Everyone has the occasional kink in their neck or shoulder, either from working tirelessly on a laptop or due to a physical injury from lifting too much weight. Rather than reaching for the aspirin bottle, many prefer to go to a massage therapist to help relieve the pain or tension.
A massage therapist is often self-employed or works for a health clinic or nursing home, as well as, in fitness centers or spas. They are often found in chiropractic clinics, at your favorite vacation resort destinations or on cruise ships. This job can be hard on your feet, wrists and hands, as standing all day and strenuous repetitive movements of your wrists and hands are a job requirement. A massage therapist must be in good physical shape themselves, with strength and dexterity. Also, they must be a good communicator, and perhaps more importantly, a good listener and empathetic to other’s needs.
What does a massage therapist do?
A good massage therapist is trained to enhance blood circulation, as well as, relieve muscle tightness by applying pressure with their hands using many techniques, such as deep-tissue or Swedish massages. A good massage therapist will advocate for good health through stress-relief, stretching exercises, and proper lifting techniques. They often combine several types of massage therapies, such as acupressure, reflexology or deep-muscle pressure. As your clients describe their symptoms, you will use your expertise to locate the source of the pain and work to manipulate the soft body tissues and muscles to improve or eliminate the nuisance.
How do I become a massage therapist?
First and foremost, you should locate a program that meets the requirements of your state’s licensing board. Post-secondary certification programs require a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Helpful prerequisite classes, such as in science and business-related classes are suggested.
Through an online massage therapy program, you will learn the basic principles of human anatomy, pathophysiology, myology, human relations, therapeutic massage, pathology, and kinesiology, as you focus on how the muscles and tendons in our bodies interact with each other. Also, you will learn about medical law and the ethical practices of massage therapy. If you choose, you may specialize in sports massage, pregnancy and labor massage, aromatherapy, meditation or yoga, as well.
Your certification award could take between five months to two years to complete, depending on your applicable state and program requirements. An associate and bachelor’s degree can also be earned in this occupation.
Do I need certification or licensure to be a massage therapist?
Yes, generally, most states do require a minimum of 500 to 1000 hours of training before taking a certification test, such as the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) or the National Certification Board in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), depending on your state’s regulations. The MBLEx exam includes 100 questions based on client assessment, kinesiology, the physiological effects of a massage, along with, professional ethics. Also, your state may require you to pass a local and state licensure examination. If you plan to be self-employed, you may need a business license and liability insurance, as well. To keep your certification, you must participate in continuing educational opportunities, which also varies by state.
How much money can I earn as a massage therapist?
As of May 2017, the average salary for a massage therapist was $39,990 annually. However, if working within a clinical setting, wages increased to between $42,860 – $51,240 per year. Furthermore, as most massage therapists are self-employed, your profits will depend on your schedule, client base and tips.
Can I learn to be a massage therapist through an online distance learning program?
Due to the nature of the career, you can complete a portion of your coursework through online distance learning classes; however, hands-on clinical work is a requirement. Technical instruction can be obtained through an online program; therefore, offering you convenience and flexibility. Please verify that your massage therapy program is accredited adequately per your state’s regulations.
What school offers an online program in massage therapy?
The U.S. Career Institute offers an online program in Massage Therapy which will prepare you to sit for the MBLEx, if you complete both their Academic & Hands-On portions and attend their Colorado campus for clinical practice. The academic portion of your program can be completed online. U.S. Career Institute’s program offers classes in Swedish Massage, Hydrotherapy Techniques, as well as, Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and many other topics.