With the right training, a career in massage therapy can be a highly rewarding one. In addition to providing stress relief and relaxation, the practice offers healing and restorative benefits that can aid in pain relief, pain management, and injury recovery. Even consumers are taking the medical value of massage more seriously. According to a study conducted in 2021 by the American Massage Therapy Association, nearly half of those polled booked a massage for the express purpose of relaxation and stress reduction.
This is all to say that your professional opportunities as an aspiring massage therapist can extend beyond spas or massage franchises and include positions in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, chiropractic offices, your own practice, and more.
To ensure you have the greatest opportunities possible, however, you will need to know what to look for in a massage school. The right massage school will be one that provides the training and experience you need to excel in the path you choose, while also accommodating your personal needs and preferences. Here’s how to begin your search.
What To Look For in a Massage School
Sifting through the many options for massage therapy training can feel overwhelming. By keeping in mind the following considerations, you can narrow down your list to just a few high-quality choices.
Foundational coursework should include massage history and ethics, as well as lessons in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathology. Be on the lookout for dedicated business training to develop skills in areas like client communication, management, legal, and finance.
Because of the range of career paths available within massage therapy, you’ll want to make sure your training includes the type of massage technique(s) you plan to specialize in — from therapeutic healing techniques like deep tissue massage and lymphatic drainage to clinical services like neuromuscular therapies and sports massage.
Most importantly, the knowledge-based learning component should be accompanied by an application-based component. This way, you’re able to put what you learned into practice, engaging with actual clients and gaining invaluable real-world experience. An online program might cost less and offer more convenience, but without the hands-on learning component, you’ll be insufficiently equipped to begin your career.
To narrow your search to schools with a higher standard, only consider accredited massage schools. When a school is accredited, it means that it meets or exceeds the strict standards and requirements enforced by a third-party accrediting body. Accrediting agencies can exist at the state, regional, and national level.
A high-quality massage therapy education comes with a price, but you should consider this an investment in your future. The good news is that financial aid in the form of Pell Grants and direct loans are often available for massage therapy school to those who qualify. Depending on where you plan to go to school, state-level financial aid may also be available. Lastly, always check with the institutions themselves for available scholarships and other funding opportunities. A good massage school will always work with you to manage the financial component of this investment.
Students begin their massage therapy journeys at different stages in their lives. For many, massage therapy is not their first career. They’re also busy with jobs, families, and other commitments that can’t be abandoned to complete massage therapy school. If this sounds like you, consider an institution that offers flexible class and training schedules. For instance, at PCI Academy, we offer multiple start dates for our 30-week program throughout the year, which include both morning and evening classes to accommodate your schedule.
The final thing to look for when choosing a massage therapy school is the support you’ll receive upon completing your training. While you’ll be more than qualified for a range of entry-level massage therapy roles after completing your program, your school should offer job placement assistance to help you secure one.
What’s more, massage therapy is an ever-evolving field. The right schools know this, which is why they will offer continuing education and advanced training opportunities to alumni throughout their careers. In addition to learning new modalities and refining your skills, continuing education is vital for license renewal.
Making the Decision
Whether you’re just starting out in the professional world or making a much-needed career pivot, thriving in this line of work is attainable with the right massage therapy school.
At PCI Academy, we offer a robust massage therapy curriculum consisting of both specialized coursework and practical instruction that fulfills Iowa’s 600-hour licensure requirements in just 30 weeks. We’re also accredited by the state and offer scholarships, grants, and federal aid to help finance your education. Our flexible course schedules can accommodate your own, and we also provide job placement and continuing education after you’ve graduated to support your professional career.
Contact us today to get your questions answered or schedule a campus tour. Already made up your mind? Apply now to begin your massage therapy training!