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How to Become a Massage Therapist

How to Become a Massage Therapist

From rehabilitation after a sports injury or forms of physical pain relief, to ongoing mental well-being, stress relief, or purely full-body relaxation, massage therapists are increasingly in demand.

In today’s society, massage therapists play an important role in the treatment and general wellness of clients using various forms of physical therapy and touch to manipulate the body’s soft-tissue muscles.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a massage therapist, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, this article is for you. In order to become a professional massage therapist, simply follow the five steps we’ve listed below.

But before we get into that, we should start out first by delving into what the position of a massage therapist entails.

What does a massage therapist do?

For centuries, humans from all across the globe have been using different forms of massage to help the body relax, invigorate, and ultimately heal itself. As humans learned more about the incredibly intricate and complex network of systems in our bodies, massage is now used for so much more than simply muscle tension relief.

Massage therapists are now responsible for improving blood and lymphatic flow, relieving stress on bones and tendons, and other alternative medicines which can affect our bodies. Once a massage therapist has been trained, is fully licensed, and has professional association clients can hire them to knead their soft body tissue and connective muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Massage therapists can basically use a wide variety of hands-on practices to promote better health education and enhance well-being of their clients. While the hands, fingers, elbows, and forearms are the most common extremities used for manual movement, some therapists may also receive training to use their feet, as well as any of the new vibrating massagers in some cases.

An average massage therapy session when treating a client can last anywhere between fifteen minutes to an hour, or even longer in some cases. While massage therapists are often employed to work in massage parlors, day spas, and tourist resorts, they can also work in the following job roles:

  • Sports medicine.
  • Sports massage.
  • Sports injury centers.
  • Rehabilitative clinics.
  • Relaxation massage and other related industries.

Some massage therapists may also decide to start their own business and work for themselves full time in their own parlor or part-time with a mobile in-home service.


Step 1: Research massage therapy requirements for your state

Many states have specific education requirements and other regulations which dictate who can become fully licensed massage therapists.

Applicants are often required to be over 18 and have their GED, high school diploma, or equivalent as a minimum, plus complete the interview process, provide a letter of recommendation, as well as submit to a criminal history check, a background check, and pass a drug test.

So before you rush out and enrol yourself into a training course, it’s a good idea to make sure you satisfy the requirements certification and licensing requirements.

It’s important you also understand if there are no massage licensing rules at the state level, there may be county regulations or city requirements. To make it even more confusing, some jurisdictions require licensing for some types of massage therapy, but they don’t need licencing for other types.

Additionally, the admission process is often different for many massage therapy and degree programs, so it’s always a good idea to discuss the admission requirements with your potential massage therapy school.

Step 2: Complete an accredited massage therapy training program

The next steps to becoming a massage therapist is to complete some formal training in massage therapy. In most states of the U.S.A, earning a certificate program from one of the state’s accredited massage schools is usually a prerequisite for receiving a license.

While it varies between schools, a certified massage program will usually include between 500 to 1000 practical clinical hours of training and take around one year to complete.

So, get started towards building your new life today by signing-up for one of our comprehensive online massage courses.

Certificate programs or massage therapy degrees will both teach practical massage techniques and instruction focusing on mind-body connections in order to treat both mental and physical problems.

Courses for massage therapist education may also include a wide variety of other subjects such as massage ethics, kinesiology fundamentals, medical terminology, exercise science, body mechanics, anatomy, pathology, and physiology.

While working and training alongside massage professionals in the therapy industry, the curriculum may also include both Eastern and Western styles of massage therapy.

Step 3: Expand your practical knowledge and experience

After you’ve completed your training program and earned your massage therapy certificate, it’s now time to branch out and get as much experience practicing massage as you can.

Look for training opportunities or even an internship at one of your local massage clinics, day spas, or anywhere else you can work. Depending on what area you live, the available massage therapy clinics, there are a wide variety of massage techniques that would be good to practice in the real world.

In order to get the most out of massage therapy careers, ultimately, you’ll need to get as much hands-on experience with as many different massage therapy styles and techniques as possible.

From reflexology, kinesiology, and other issues related to therapeutic massage and bodywork, to relaxing Swedish and hot stone massage. You need to continue learning as many new hands-on massage skills in order to become the best and most prolific massage therapist in your area, utilizing a variety of techniques.


Step 4: Pass the state licensing examination

Once you’ve completed a certified massage therapist program, completed enough training hours on the job, the next step when pursuing a career in massage therapy is passing the state licensing exam.

First, you’ll need to provide an application with all the documented proof required to show you have met all of the requirements for the bodywork licensing examination. Then you’ll be able to take the theory exam to ensure you will be able to perform all of the duties of a qualified massage therapist.

Most states which regulate massage therapy and licensing will require students to take and pass an exam that meets both national certification and state licensing requirements.

The most commonly used state exam is a 100 to 125 multiple-choice question test which must be completed within two hours.

The test will cover a wide variety of important subjects, such as physiology, pathology, anatomy, assessment, and ethics. And once you’ve received board certification for your massage therapy licensing exam, you’ll then be eligible to apply for your massage therapist license.

Step 5: Complete and submit your application for a state license

While most states have specific regulations that must be followed in order to become a licensed massage therapist, licensing is often different for each state, while also depending on the area you currently live.

Some states will say your application is complete after passing the licensing exam, whereas the other states’ licensing board for therapeutic massage may require more documentation or state testing.

After completing an accredited certification program and passing the massage and bodywork licensing exam, you can complete and submit the application for your state license.

It’s worth noting that some states have made it a requirement that all applicants provide documentation stating they already have liability insurance before becoming licensed.

Once your license application has been approved, it enables you to work legally as a massage therapist in your state.

Why should I become a massage therapist?

Are you a friendly person who enjoys working closely with the public? Have you realized you have a passion for helping people with their public health and improve their overall wellness journey? Do you feel happiest whenever you are providing people with excellent levels of customer service? Did you ever dream of working in a high-demand field that actually makes a difference in people’s lives?

Answering yes to most of the questions above is a good indication that a fulfilling career as a qualified and licensed massage therapist is the right move for you.

The good news is that the massage therapy industry is currently experiencing a boom in job growth, with demand increasing higher than ever across the board. That’s why so many people have recently decided to transition from their old job and into their new career as a massage therapist.

When you’re working towards becoming a massage therapist and running your own massage business, the other good news is you can work from home. With startup costs a lot lower than the average business, you can actually end up running a pretty successful operation just by offering in-home visit sessions for your clients.

So, whether you start your massage services in-home on a part-time basis, or you go all in and decide to open your own massage parlor, the sky really is the limit. With just a little study, some hard work, and a little investment in your future, you can build your own popular and successful business.

Why study massage therapy with Courses for Success?

At Courses for Success, we always take so much pride in the fact we provide the best possible continuing education programs available for all of our students. Our massage therapy training course not only teaches you everything you need to know about how to become a massage therapist, but we also guide you through what’s required to set up your own small business! Enroll with us today and soon the future will be yours.

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