With massage therapy jobs expected to grow by 30% in the next decade, there has never been a better time to enter this career field. If you are wondering how to become a massage therapist, you might be unsure of where to begin. While there are several career paths you can take, the steps below present a clear outline of how to become a massage therapist.
1. Enroll in a Massage Therapist Training Program
The first step in learning how to become a massage therapist is to seek out a quality education. There are countless massage therapy training programs to choose from, but deciding which one is right for you will take time and research.
Many massage therapists specialize in a certain type of massage or cater to particular clientele, such as athletes. Massage schools offer a wide range of massage therapy courses that teach many of these types of massage therapy. Therefore, deciding which type of massage therapist you want to be is crucial to picking your training program.
When learning how to become a massage therapist, choose a massage therapy school that assists graduates with job placement. You should also investigate if the school will help you prepare for your massage therapist license and certification.
2. Complete Massage Therapy Training Hours
The number of hours you spend training is one of the keys to learning how to become a massage therapist. Most states require therapists to complete a minimum number of training hours, ranging from 300 up to 1,000. In addition, obtaining national certification requires at least 500 hours of training.
During your massage therapy training, you will be taught everything you need to know about how to become a massage therapist. Through the study of anatomy and physiology, you will become familiar with the structure and composition of the muscular system. You might also take courses on kinesiology, the study of physical movement. Historical and theoretical examinations of massage therapy will supplement your understanding of the functions of this healing art.
3. Become a Certified Massage Therapist
Although not required in all states, knowing about massage therapy certification is important when finding out how to become a massage therapist. Certification is offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks (NCBTMB).
There are two different paths for certification, the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) or the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM). After obtaining your certification, you must renew it every four years. While finding out how to become a massage therapist, keep these exams in mind during your education.
4. Seek a Massage Therapist License
Getting your massage therapy license differs from getting certification, as a license is valid in individual states, not the entire country. While finding out how to become a massage therapist, you may need to acquire a license from the state you wish to work in.
However, to practice certain types of massage, such as reflexology, you might not need a license at all. It is essential for newly trained massage therapists to research the law in their state before launching a practice.
5. Launching your Massage Therapist Career
The final step in how to become a massage therapist is to begin your career. Depending on your education and certification, many career paths will be available to you. Whether you want to open your own practice or look for massage therapy jobs, your education will provide you with the business training needed to understand the financial side of the job. Some institutions that hire massage therapists include hospitals, nursing centers, shopping malls, and even airports. With the proper credentials and skill set, anything is possible.
Now that you know how to become a massage therapist, begin planning your future today!
Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.