Your decision to pursue an education in massage therapy may be inspired by a variety of factors. You may be looking to change careers or to learn a skill for part time income. Whatever your reasons, the school you select should measure up to your inspiration. Selecting a school that is in harmony with your motivation and personal circumstance is critical to your success.
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a massage school:
Curriculum and education
Most massage schools will meet certain standard requirements; however, your education can vary greatly. Some schools specialize in a few techniques, while others expose students to a wide variety of modalities.
The questions you should ask are:
- Does the school meet all the education requirements in the city or state in which you will be licensed?
- What will I have learned upon graduation?
- What is the student-to-instructor ratio? This is most important in the hands-on instruction; you want to look for lower ratios in a technique class so you can receive as much personalized instruction as possible.
What is the atmosphere like? Some schools have a western, clinical atmosphere while others interweave eastern philosophy, such as meditation and energy work, into the classroom.
Costs and fees
Find out what is included in your tuition. Will you have to pay extra for books and supplies? What type of financing or financial aid is available?
- Does the school have a library?
- Is tutoring available? (What does the school offer to help you succeed in the program?)
- Is there job placement?
- Who can you talk with if you have concerns with other students or instructors?
Often a well of untapped knowledge, graduates are one of the best sources of information. Ask to speak to a graduate about her education and experience. In topics ranging from learning environment to study hours to student clinic, recent graduates often provide the most current and most honest information. A school may not release the names or contact information of graduates; however, you can always ask to have a graduate contact you.
How you relate to your instructor(s) will affect your education in either a wonderful or a challenging way.
- Are your instructors massage therapists?
- How long have they been in the field? Are they currently working as massage therapists?
- How many instructors are there? At some schools one instructor will take you through the entire curriculum; at other schools the curriculum is shared with several instructors, each teaching courses in which they have specialized knowledge.
There is really no right or wrong school for everyone. What is most important is to pick the school that is aligned with your personal beliefs and philosophies and that will allow you the best opportunity to grow, learn and expand your horizons.