Reflexology is a form of massage therapy that involves applying alternating pressures to the feet, hands, and outer ears. Reflexology is a relaxation technique designed to alleviate stress and thereby reduce health problems that may be associated with stress. The work can be physically demanding, and reflexologists must guard against injury by using proper techniques when standing for long periods of time and performing repetitive motions.
|Degree Level||Certificate, associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Massage therapy|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Most states require massage therapists to have a license or certification; voluntary certification in reflexology is available|
|Experience||500 hours of massage therapy education may be required for state licensure and by some employers|
|Key Skills||Good communication and decision-making skills; physical stamina and strength; empathetic and trustworthy when dealing with client information and records|
|Salary (2015)||$38,040 (Median annual salary for massage therapists)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerBuilder.com job postings from November 2012, American Reflexology Certification Board
From 2014 to 2014, massage therapists overall can look for a 22%, or faster-than-average growth in jobs.
Step 1: Postsecondary Education
Aspiring reflexologists can complete a certificate or an associate's degree program in massage therapy that includes courses in reflexology. Or, they can complete a massage therapy program and then earn a certificate in reflexology through a continuing education program. Programs can usually be found at community colleges and massage therapy schools.
Massage therapy programs include courses such as exercise physiology, nutrition, and pharmacology. Similar courses may also be found in reflexology programs that also cover topics in hand and foot reflexology, holistic practices, and medical terminology. Massage therapy programs can include about 500 to 1,000 hours of training. Reflexology programs may require 200 to 300 hours of training.
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Step 2: Certification & Licensing
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2014, 45 states plus the District of Columbia regulated the practice of massage therapy. Local regulations may apply in states that don't require a license. Licensing requirements usually include completing an approved program in massage therapy and a passing score on an exam.
There are two nationally recognized tests that may qualify one for a license: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), offered through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB), administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Once licensed, massage therapists may also have to fulfill continuing education requirements and renew their licenses.
As of January 2013, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has implemented a board certification that represents the highest available credential for massage therapists. The American Reflexology Certification Board also offers a professional credential for massage therapists who focus on reflexology. This certification requires 110 hours of practical study and passing an exam.
Step 3: Employment
Reflexologists may find jobs in fitness centers, health spas, massage therapy franchises, or yoga studios. Hiring requirements may include a background check, certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and proof of liability insurance. Reflexologists may also open their own businesses. According to the BLS, more than half of massage therapists overall worked for themselves in 2014.
Join a professional organization. Becoming a member of a professional association, such as the American Massage Therapy Association, can help build a strong client base. Networking and self marketing can also help to improve employment opportunities.
Let's go over what we've just talked about. To become a reflexologist, you'll need a certificate or an associate degree in massage therapy and maybe even a state license as a massage therapist. In May 2015, massage therapists overall earned a median annual salary of $38,040 in a field that is expected to grow by 22% through 2024.