Today, massage therapy is a branch of physical therapy and comes with the same educational standards as any medical therapist. Meeting the requirements of national, state and local certification requires stringent training in a variety of related subjects. While there are a number of accredited schools that offer a thorough massage therapy education, the choices will not be easy. The benefit, of course will be acceptance by other medical practitioners, acknowledgement by health insurers and the respect and trust of your future patients.
More than half of the states regulate the practice of massage. The state requirements vary. All require at least 500 hours of training and education and several require more. Some states require national certification before a therapist can apply for state recognition. The national certification also requires at least 500 hours of training and massage therapy education in an acceptable school.
The training must include at least 125 hours of anatomy and physiology, 200 hours of massage and/ or bodywork theory and application, 40 hours of pathology, 10 hours of business and ethics and at least 125 hours of related coursework. A practitioner with 500 hours of training and experience and knowledge of the required areas can also submit a personal portfolio for examination.
The national certification exam contains at least 160 questions covering all of the required areas of massage therapy education. To remain in good standing, a professional must be re-certified every four years. Standards in the Canadian provinces with requirements begin at 2,000 hours.
Before choosing a school, a practitioner should decide on the type of massage he or she wants to specialize in. A general massage therapy education should include pregnancy message, rehabilitation, pain relief, sports injuries and relaxation message. Make sure that your chosen school is fully accredited in order to qualify for grants and loans. Tuition for a massage therapy education ranges from about $6.00 to $17.00 per hour. The required 500 hours usually runs from $5,000.00 to $9,000.00.
After graduation, there are many opportunities for workshops and seminars to keep your massage therapy education up to date. When you realize that these educational and training requirements are the minimum, you’ll get an idea of what your competition will be like. Other massage therapists in your area will have at least these levels of training plus experience and contacts. If all of these hours of massage therapy education and training sound exciting and interesting, you may have what it takes.