Massage therapists manipulate clients’ muscles and soft tissues to treat injuries and promote wellness. The practice is more popular than ever as people embrace holistic medicine.
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As with most professional services, massage therapists need credentials to demonstrate their expertise. A credential is an indication that a practitioner meets minimum standards for the profession, often including education, training and passing a competency exam. Credentials can be awarded by various organizations that regulate the field, such as state boards and professional associations. Additionally, many practitioners choose to become certified through voluntary credentialing organizations. While not a requirement, credentialing can help increase the marketability of a professional and improve employment opportunities.
In addition to the required classroom instruction, massage therapists also undergo a number of hands-on clinical experiences during their training programs. This helps them build the practical skills that they will need in the workplace and give clients confidence that they are receiving the highest quality care possible.
During the classroom instruction portion of their program, students will take classes that cover subjects like anatomy (including both the muscle and connective tissue) and physiology. These classes will teach them how to assess a client’s needs and determine the best course of action. They will also learn about the different types of massage techniques and how to integrate these into a holistic treatment plan.
Once they complete their educational requirements, massage therapists will be ready to begin their careers in the workforce. Many massage therapy programs will provide a variety of career opportunities, including clinical massage at hospitals and wellness clinics, spa environments such as resorts and franchises and self-employment. Many graduates also discover that they have a particular preference that they’d like to pick as their specialty, and this can be an excellent way to enjoy a niche career that can bring in repeat clients.
After graduating from a massage therapy program, graduates will need to take the MBLEx (Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination), an exam that is regulated by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. A passing grade on this exam demonstrates that students have met the requirements set by their state and are fully licensed to practice massage therapy.
Licensure is a requirement in many states and is beneficial to both the Massage Therapist and the client. It manifests a commitment to upholding the standards of the profession and to providing quality service. It also helps to build credibility, attract clients, and encourages practice growth. In addition, it is important to understand the risks associated with massage therapy and to carry insurance to protect yourself, your clients, and your business.
Upon becoming licensed, Massage Therapists can then choose to specialize in one or more of the many techniques and modalities available to them. This is optional, but can be a great way to further differentiate yourself and increase the earning potential of your career.
Some Massage Therapists also decide to become certified by a national certification organization like the NCBTMB. This is an option that requires additional education and training but can offer more credibility to your career, as well as the ability to work in other states that may require licensure.
In addition to certification, Massage Therapists must fulfill continuing education courses in order to maintain their licenses. These requirements vary by state and by certifying organization but are typically required in order to remain current with the latest developments in the field.
Once a Massage Therapist is licensed, they can find employment in spas, hotels, resorts, gyms and health clubs, medical offices, professional sports teams, and holistic clinics. They can also work independently in their own private practice. Many Licensed Massage Therapists also choose to further their education and pursue voluntary board certification, or choose to specialize in one particular modality. Choosing a specialization beyond basic massage therapy can expand their earning potential and help them to stand out amongst the competition.
Many Massage Therapists work in settings such as spas, wellness centers, clinics and even medical offices. In addition, some Massage Therapists set up private practices and travel to clients’ homes or businesses for services. In this type of setting, Massage Therapists can find full-time positions with the opportunity to establish themselves in a particular area. Others find that this is a great option to use as a side gig in order to supplement their income or work around other commitments.
This career is well-suited for people who prefer to avoid the rigors of traditional office jobs and are looking for a more flexible work environment. It also allows people to minimize exposure to pharmaceuticals, radiation and other healthcare work that carries some health risks.
In a spa or clinic setting, a massage therapist typically has a dedicated massage room with a massage table and linens. They may also have access to other spa amenities such as saunas or steam rooms. In a clinical massage environment, the massage therapist will often work alongside other healthcare providers such as chiropractors or physical therapy professionals. In this type of setting, the massage therapist will usually be able to focus on treating patients with specific injuries or pain issues.
A person who wishes to work in the field of Massage Therapy can contact spas, wellness centers or medical offices in their area and inquire about job openings. In many cases, a job applicant will be required to provide a resume and complete an application form. In some cases, an interview will be required before a Massage Therapist is hired.
Massage Therapists can find employment with competitive salaries, based on their experience and location. In addition, it is possible to earn extra money through gratuities and bonuses from satisfied customers. When looking for a position, it is important to consider the overall compensation package and look for benefits such as paid time off, free massage sessions, HSA or Commuter Benefits, and opportunities for professional development. These perks can help make a career in Massage Therapy even more rewarding and satisfying.
Massage therapists are in high demand and are poised for greater growth than many other occupations. They work in a variety of settings, including spas and health clubs, hospitals and integrative clinics. They can also choose to focus their career in particular niches, like treating children or expectant mothers. The flexibility of the profession allows for experimentation and advancement, making it an incredibly gratifying career on multiple levels.
The median salary of massage therapists is $49,860 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the median doesn’t tell the entire story because therapists can make much more or less depending on where they work and the type of practice they have.
Some factors that influence the amount of money a therapist makes include the cost of living in the area, how many clients they see, the specialties they offer, and their years of experience. Continuing education and certifications can also improve the amount of money a therapist makes.
One of the biggest influences on a massage therapist’s income is how they market their services. Those who are good at marketing and can attract a large client base often can command higher fees than those with fewer clients or who have more competition.
Additionally, the number of hours worked per week can affect a therapist’s salary. The American Massage Therapy Association cites that the average workweek for a massage therapist is 26.6 hours. That’s partly because some of those hours are spent on administrative tasks or marketing.
Massage therapists can make a six-figure income by investing in their skills and implementing business strategies that improve profits. They can enhance their earning potential by purchasing better equipment, offering additional revenue streams, and expanding their client base. By taking these steps, massage therapists can ensure their long-term success. As the world becomes more health-conscious, the field of massage therapy is poised for greater growth. With a growing role in the healthcare industry and an emphasis on preventive care, massage therapists are more important than ever. The satisfaction that comes from helping people live healthier, more active lives is what drives the vast majority of massage therapists.