Did you know the field of massage therapy is growing? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2010 to 2020 . If you’re looking for a career in a growing field, massage therapy may be the perfect direction for you. Massage therapy is part art, part science. It is a practice that manipulates soft tissue to reduce stress or even to rehabilitate injuries. If you are interested in health and wellness, this can be a very rewarding career.
As you begin your search for the program that is right for you, there are a few key issues to keep in mind. While there are numerous factors that may be more or less important to individual students, we have compiled a short list of some of the common criteria.
Helpful Tips on How to Choose a Massage Therapy Program:
There are more than 80 different types of massage, including acupressure, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and Swedish massage. Treating an elderly client requires a different set of skills than massaging a pregnant mother-to-be or a professional athlete. The massage therapist program at Harris School helps prepare students to work with a wide range of clients.
1. Look for a Program That Organizes Externships
Externships are a great way to apply what you have learned in your training program. As you develop skills and learn about the various techniques of many massage styles, including deep tissue, reflexology, Swedish massage and more, you will want to be able to take those skills and start to put them into practice. That’s what externships are all about. Whatever program you choose, be sure that it gives you the opportunity to find out what the real work world is like.
The availability of externships is an extremely important factor in how to choose a massage therapy school. Externships can give students:
- hands-on experience that can improve their resumes
- opportunities to meet other people already working in the massage therapy field
- a sense of confidence in their new massage therapy skills
If you have an externship at a wellness center, fitness center, clinic, hospital or spa, you will get on-the-job practice while you are still a student. This experience gives you extra confidence and training once you begin your job search.
2. Look for a Program that is Committed to Your Career Success
When you are considering how to choose a massage therapy program, you’ll definitely want to think about what resources are available to help you in your future job search. Will the programs you are looking at offer you professional support through career services? A helpful career services office will be able to assist you in developing your resume and cover letter and in preparing for interviews. In addition, they may assist you in your job search by researching open positions, alerting you about job fairs, and by providing employment referrals.
At a program like the one at Harris, the career services staff is there to help students get started on their career paths. While your classes are extremely important, you can’t overlook the value of the help you’ll receive after your training is complete and it’s time to look for a job.
3. Look for a Program that Offers the Classes You Want
Because the field is so broad and there are nearly 80 different types of massage, massage therapy programs can differ greatly in the types of classes that they offer. If you know some of the specific skills that you’d like to learn, then you’ll need to include that criteria into your list for how to choose a massage therapy program.
Here are some examples of classes offered at Harris that you may be interested in taking:
- Massage Therapy – The Science of Touch: This class is an overview on the history of massage and the study of massage as a therapeutic tool.
- The Art of Massage Therapy: This class covers some of the practicals, such as massage preparation, preventing injury, professionalism during massage and use of supplies.
- Anatomy & Physiology Fundamentals: This class will provide a review of the human body, including some basic chemistry as well as structure.
- The Business of Massage Therapy: This class will help you begin to think about your career or even to make plans for developing your own massage business.
We hope that these tips for how to choose a massage therapy program have been helpful to you! Good luck in your search and please don’t hesitate to contact Harris for more details! Call 1.800.510.7920.