Earning massage therapy certification requires students attend classes to learn about different massage techniques, such as Swedish, myofascial and deep tissue, as well as human anatomy and physiology. Medical conditions that are relieved through massage therapy may also be explored in a massage therapy program, along with courses in interpersonal communication, ethics and infectious diseases.
What is Involved in Massage Therapy Certification?
Classes are taught by certified massage therapists with years of experience. Program lengths vary but are usually completed within 12 to 16 months. Once certified, students are qualified to pursue one or more advanced positions with continuing education classes or working by as interns in spas or clinics:
- Registered massage therapist
- Licensed massage practitioner
- Bodywork therapist
- Therapeutic massage technician
- Integrated deep tissue massage therapist
Career Outlook and Salary
In recent decades, alternative healing therapies such as massage therapy have grown increasingly popular. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the massage therapy job market is expected to experience a 19 percent increase over the next 15 years. Salaries for certified massage therapists range from $20,000 to as high as $60,000 per year, according to Salary.com. However, experience, location and whether a therapist works for someone else or is self-employed influences the amount a massage therapist can earn in one year.
A Good Choice as a Career?
Individuals interested in becoming a certified massage therapist should be comfortable with touching people and enjoy interacting with customers. Because building a permanent client base is important to being a successful massage therapist, students with a naturally ability to talk to and empathize with people who suffer from medical problems can often experience a successful and rewarding career as a massage therapist.
What If I Don’t Get Certified?
Most states require students complete a program of massage therapy classes offered by an accredited learning institution before they can legally work as massage therapists. Students will also need to pass a state-directed examination as well. A few states currently have no requirements to practice massage therapy but may have county-to-county laws regulating the ability for people to legally work as a massage therapist.