You've thought about it long and hard, and you've decided to pursue your dream of becoming a massage therapist. Great choice! The question is, how do you decide among all of schools in your area that offer a massage-therapy program? The practice of massage is constantly evolving, so you will need comprehensive, up-to-date training that is in touch with the realities of the workplace. The following tips will help you find a quality training program that will help you launch your new career successfully:
1. Look for a hands-on approach. Progressive academic institutions will integrate hands-on, real-world clinical training with classroom instruction. This may sound obvious, but some schools rely a lot more on textbook learning than others.
2. Visit a school before enrolling. It's important to get a firsthand look at the campus you're considering. A school's hands-on approach should be matched with real-world facilities. The only way to get a true sense of a school's ability to integrate practical clinical training is to take a thorough campus tour and get to know the facilities available to you and your peers.
3. Look for industry-driven curricula. The massage-therapy program you select should be regularly updated based on input from business, industry leaders and licensing boards. This ensures that the program meets industry standards and provides the specific skills that employers want.
4. Look for an accredited institution. Accreditation agencies require that schools meet criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education for quality assurance and institutional enhancement. Students at accredited institutions will have fewer problems obtaining financial aid, transferring credits or having their credentials recognized by employers.
5. Search out real-world clinical experiences. Take advantage of in-clinic opportunities to gain experience and build confidence. Although practicing in the lab is helpful, nothing facilitates learning like dealing directly with real people with real physical problems.
6. Learn from the clinic's business activities. Customer service, management and communication skills, as well as charting and technology know-how will help you hit the ground running once you're certified. It's not just about the art of massage-employers look for a balance of technical, interpersonal and professional skills.
7. Research certification requirements. Know what certifications are required to work as a massage therapist before you start class. Schedule and prepare for your certification exams while you are still in your training program. Upon graduation, you can take your exams and be certified to work in short order.