Massage Therapist – Becoming a Therapist
Massage Therapist Certification is a highly recommended medical professional and profession for those who are interested in stimulating the body and easing tension. Massage therapy has been practiced globally for years and offers great relief to chronic pain and injuries. The demand for therapists who specialize in this field is high and expected to grow over the next few years. As Massage Therapy is considered one of the fastest growing health care professions, education is very important. This is especially true for those looking to start a career as a Massage Therapist Certification.
Requirements for massage therapists generally range greatly by location or state. State or county-specific education programs are available in many public or private postsecondary institutions. Most such programs entail at least 500 hours of clinical study for the completion; most programs require much more than that.
Massage therapy programs at the graduate or undergraduate level include a broad understanding of both the human body and the science of anatomy and physiology. This knowledge is then applied to hands-on techniques and patient-specific training. Hands-on practice also involves learning how to administer and follow specific instructions given by a licensed massage therapist. Some states require aspiring Massage Therapists to undergo board certification; in other states certification is not required.
Those pursuing a career path in the massage therapy profession will need to find employment in an area with a growing population. Areas with larger populations will generally have more competition for Massage Therapist jobs. For this reason, many Massage Therapists prefers to work locally; working for a local company will enable them to establish personal relationships with potential clients and build a client base. This relationship building can help Massage Therapists establishes a good reputation in their community.
Communication skills are important to the success of any career path. Massage Therapists should develop a good sense of verbal and non-verbal communication skills in order to be successful in their careers. The most effective communication between Massage Therapists and their patients occurs through non-verbal communication skills such as eye contact, hand gestures and understanding of a person’s reaction to certain techniques. Many Massage Therapists work well with individuals who do not speak much and depend on their facial expressions and body language to give them feedback about their treatment.
Completion of a formal education program is necessary to legally work in Massage Therapy. The Education division of the State Board of Massage Therapy Licensing is responsible for the licensure of Massage Therapists in each state. To apply for a license, a massage therapist must meet certain requirements. A massage therapist must hold a current certificate or degree from an accredited program. In addition, he/she must pass written and practical examinations required by his/her state.
Continuing Education Courses typically require massage therapists to complete specific courses each year. These include study in anatomy, physiology, diagnostic procedures, safety practices and professional ethics. Massage Therapists who participate in continuing education courses are required to successfully pass a written examination administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Individuals who successfully pass this examination are then accredited by the board to practice as massage therapists in the state in which they received their certification. Individuals may also choose to take further continuing education courses that focus on specific areas such as sports medicine, child therapy, geriatrics and women’s health.
Massage Therapists work in a variety of healthcare settings. Many Massage Therapists work in hospitals and clinics while others work in private practices. Some Massage Therapists work in home businesses; some are involved in home visits, some are self-employed and some operate their own office. Today, there are numerous opportunities available for individuals interested in becoming Massage Therapists. Therapy is a career that has a growing demand.