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What are the Requirements to Become a Massage Therapist?

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Massage therapists use different techniques of massage to help promote good health and well being. The practice is used to help relax tired muscles and also for painful problem areas of the body. There are over 80 types of massage used by massage therapists today. Becoming a massage therapist requires educational training to become licensed. The requirements can vary by state. Education programs for therapy are usually post-secondary or even private schools.

Training

A high-school diploma or GED is needed before you can apply for massage therapy classes. Education for massage therapists can require 500 or more hours of training (this varies from state to state). Classes cover physiology, anatomy, tissue and organ study, body mechanics and motions, and business ethics. Massage therapists in training also study hands-on massage techniques. It is required to graduate from message therapy training to obtain a license. Continuing education is also required by some states.

Getting Licensed

States with massage therapy regulations require a license before you can begin professional practice. You must pass a State Board Exam or one of the two national tests to obtain a license. The two national tests are the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist, you should look into the state's requirements in which you want to practice. License renewal periodically with a fee is also required to continue your career as a massage therapist.

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Other Requirements

You should be empathetic and have the ability to make clients feel comfortable. Massage therapists should have strong communication skills, a good bedside manner and be friendly. This will gain the trust of clients and keep them coming back. It also helps build your clientele. A professional and relaxed atmosphere where you perform client massages is also necessary. Increased experience can gain more income. However, career advancement is limited in massage therapy.

2016 Salary Information for Massage Therapists

Massage therapists earned a median annual salary of $39,860 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, massage therapists earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,220, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $57,110, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 160,300 people were employed in the U.S. as massage therapists.

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