Massage Therapy Colleges in the U.S.
Massage therapy is no longer associated only with luxury resorts or high end spas. The art and science of massage therapy now permeates into sports medicine, maternity health, long-term pain treatment, and rehabilitation sciences.
Due to the increase in need and awareness of benefits, massage therapy colleges have grown and expanded across the country. There are currently over 300 massage therapy schools and programs across the United States. The average number of course hours required to graduate or pass one of the programs is 674 course hours. 43 states also now regulate the business and the certifications that are required to legally be a practicing massage therapist.
Choose a reputable school
While there are a high number of colleges and programs out there, there are also a high number of programs that are not in line with state or national regulations. In order to practice massage therapy, you need to have passed the state exams for licensing. There are also exams for national certification that any reputable college will help you obtain. There are simple ways to tell if the massage therapy colleges you are considering are accredited and will help you enter the field with all of the required certifications. First, do the research and know what the requirements are for the state you wish to work in. This is made easier by attending a massage therapy college program in the actual state you wish to work in rather than going to school in one state with the intention of working in another.
Ask about success rates
Once you familiarize yourself with the certifications and licensing requirements, inquire as to the success rates of past graduates of the college or program. You can ask a school representative for job placement help and statistics. This will help you gage the validity and respectability of the program before you invest your money or time.
Flexible class schedules
Most massage therapy colleges have flexible class scheduling options also. If you work full time, you should still be able to take classes on a part time basis. Many colleges also offer online course work. While massage therapy is a highly hands on field, some of the basic classes, such as nutrition, history and theory of massage therapy and basic anatomy, can be taken online.
Before choosing a particular massage therapy college program, you will want to explore your financial situation. Most accredited programs have a variety of financial aid options. Choose which ones realistically fit and benefit your unique situation.
Be prepared to learn beyond the classroom after you complete coursework at a massage therapy college. Most programs will provide you with clinical experience as part of your coursework. For many, knowing exactly which style of massage therapy is the best fit is based on experience as well as personal choice.
You may go into the field assuming you are best suited for or will best enjoy working in a spa environment. Through extensive class and clinical experience, you may find you truly wish to work in the medical field helping the infirmed with massage therapy for pain management. Without hands on training and clinical practice, you may not find the best style of massage therapy for you.
Continuing to learn
Most massage therapists credit their education and desire to continue learning with their success. Massage therapy colleges are only the first step for many to fulfill their dream of breaking into the field. Over 96% of working massage therapists continue to take classes and learn new techniques and practices. The field is continually growing and branching into new areas. Learning new techniques, new specialties and expanding your knowledge base will ensure that you use your initial massage therapy education to the fullest.