If you love working closely with people, are eager to learn and want a career with a bright future, then massage therapy may be a great choice for you. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for massage therapists is growing by 22% between 2014 and 2024. That’s 36,500 new massage therapists, and one of them could be you! But do you know how to become a massage therapist?
Have you’ve ever asked a friend or family member to rub your shoulders after a long day? If so, you know that amateur massages don’t necessarily do the job. It takes in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology, how the body moves and which techniques to use. It also takes thorough understanding of ethics and guidelines for professional practice to earn your licence. These skills are important, because most states regulate the work of massage therapists, and require you to earn your license.
Licensed Massage Therapist Requirements
Before you even begin your studies, it’s important that you can prove you are of “good moral character”, with a clean criminal record. Licensed massage therapists have worked hard to differentiate themselves from shady practices posing as massage. It’s now a recognized part of the health care continuum, and that requires exemplary standards.
Second, you need to choose a recognized massage program with a minimum of 500 hours of instruction. First Institute, in Crystal Lake, Illinois, is a great choice, offering a comprehensive 40-week program. Even better, it includes 160 hours of practical, hands-on experience at their Healing Arts Center, which is open to the public.
Finally, once you have mastered the academic and practical requirements, you need to pass the licensing exam. The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is a rigorous, 2-hour, 100-question multiple-choice exam. Passing it makes your credentials portable because it is recognized throughout the USA.
About the MBLEx
This exam covers:
- Client assessment, reassessment and treatment plans
- Techniques: their benefits and physiological effects
- Pathology: when not to use a modality, contraindications, special populations
- Modalities, including culture and history
- Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations
- Guidelines for Professional Practice
- Anatomy and Physiology
Professional ethics and guidelines have the most emphasis in the exam, followed by Anatomy and Physiology/Kinesiology/Bodywork.
Once you have completed the training and passed the exam, you are ready to apply for work in the industry, or to set up your own practice. Either way, First Institute is there to support you with your job search, including resume preparation and interview techniques.
First Institute Shows You How to Become a Massage Therapist
In theory, a person could go online and study to become a massage therapist without ever treating a person, but what would be the good of that? First Institute knows how important it is to balance the art and the science of massage therapy. They emphasize the importance of hands-on, practical learning that will give you the confidence you need to start your career.
If you are excited about the career prospects and people focus of massage therapy, then you owe it to yourself to contact First Institute. Our friendly Admissions Representatives will help you determine if it’s the right career for you. They’ll also take you on a tour of the campus and our Healing Arts Center, where you can talk to instructors, students, even clients. And because we are an accredited school, financial aid is available to those who qualify.