Learn how to become a massage therapist. Find information on programs, training, certification, job growth and salary. View popular massage therapy schools that prepare students for careers as massage therapists.
Students wishing to become massage therapists may choose to enroll in career diploma, certificate, or associate degree programs. The curriculum within a massage therapy program may include a combination of core massage therapy classes and general education courses. These courses may teach students various massage techniques, proper massage table hygiene procedures, and basic business skills. Presently, most states require some form of formal training in order to practice massage therapy. Popular massage therapy courses may include the following:
- Soft Tissue Release
- Sports Massage Therapy
- Swedish Massage Therapy
- Practice Management
- Clinical Practice
Massage therapy programs may require students to complete 500 hours or more of study and internship experience during training. During these internships, students may learn important skills, including empathy, decision-making, and time-management. Additionally, students may experience the physical strength and dexterity required of massage therapists on a daily basis. Massage therapy training may also help students develop the communication skills needed to provide clients with detailed treatment plans prescriptive to their needs.
License & Certification
Graduates of massage therapy programs may be required to obtain professional certification in order to be eligible for employment as a massage therapist. Students may take either the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or the National Verification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. These exams are given on a state-by-state basis, and each state may prefer a particular examination. Those wishing to become a practitioner of massage must also ensure all legal requirements are met for the locality in which they plan to practice.
Job Outlook & Salary
Upon graduation of online massage therapy programs, students may find careers working in massage clinics, spas, fitness centers, chiropractor’s offices, and hotels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for those pursuing a career as a massage therapist are expected to increase by 20% from 2010-2020. The BLS also reported the median salary for massage therapists as $34,900 annually and the median hourly wage of $16.78 as of 2012.