There is a plethora of opportunities available for careers in the health care profession. One of the fastest growing fields is massage therapy. In fact, the field is expected to grow by almost 20% over the next five years alone.
Most people are surprised to learn that over 4 million people in America alone get massages regularly. This is almost 1 out of every 4 Americans! More than half of the people that get massages do so in order to manage pain effectively. Many other people use massage as a way to effectively manage stress.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage can help to effectively manage back pain, or even decrease pain associated with cancer treatments. Some pregnant women get massages to help with pregnancy related pains. Massage can also help to reduce the frequency of headaches, as well as the pain associated with such headaches. Even so, most insurance plans do not cover the cost of massage therapy.
Massage therapists can work in a variety of settings including a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, gym, or even in private practice. The average therapist makes about $60,000 per year when working full time. However, therapists have been known to make up to $180,000 per year. Part time therapists can earn about $29,000 for working just 15 hours a week. On average, therapists make anywhere from $60 to $100 per hour.
Of course, therapists don’t choose the field just to make money. In general, massage therapists choose the field because they enjoy helping people to relax and improve their health.
Becoming a Massage Therapist
In order to become a therapist, you will need to take at least 300 hours of course work. In many cases, you may need to take up to 1000 hours of course work in order to meet the requirements of the program. Courses in anatomy and physiology are essential. Courses may even include some psychology in order to help you to understand the needs of your future patients. Most massage therapy schools also teach students about legal issues and professional etiquette. Currently, there are several hundred certified therapy schools in America which train massage therapists.
Depending upon where you live, you may need to take continuing education courses after graduation as well as a certification examination before starting to practice.
Online Massage Therapy Classes
In many cases you may be able to attend classes online. If you are very busy or have a hectic schedule, online classes may be the best option for you. Before starting classes, you may want to do some research to decide which type of massage therapy technique interests you most. These may include Shiatsu, Swedish, or even Indian massage. Some therapists decide to concentrate on reflexology, deep tissue, or hot stone massage. Other therapists specialize in more than one modality. The most popular specialty area is Swedish massage.
Most graduates go to work for someone else immediately after graduation until they build up a client base. It generally takes a few years to gain the experience and clientele base necessary to start a business in the field. Even so, many therapists are content to work for someone else and concentrate on their patients instead of running their own business.
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