Taking Your First Step
Choosing a school and a new career are important life decisions. But what are the essential questions to ask, and what information should you be seeking when you are looking at school options?
You have made the decision to go back to school to be a massage therapist. Great choice! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 22 percent through 2028, which is much faster than other occupations. That means massage therapists are in demand and will continue to be for many years to come.
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Essential Information to Have
So, where do you start, and what information is most critical? The school’s website is a good place to begin gathering information on the program. Calling to speak with a representative from the Admissions department is also a wise idea.
Below are the top five areas to inform your decision-making process when applying to a massage therapy program.
The first thing to consider is time. Do you have the time to attend classes full-time, and if so, does the school you are considering have a program that fits your schedule? If you have a full-time job, does the school have classes that meet when you are free? Inquire about the choice of day or evening programs, and when the classes meet.
2. Length and Quality
The next question should be the length of the program (hours of training), and whether it will cover the requirements for the state you are looking to get licensed in. Most states require a minimum of 500 hours of training from an accredited school. Which leads to another important school criteria – accreditation. The quality of the program is of utmost importance, so make sure the school you are looking into has been accredited by COMTA, or the Commission of Massage Therapy Accreditation which ensures an institution has demonstrated a high quality of educational standards.
3. Student Services
It is also important to consider what services the school offers to their students. This includes assistance with financial aid paperwork or arranging for payment plan options. It may be helpful to inquire about tutoring availability, post-graduate job placement, and continuing education offerings. Some students find that going to a school that will help place them in a job upon graduation is a big factor because it eases the pressure of the job search.
Evaluate tuition, fees and other costs associated with the school. Does the total tuition include all the textbooks, student insurance, or uniforms if necessary? Is the cost of taking the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam, or MBLEx, covered in the cost of tuition? Make sure to get a detailed breakdown of what is included in the price so that you can compare one school to the other.
Speak with an Admissions representative and visit the school! Taking a tour will enable you to see what the classrooms look like and meet the school’s representative. Taking a tour will also allow you to practice the commute to school. If possible, audit a class, meet with a current student or faculty member, and attend an open house or orientation.
Investing in your education and beginning a new career can be challenging but very rewarding at the same time! Following these steps to get the information you need, will help guide you in making one of the most important decisions in your life! Best of luck, and congratulations on exploring this in-demand and rewarding career field!
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