Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions
Massage and related therapeutic professions are fields within health care that are designed to improve circulation, reduce stress and relieve pain. Individuals interested in this career field typically undergo a formal training program and must pass a state license. Massage courses are often offered at local colleges, community centers and vocational schools.
Inside Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions
Massage therapists manipulate the soft-tissue muscles throughout a body to reduce stress, treat injuries and promote general health in a patient. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 80 types of massage techniques used, including Swedish, sports, neuromuscular, reflexology and deep-tissue (www.bls.gov). Therapists may specialize in multiple types of techniques and treatments to meet a client's needs.
Most massage therapists work part time or are self-employed. They usually work by appointment. These therapists may work in a variety of settings, including sports centers, hospitals and nursing homes. If self-employed, therapists must provide their own equipment such as massage tables, oils and pillows. The work of a massage therapist is physically demanding, and most therapists do not work more than 40 hours per week.
Many states require formal training and licensure to work as a massage therapist. Massage therapy programs can be found at several public and private colleges. Coursework for these programs may include anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and business administration. Proper technique is important because poor form can cause injury to the therapist making the individual unable to do this type of work.
Industry associations such as the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) or the Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) offer certification for massage therapists. State licensing boards decide which certifications and examinations to accept.
The BLS reported that employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by 19% between 2008 and 2018, faster than average for all jobs. This growth is attributed to demand for massage services, especially at spas and massage clinic franchises. Demand for such services from older age groups will increase because this growing population segment is enjoying longer, more active lives, says the BLS.
In May 2010, massage therapists earned an average wage of $39,770 a year, according to the BLS. Specialty hospitals were the top paying industry, with an average annual wage of $55,020, followed by dentist offices at $54,530 a year and nursing care facilities at $51,200 a year. The personal care services industry employed the most massage therapists.
Learn More About Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions
There are many areas of specialization within the field of massage. Education-Portal.com provides relevant information and resources that can help you choose a career that fits your needs.
There are various educational programs available to become a massage therapist. They range from certificates and associate degrees to advanced training for more challenging specialties and techniques.
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- Educational Requirements Video
- Massage Therapy Certificate
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- Degree Program Overview
- Associate Degree Overview
Career options for massage therapists will vary depending on the type practice, experience and skill level. Location and client type also contribute to career options.
Distance Learning Options
There are distance learning options available for individuals whose schedules don't allow the attendance of a traditional school program.
Certification and licensing requirements vary by state.
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