking a massage therapy training program, students learn Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, prenatal massage, and sports massage therapy. But first, what does a massage therapist do on a day-to-day basis and what skills will make them successful?

What a Massage Therapist Does

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists treat clients by using touch to massage the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Massage therapists relieve acute and chronic pain, help heal sports injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress and aid in the general wellness of clients. Massage therapists typically do the following:

  • Talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history and daily routines
  • Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
  • Massage muscles and soft tissues of the client’s body
  • Provide guidance on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve posture
  • Document clients’ conditions and progress both on paper and electronically

What are the Skills that will Make a Massage Therapist Successful?

The skills that will make a massage therapist successful include communication, compassion, respect, safety, time management and trust. Having one or more of these skills is important for the massage therapist to be successful. For those that do not have all of these skills, attending a vocational school programs and externships are great ways to obtain these important massage therapy skills.

Communication – keeping an open line of communication with the client is important. The massage therapist will need to exchange information throughout the massage process for the them to best help the client. The massage therapist will need to know how the massage is progressing and to get feedback about the massage’s effectiveness after the session. The massage therapist also communicates with words, gestures and facial expressions. Nonverbal cues and body language will indicate to the massage therapist what the client is feeling. The massage therapist may interpret different non-verbal cues as a sign of discomfort or pain.

Compassion – the massage therapist will need to empathize with the client in order to give the client the best massage therapy available. The massage therapist will be sympathetic and concerned for the pain endured by the client and want to work to minimize it.

Respect – can be shown to the client through consideration exhibited by words and actions. The massage therapist will need to hold the session confidential and anything shared with the massage therapist will not be repeated. The breach of confidentiality is illegal as per HIPAA guidelines.

Safety – the massage therapist should protect the client from possible harm. The massage therapist must be well versed in anatomy and physiology, knowing the good and bad ways to manipulate soft tissue.

Time Management – the massage therapist must make the most of the allotted time they have to work with the client. The massage therapist must give the client their complete focus. The session should start and end on time and interruptions should not be allowed.

Trust – The client must trust the massage therapist during a massage therapy session. The massage therapist must also respect the client’s privacy. The client must trust that the massage therapist is doing what is in the best interest of the client. Trust grows throughout the relationship, one session at a time. If trust fails, the massage therapist must allow the client to refuse service and terminate the relationship if requested.

What are the Different Types of Massage?

The different types of massage that are taught during massage therapy training programs at vocational schools include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, prenatal massage, and sports massage therapy. Each type of massage will impact the client differently and it is up to the massage therapist to understand all techniques and pick the combination of massage that will be the greatest benefit for the client.

Swedish Massage – the foundation for many types of massage therapy. During a Swedish massage, the massage therapist will perform various massage strokes. The specific massage strokes include effleurage strokes, friction, petrissage strokes, tapotement strokes, and vibration. Swedish massage movements help warm up the muscle tissue. It can also help increase circulation, lengthen muscles, release tension and break up muscle knots. These massage movements are combined with joint movement to relax and energize the body.

Deep Tissue Massage – offers deep pressure to release muscle tension. Deep tissue massage focuses on the surroundings of muscles, bones and joints. This type of massage is used to improve posture and increase range of motion. It also helps break up scar tissue that forms in muscles from injury and repetitive motion.

Hot Stone Massage – the application of smooth, basalt mineral stones that are heated and combined with oil. Hot stone massage is designed to relieve muscle stiffness and reduce fatigue. The hot stones can be placed in many different places on the body depending on the area of the body that needs stress and fatigue relief. Massage therapists may hold the hot stones as they massage the body. The massage therapist can use long strokes, circular movements, vibration, tapping and kneading to assist in the relief of muscle tension. Hot stone massage can also relieve pain by increasing blood flow to the stiff muscles of the body, reduce spasms, increase flexibility and range of motion.

Prenatal Massage – Massage therapy performed during pregnancy. Typically, prenatal massage is performed in the second and third trimester when the client has the most strain on the body and back. Prenatal massage helps reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve fatigue, reduce headaches and help control blood pressure. Prenatal massage can relieve muscle aches and joint pains and improve labor outcomes.

Sports Massage Therapy – ideal for the treatment of injuries and to prevent injuries in the first place. This type of massage can help prepare athletes before an event and/or after the event to reduce recovery time. Sports massage therapy can be used for range of motion, tone, symmetry, increased circulation, balance of muscle and quality of posture. Sports massage therapy can reduce muscle tension, promote relaxation, reduce muscle hypertonicity, increase range of motion, decrease muscle stiffness, decrease muscle soreness, reduce swelling, and enhance athletic performance. Sports massage therapy is important for top athletes to perform at their best.

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 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.