Steps to become a Massage Therapist

Here we outline the steps generally required to become a Massage Therapist.

Step 1: Get a high school diploma

It is important that applicants wanting to join a Massage Therapy Program have at least a high school education. While this is not an explicit requirement according to the American Massage Therapy Association, it is highly recommended. The course content, program requirements and other aspects of the course require post secondary skills so a high school education is preferred.

Step 2: Find and apply to accredited Massage Therapy Schools

In order for a person to become a massage therapist they will need to complete a certificate or diploma at an accredited Massage Therapy School.  An accredited school or program is one recognized by the State’s licensing board. The course usually takes between 500 to 1,000 hours. These hours consist of class study, coursework and hands-on training.

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The types of subjects covered include anatomy, the fundamentals of kinesiology, physiology and pathology. Students of massage therapy get to learn about professional ethics and how to deal with clients. Those intending to be independent or get into self employment are taught subjects such as business management, book keeping and marketing skills.

A good part of the 500 to 1,000 hours of study will involve clinical work and hands-on training at a clinic lab. This kind of training is meant to provide trainees with real life work experience as they learn to apply the skills they learn in class. Work experience is a very important aspect of Massage Therapy Programs

Step 3: Get licensed

Once you have obtained your certificate or diploma you must then obtain a State license before you can begin to work as a Massage Therapist. To get the license an applicant will have to sit the the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEX). Some States also require a therapist to have acquired liability insurance before applying for a license.
For specific licensing information select your State on the map below;

Step 4: Find employment as a Massage Therapist

Employment prospects are extremely favorable with a substantial increase in demand for Massage Therapists predicted between 2016 and 2014.  And there are plenty of places to find employment as a qualified and licensed Massage Therapist. Many find employment in hospitals and wellness centers, others work in hotels, spas and resorts, in chiropractic offices, in massage parlors, sports clubs, salons and cruise ships. Many others work independently with home offices and private massage offices.

Step 5: Ongoing professional development

There is ongoing training and professional development requirements for all massage therapists. This is in fact a condition of licensing and future certification. Massage therapists who need to renew their licenses will need to demonstrate continuous education as well as at least 100 hours of work experience.

Step 6: (Optional) Become a member of a professional organisation

There are a number of professional bodies within the massage and bodywork industry. One of the best known and most trusted is the American Massage Therapy Association. This is a professional body that brings together Massage Therapists across America. It is important to belong to such organizations because it is easier for members to get a job, receive liability insurance and attract clients. Members of such bodies are more considered more trustworthy because they agree to practice the profession and uphold its virtues.