Massage therapy is a physically demanding job and requires a high amount of personal contact with others. Massage-therapy training is a long process that requires time and energy and the ability to retain the information. Many states and even local governments require training and licensure to practice massage therapy.
Training and Education
Massage therapy training programs focus on the modalities of massage, anatomy, physiology, the study of tissues and organs, body mechanics and business ethics. Both part-time and full-time programs are available and students normally take approximately two years to complete the program, although programs often vary depending on the required number of hours for hands on training. Many states require that massage therapists attend an accredited school in order to become licensed in their state. Licensing requirements vary from state-to-state, and some do not require any type of licensure. If a massage therapist wants to attain national certification, the massage therapist is required to perform at least 200 hours of therapeutic massage and take continuing education courses. The credential must be renewed every four years to maintain the certification.
Massage as Meaningful Career
Many massage therapists choose this field because it is something that they love and they have the ability to help heal others. This work can be personally satisfying, as a massage therapist sees a person feel more relaxed and in less pain after a treatment. A person’s values can be exhibited as they begin to care for those in pain.
Massage therapists like the ability to tailor their techniques and the amount of tension applied based on the needs of the client. Many massage therapists tend to enjoy the personal contact and personalized care that they can provide, even in a short session.
Massage therapists often have considered other areas in the medical field, but do not want to work in a hospital setting. Massage is a healing art, and has a strong basis in science and anatomy and requires significant training. The field of massage therapy requires extensive education and hands-on practice, making massage therapists more capable of working with a variety of clientele, no matter the setting.
Ability to Choose a Massage Therapy Specialization
Massage therapy has become a larger part of health care due to the benefits of massage. There are many types of modalities, which make massage therapy more appealing. Having the ability to choose a specialization offers the opportunity to decide the type of clients or patients with whom you might deal. For instance, having a medical clientele would require knowledge of specific types of massage, things to avoid and a background in what types of pain a patient might have. This will change how a massage is given. If a person wants to work with babies or athletes, they will be able to focus on those areas. Having the ability to choose a specialty prior to beginning a program will help save time and money. These options have drawn new massage therapists because they know how they want to help others and what environment aligns with their personal goals and abilities.
Despite other reasons to become a massage therapist, some are drawn to this career field because of income. Many massage therapists start at $60 per hour, but can also receive income from tips. The amount of income receives largely depends on the client base and whether a massage therapist works independently. Some massage therapists may have an annual salary; however, this is largely dependent on the location of the practice, type of practice, skills and amount of experience. Based on information on salary.com, a massage therapist's average income as of August 2009 is approximately $46,500, with the range going from $29,670 to $65,461.