Massage Therapy: Adult Education Program Summary

Massage therapy provides its practitioners with satisfaction by allowing them to help people and earn a good living. Training programs are available that include clinical practice and prepare individuals for licensure or certification. Read about massage therapy programs, job duties and career prospects.

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Adult education programs in massage therapy are readily available country-wide and will prepare students for a career as a massage therapist. Here we will discuss general massage therapy programs, typical coursework included in these programs, and career information including job outlook and salary expectations.

Program Information

Although each state has its own requirements for working in this profession, massage therapists need to complete programs with 500 to 1,000 hours of instruction in addition to pursuing certification or licensure in their state. To obtain a massage therapy license, students will also need to participate in hands-on training, take the MBLEx exam, and earn certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). States have varying requirements, so it's best to check to ensure your program meets all minimum requirements for your state.

Many programs include a lot of hands-on practice along with classroom study that focus on a holistic approach to teaching. Usually students start with basic courses in anatomy and physiology, muscle actions, kinesiology and the musculo-skeletal system, among other prerequisite courses. This allows them to have a deeper understanding of the human body and prepares them for classes specific to massage techniques. Further, students should look for programs that offer courses in business and economics in order to be better prepared for working at or owning a massage therapy business.

Programs at a Glance

  • Massage therapy and therapeutic massage programs typically require around 600 hours of coursework.
  • Fully online programs are not available, as hands-on coursework and practice is a requirement for all programs. Students can take some core classes online, but all programs will require in-person elements.
  • Program length varies as many schools offer fast track or longer track programs that students can take depending on their needs; however, typical certificate programs offered last between 5 months and 12 months. For students wanting to earn an associate's degree, students can expect programs to last 1-2 years.
  • Upon successful completion of therapeutic massage program, students will earn a certificate or associate's degree depending on the program chosen.

Coursework for Massage Therapy Adult Education Programs

Adult education programs in massage therapy include course topics such as human structure, medical terminology, sports massage, ethics for massage therapists. Courses also cover personalized assessment and treatment techniques to best satisfy client's needs. Other courses will be on topics like reiki, oriental massage, chair massage, and acupressure.

Many programs also offer courses in communication, business, marketing, and finance to best prepare adult learners for the professional practice of massage therapy.

Career Information

Massage therapy concerns healing patients through the use of touch. Benefits of massage include relieving tight muscles, reducing stress, healing sports injuries and increasing overall health. Massage therapists heal their patients through the use of different types of massages. Many different types of massage types, or modalities, exist according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prior to performing the massage on their patients, massage therapists initially make an assessment to determine what type of massage will be most effective.

These professionals are employed in a variety of different settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, sports medicine facilities and even shopping malls. The vast majority of massage therapists own their own businesses. An important consideration for massage therapists is the health of the therapists themselves. Hand, wrist, and arm stress and repetitive motion injuries occur; as such, many professionals consider part-time hours, rather than the typical 40 hours, each week. This gives them plenty of healing time between sessions.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS expects massage therapists to experience very fast job growth of 22% over the decade spanning 2014 through 2024. This growth is due to an increased respect for massage and its potential benefits. The aging population and athletes will particularly demand massage therapy. New therapists can expect to start out working part time until they gain enough clients to work full time. As of May 2015, the BLS reported an average annual income of $43,170 for massage therapists. Most of them earned between $18,860 and $74,860 a year.

Massage therapy adult education programs allow students to prepare for a career as a massage therapist at a time and pace that is best for them. In-class and hands-on coursework will teach several massage types and directly prepare students for careers in several settings including hospitals, sports facilities, and spas.

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