Massage therapy has now been a treatment for various health conditions over many centuries. One of the main sources of modern massage techniques has been China. In the United States the organization that oversees and sets standards for the massage therapy industry is the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Licensing is regulated by individual states, as a dozen states do not require licensing. Most of the states that require licensing base it on the certification program adopted by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Here are more interesting facts about massage therapy school.
1. While a majority of states require massage therapy licensing, the ones that do not include Vermont, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Wyoming. California, Indiana and Virginia only require state certification. It’s a good idea for massage therapy students to check state requirements before investing money in an education program. It’s important to note that just because a state may not have license or certification requirements, local jurisdictions may require licensing and certification anyway.
2. Before choosing a massage therapy college, find out if the school is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association.
3. The National Certification Exam for Massage Therapy is the main test issued for certification by the NCBTMB in which massage therapy colleges prepare students. The test does not include a practical exam since students are already required to have work experience. Some states also require passing the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
4. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 300,000 to 350,000 individuals in the United States who either practice massage therapy as a profession or are studying to enter this career field. According to the AMTA there are over 360 accredited massage therapy schools and programs in America that teach massage therapy.
5. Massage Therapy training programs are usually 500 to 1000 hours long. A 900 hour massage therapy school program represents 35.5 credit units. The requirement for NCBTMB certification is 750 hours of massage therapy training. A 2013 AMTA survey showed that most massage therapists averaged about 642 hours in initial training. Additional requirements besides passing the exam include 250 hours of hands-on work experience, a national background check and CPR certification.
6. Some of the coursework that is usually required for massage training includes anatomy, physiology and business management. Deeper coursework includes pathology, hydrotherapy and clinic experience. The AMTA offers online classes that divide the field into business, ethics, general massage, classroom mastering and self-care.
7. Each year the AMTA holds a national convention. The 2014 convention will be held September 17-20 in Denver, Colorado and will feature TV host Dr. Oz Medina as the keynote speaker. The event will provide over 35 continuing education classes and other attractions for professional massage therapists.
8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for massage therapists as of May 2012 was $35,970, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The education level was listed as “postsecondary non-degree award.” The BLS says that the industry uses over 80 different types of massages. Training usually covers a broad mix of these different styles. Some of the popular different styles include Swedish massage, sports massage and deep-tissue massage.
9. Careers that can be pursued by massage therapy school graduates include massage therapist, physical therapist assistant (PTA) and acupuncturist. Massage therapists use a variety of styles to relieve pain and stress and represent an occupation with growing demand. Many colleges that specialize in this field offer both professional certificates and associate-level massage therapy programs. PTAs work for licensed physical therapists. Most states require at least an associate degree to work as a PTA. Acupuncturists, who usually need a master’s degree to operate in the United States, provide an ancient Chinese system using needles to treat a variety of medical conditions.
10. Most massage therapists take continuing education classes, according to the AMTA. Up to 92 percent of massage therapists go on to pursue continuing coursework, spending an average of 21 hours per year on classes.
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