Are You Interested In Being a Massage Therapist?

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on February 4, 2013

A massage therapist is a person who provides therapeutic massages. A massage therapist can either be a consultant or may work in spas, wellness clinics, hospitals, orthopedic centers, physical therapy centers, or cruise ships.


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The only way to become a massage therapist is to obtain a license to practice as a therapist. There are a few ways of doing this, and this is what we will take a look at in this article.

How does one become a massage therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist is quite easy in theory. All you need to do is obtain the required certificate and you can start to practice. There are a number of colleges that offer courses in massage therapy, right from degree courses to short-term certificates.

These certifications are designed depending on whether you’re a lay person interested in becoming a therapist but do not have any sort of background in it, to a person who already has the requisite knowledge and the hours of training, but not the certificate to practice.

A word of warning to young hopefuls is that different states have different requirements to obtain a license. A little tip to follow if you are relocating is to go for a full-fledged course or get a national certification, which is valid in most states.

The standard curriculum in a massage therapy course is 500+ hours of training in the following:

  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Hot stone massage
  • Foot reflexology
  • Energy massage
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Lymphatic massage
  • Pregnancy massage
  • Myofascial therapies
  • Aromatherapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Rocking and shaking
  • Sports massage
  • Swedish massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

The above curriculum is for a complete degree course and not all states require a degree course in order to practice as a massage therapist. There are a number of certifications that are provided for those who already have the required hours of training with the writing of an exam.

Different institutions offer a slightly different program, and most of them offer courses designed to receive licensing in that particular state. You therefore need to find out beforehand as to whether the licensing will be valid in that state alone or in other states as well.

Most states, however, offer the option of you passing a course in a state that either meets the same requirements or exceed them. This means that passing in one state allows you to practice in a number of others, even if you have not passed the national certification exam.


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