Massage therapy is a very exciting field to work in, which is why a lot of people (possibly you) are interesting in learning how to become a massage therapist. If you would like more detail on a massage therapist salary or if you are wondering ‘is massage therapy a good career?’ please visit our other articles on these topics. This article should give you more detail on the process of becoming one and some answers to questions you might be wondering about.
How do I Learn Massage Therapy?
From my experience, people unfamiliar with the field experience a LOT of confusion with regards to how you are actually supposed to learn massage therapy. There is a lot of unclear and vague information out there which causes this confusion.
Basically while it may not seem intuitive, to become a massage therapist you more often than not need to go to a post-secondary institution (we’ll talk about exceptions later). There are specific schools in each state that are massage therapy schools.
In classes you will have both typical classes where you learn about things like anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. On top of this you will have in-class supervised application hours that you must fulfill. These hours will be focused on developing your massage technique skills and putting your theory into application.
How long does it take To Become a Massage Therapist?
The length of time it takes to become a massage therapy will vary largely depending on what state you live in, along with what town and county. Each state has different requirements that you must meet in order to get your license to be allowed to practice legally. To view these requirements you can visit our homepage and scroll down to the map where you can click on your state of interest.
Massage therapy schools consist of a certain number of hours of each section of study that you must fulfill; once you have met these hour requirements you will have graduated. So unlike a typical post-secondary school program where you have 3-4 year programs, massage therapy programs can take under a year, or much longer depending on how motivated and ambitious you are. Typically programs are about 500 hours, so you can finish them in 6-8 months no problem as long as you are willing to put in a lot of work.
There is one other reason to go to a massage therapy school that you must keep in mind. You need to make sure that your school offers a sufficient number of hours so that you can take a national exam if you need to (learn about the requirements on the homepage).
What Do I do After Graduating?
I briefly touched on the point earlier, but first you must decide where you want to practice, preferably in the same state you went to school in (if not you may have to complete additional schoolwork to practice in another state).
Once you know what state, look up the requirements you must fulfill. You should have the necessary hours of training for the state, and hopefully the national exam if they require you to pass one.
The National Exam
In almost all states you need to pass either a NCBTMB exam or the MBLEx. Once again you can learn more about these on the homepage of this site, but here’s a brief overview. Most states accept these exams as a sign of your competence as a massage therapist practitioner (note that these exams are written, not practical) and it is the last major step you must pass to become a licensed massage therapist.
Other Things To Do
All states have tiny things that are different that you must do, but they are typically very easy to do. The hardest thing you may have to do is pass a basic state law test on the relevant legal rules for massage therapy in the state, but only a few states have this requirement. Other than that complete the requirements you need to and get your license.
The Final Steps
You must look into your town or county rules to see if there is anything applicable to practicing massage therapy. There are some weird rules that you would not expect in some places and you could get in a lot of trouble. Just be diligent beforehand though and you’ll have no problems.
If there is anything that is still unclear, just leave a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll address as soon as I can!