Source http://kelowna-chiropractic.ca/ – Who doesn’t love a good massage? It’s relaxing, therapeutic… how about necessary to the wellbeing of your health? The growing popularity of alternative medicine is all around us. A certified massage therapist (CMT) can not only land a good job in a spa now, but chiropractic clinics, hospitals, and other places relating directly to healthcare. Thinking of becoming a massage therapist for yourself? Here are the steps to get there, and the pros and cons after graduation day.
A good school is the foundation of a great education, and a great education is the basis for landing an outstanding job. There are hundreds of massage therapy programs in the United States and Canada, but only few are nationally accredited, meaning federal financial aid and (more often than not) a better curriculum.
When choosing a school, be sure they address everything you’ll need to know before, as well as after graduation. A list of questions to ask would include, but would not be limited to:
Are you an accredited massage school?
Will I have enough logged hours after graduation to practice massage in my state? How about other states?
What are the steps to getting licensed in my (or other) states? Will you help me with those steps?
Do I qualify to take the national certification exam after graduation?
What is your job placement for graduates?
Do you cover business management classes in case I want to open my own practice after graduation?
There are many others; these are just the basic questions of importance when choosing the school that’s right for you.
Do you plan to open your own practice? Do you want to work from your home, or rent an office? Would you rather work in a spa, on a cruise ship, a chiropractor’s office, a hospital? When the right answer comes to you and you start massaging paying customers, what do you have to look forward to?
Pros: Massage therapy is a growing field. The career in and of itself is expected to grow faster than average throughout the next few years.
Therapists who truly enjoy helping people will never tire of the work. The will to heal others through touch is something deep within the soul that generally stays with a person for the rest of their lives. It’s very fulfilling for many at the end of the day knowing they made a positive difference for someone.
Whether you run your own practice or work for someone, more often than not the hours are flexible. A massage therapist considers anything over 15 hours of work a week full-time.
In the right circumstances, the pay is much better than average. A one-hour massage can cost anywhere between $45 to hundreds of dollars, depending on skill, experience, and location. If you run your own practice, that’s 100% in-your-pocket profit.
Cons: The average expectancy of a massage therapist to stay in their field is 2-5 years, at which point some enter a “burn-out” phase. They no longer want to be in massage, their wrists have developed Carpal Tunnel or some other discomfort, their back is in pain from bending over all the time, or something else occurs.
If you’re not careful, you are prone to injury. The wrists and the back are big problem areas, and sometimes the legs can wear out from long hours of standing.
The work is not steady. When the economy is struggling, luxuries are typically the first things to go. People often file massages under luxury experiences, and therefore might decide to stop coming to you after budget cuts.
For women (and some men), ridicule is prevalent in the ever-popular form of the phrase “happy endings”. Massage therapists are not to be mistaken for individuals who perform sexual acts for pay. It is an accusation that’s devastating to their self-image as well as an insult to their career.
In the end, it’s all about where your priorities as an individual lie. Choosing a career of any sort is a life-changing decision. Assess your passion and follow your heart. When you follow those rules, you will likely land a career that makes you happy for the rest of your life.