Massage therapy promotes relaxation, well being and health. The benefits of receiving a massage include increasing blood flow, relieving pain, facilitating healing, and relieving pain. There are over 80 different types of massage techniques or modalities including Swedish, deep tissue, acupressure, and sports massage.
Each state has different licensing requirements so it is up to you to check on licensing requirements before pursuing a career as a massage therapist. You can obtain the information from your state’s licensing board to find out which schools are accredited and see how many hours you need to complete to become certified. You may also want to check for any local or county requirements. It is best to find this information out before enrolling in a program.
There are various massage therapy programs that confer certificates or associate’s degree. Programs vary in length from 6 months to 3 years. There are several local programs and even some offered online. Again, it is extremely important to make sure the program is accredited and meets local, regional, and state requirements especially if the state you live in requires you to be certified to practice legally.
There are over 40 states that have laws regulating massage therapy. The states that do not require licensure include:
The typical program includes at least 500 program hours of classroom and hands-on training. Program curriculum includes anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, body mechanics, motion, business management, and massage techniques.
The main certification organization is the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The national licensing exam is called the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEX).
Massage therapists work in a wide variety of settings including private massage studios, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness clubs, airports, and even retail shopping locations. Some massage therapists, particularly those who are self employed, perform massages in a client’s personal homes.
Most massage therapists work less than 40 hours per week because of the physical nature of the work that can take a toll on the therapist’s hands, arms, shoulders and back. The majority of therapists work 15-30 hours which is considered full time.
Approximately 60 percent of massage therapists are self-employed. The career field is expected to grow 20% through 2018 which is much faster than the average occupation. The median hourly wage for a massage therapist is $17.00 an hour according to data released by the United States Department of Labor. Yearly earnings vary greatly because of the nature of the business.