How to Choose a Massage Therapy School or College
Massage therapy is the manipulation of skin, muscles and tissues designed to relieve stress and reduce tension. Diploma, certificate and associate degree programs are available throughout the U.S. which qualify students to become massage therapists. Some states regulate the massage therapy profession, and graduates may need licensure to practice.
How to Select a Massage Therapy Program
Since regulations vary among states, applicants of a massage therapy program are encouraged to make sure the school's curriculum adequately prepares for state licensure. In some cases, certification through a national organization may be a satisfactory substitute for a state license. Some states and certifying boards also require massage therapists to maintain updated skills with continuing education courses. Students may benefit from enrolling in a school that offers graduates lifelong learning courses to keep a license current.
Massage therapy takes time to build a regular clientele, and those with advanced training may offer increased value to those in need of massage services. Diploma or associate degree programs that offer transfer options give students the necessary training to start a career while advancing their education to encompass more knowledge of massage styles and techniques.
Students interested in specific massage specialties or modalities, such as Swedish massage, hydrotherapy, Chinese massage and sports massage, may wish to enroll in programs with courses and facilities that teach these disciplines. Those interested in a broader scope of education may find programs offering a large variety of modalities more appealing. Clinical experience may be valuable in preparation for professional practice, and students may find a variety of opportunities within a program provides enhanced development of skills.
Massage Therapy Program Overviews
Diploma in Massage Therapy
Diploma programs in massage therapy may commonly be completed in less than one year. Graduates typically qualify for licensure and certification at local and state levels. Coursework commonly includes introduction to anatomy, physiology and pathology. Students learn various modalities, such as Swedish massage, somatic tissue massage, hydrotherapy and deep tissue massage.
Certificate in Massage Therapy
Certificate programs in massage therapy may be completed in two or three semesters and often prepare graduates for licensure and practice. Coursework may include medical terminology, anatomy, first aid and kinesiology. Typically, one or two modalities are taught, which may include Chinese massage, Swedish massage, chiropractics and physical therapy.
Associate Degree in Massage Therapy
Associate degree programs in massage therapy may require general education requirements and could transfer into a bachelor's degree program. Courses teach basic pathology, business, anatomy and physiology. Massage techniques and modalities, such as sports massage, Swedish massage and hot stone massage may be practiced in a clinical setting during an internship opportunity.
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