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University vs. Technical/Vocational School for Massage Therapy

In recent years, massage therapy has grown into an integral part of the Western healthcare ideology. In the United States and Canada, there are a multitude of excellent massage therapy schools that cater to differing needs and styles of massage.

Prospective students will have to choose between a university massage therapy education and vocational training. Determining the style or area of massage to specialize in is the first step in determining the educational environment in which to study.

Vocational Training Programs

Vocational programs and specialty schools give students the opportunity to obtain a career in massage therapy in a short amount of time. They can last from six months to two years, depending on the institution and program chosen. The programs are based on practical hours, as opposed to credit hours in a university setting. A practical hour is determined by time spent in class and performing hands-on training.

Because vocational training programs are shorter in length, some only include massage and physiological training, which can limit the knowledge for a prospective massage therapy professional.

Other programs offer business classes and training in order to assist the graduate in running a business themselves. These schools often offer more specialized or specific massage styles such as shiatsu, acupuncture, or aroma therapy, but cover general areas as well. In contrast university programs can be more general, with options of concentrating in a certain area.

University Programs

University programs are longer, as most institutions have a four- or five-year program, but present more options on average, for a rounded education.

Some two-year degrees are offered through universities to provide a more streamlined program for individuals with limited time. These programs start out with general education and move into more defined areas of massage depending upon the students choices in electives. Universities have requirements of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology to gain a better understanding of the human form and its mechanics.

More often than not, universities offer a wider variety of options for massage therapy students for additional studies. Students can choose to minor in various complementary fields such as general business, finance, English, or advertising.

In addition, pupils can elect to double major or simply choose additional classes to expand their education. All accredited universities require a state certification as well as clinical studies or an internship for graduation.

While differences exist between vocational and university massage therapy programs, they both deliver quality training. These variations should be examined by the prospective student in order to decide which is more fitting to personal educational goals and career aspirations.

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