If you love to work with your hands, perhaps you should be in a profession that does exactly that such as massage therapy. In fact, the US Department of Labor has shown in their latest report that there is demand for such professionals until the year 2012. If this sounds appealing to you, then you should know how to become a massage therapist.
Those who want to become massage therapists should enroll in a program that is accredited by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or NCBTMB. To become a licensed professional, you must complete at least 500 hours of training including subjects such as ethics, anatomy and physiology among others.
If you happen to study massage therapy in a school that is not accredited by this body, you will not be allowed to take the national certification exam. This may prevent you from practicing in states that require this prior to employment which is why you should check first if the school you plan to enroll in is in the program.
Should you somehow be able to find work without getting a license, you could be penalized with fines and even be banned from every practicing there.
The advantage of enrolling in a program under the NCBTMB is that you can apply for federal financial aid if you don have the funds to pay for your schooling.
But the big question is how much do massage therapists earn? One research group has pointed out the median salary is $45,611. The report also says that half of those working earn between $36,930 and $55,920 as this varies with experience. If you are new, you will probably just have one or two clients a day while more experienced individuals will have more than 5. This isn bad because massage therapy program can go as high as $12,000.
If you are serious about pursuing this as a career, ask yourself some questions. Are you patient? Are you customer oriented? Do you really want to help the patient? If your answer to all three questions is yes then the next thing you have to do is check what specific interests do you have.
Just like medicine, massage therapy has various specialties and these include sports massage, clinical massage and Swedish massage to name a few. While you will probably learn all of these in school, you should already see which one you want specialize in after graduation.
To help you out, it will be a good idea to visit massage parlors and talk to those who are already working. You can also do some research online as there are articles that have been written about the profession.
Once you get your degree and the license, you have the option of working for someone or opening up your own establishment. This will be easy if you had the capital since you will need to buy your own massage table, chairs, pillows, sheets and lotions. But if you want to learn first, then go find work, learn the tricks of the trade and then set up shop.
Now that you know how to become a massage therapist, the ball is already in your court. The right attitude will get you through school because with that you will be able to understand the techniques in helping a customer.