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Choosing the Right Massage Therapy For You
He decided to go to massage therapy school, so he begins to do his research and discovers that there are over 300 accredited massage schools and programs in the United States. With so many options, you need a game plan to choose the right massage therapy college for you.
Start by learning about the profession of massage therapy in general and the different methods of massage therapy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor provides a detailed description of the masseur profession. Here you can get information on the nature of work, training and other qualifications, employment, job prospects, projection data, Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data, related occupations, and sources of additional information. Another good source for information on the massage therapy industry is the American Association for Massage Therapy (AMTA). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) also offers an overview of the vocation, including the history of massage.
Next, you will want to learn more about the different methods of massage therapy. There are more than eighty different recognized massage modalities, according to the NCCAM. Some examples of the more common modalities include Swedish massage, sports massage, shiatsu bodywork, deep tissue massage, and reflexology. You can find a glossary of types of massage and bodywork on the Massage Therapy website provided by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Consider your professional intentions and determine your goal. Do you see yourself running a private practice? Do you want to work in a medical environment? Do you want to work with specialized populations such as care for the elderly or pre and postnatal massage? Setting your goal will help you evaluate the cost and value each school offers. Some programs focus exclusively on relaxation massages, others focus on orthopedic modalities.
Expand your search to other states. Remember that your education is an investment. You may find that the perfect massage school for you is not right next door.
Review the curriculum. Make sure that the school teaches the styles of massage you want to learn, and provides plenty of on-the job training opportunities. Does the school offer internship opportunities? Is there a student clinic? Look for a comprehensive curriculum that balances the in-depth study in the sciences with a thorough education in bodywork, business and interpersonal skills. Take a look at the advanced massage practice degrees offered, such as an Associates of Occupational Studies (AOS) degree.
Be aware of time requirements for a particular program. How long is the program? Are you planning to attend full-time or part-time? Is the program 6 months? 12 months? When are the classes offered? Only during the day or are evening classes offered? Make sure your work and family obligations allow enough time to study and practice outside of class.
Collect information about several programs. Attend an orientation or an open house if the school is local. If possible, connect with former students and interview them about their massage school experience. Many schools offer a student clinic with discounted massages from students and faculty. Receive massage therapy sessions from the faculty, graduates and students.
Utilize the power of social media. Look up the massage therapy school name on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. If the school has set up an internet presence on a social networking site, you may be able to directly email members of the school faculty or join in or start a discussion. Another option is to search for the words "massage therapy" in Facebook and LinkedIn and join a group to learn more about the profession. On Twitter you can also go to massage to follow and join in with tweets about massage in general.
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