Massage therapy is arguably one of the most flexible and gratifying careers available today. While working as a massage therapist, you'll get the chance to work closely with customers and relieve their muscle and joint pain. You'll also have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments. Massage therapists are employed in fitness centers, spas, dedicated massage therapy centers, and hospitals and clinics. After graduating from a massage therapy program and taking the licensing exam, you can choose to become what is called "board certified" in massage therapy. Licensing in massage therapy is strict and varies from state to state.
Massage Courses Online
There are massage therapy courses that will give you the educational background and tools you need to learn the ins and outs of massage therapy. Some schools, such as the U.S. Career Institute, offer the educational portion of the program fully online with an optional hands-on training course to accompany what you've learned. Upon graduation of the online course, you will receive certification from the school, but you will not be able to receive your professional license and begin work as a massage therapist until you fulfill the additional requirements for your region and state.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), most states require a minimum of 500 hours of hands-on learning to gain licensure and begin work as a massage therapist. Also according to the AMTA, some states, such as New York, require a lot more practical training—to the tune of 1,000 hours. It just depends on the state you live in (and wish to work in). There are other schools that do offer the educational portion fully online, then will direct you to a location where you can receive your required hands-on hours.
Hybrid Classes: Massage Courses Online And In-Person
Some massage schools offer some massage therapy classes and resources online but require in-class instruction to graduate. For example, Renton Technical College in Washington state offers a therapeutic massage program with hybrid classes, and it's approved and certified by the Washington State Board of Massage. According to the school, taking the program will prepare you for licensure and to work in a professional massage environment. The program boasts that, because a lot of the course instruction can be accessed online, the class meeting time is approximately half that of the traditional massage therapy programs. The Renton Technical College states that it takes most students nine months to complete the course.
Starting Your Career As A Massage Therapist
As noted, you will need to become licensed to become a massage therapist, but you can definitely receive at least some of your educational portion online if you choose. Start by researching the requirements of the state you live and wish to work in, and then gather any information about the number of required hands-on instruction hours you'll need. Compare that information against the massage therapy schools in your area. Finally, you will want to choose a massage school that is accredited by a credible agency and follows along with the regulations of the U.S. Department of Education.
Don’t let the multiple steps intimidate you. Your local school will help you find the information you need and prepare you for every step of the way!