How do I choose the massage school that is right for me?

Choosing a massage school is just like choosing any other institution of higher education—it takes careful consideration. There are many things to keep in mind when making this decision, each as important as the next. Before choosing a massage school, gather all the information you can—talk to each school, find out the concrete details of their program. Your education is a significant step toward your future career as a massage therapist, and it is essential to have all the facts.

Before you decide on a massage school, think about the direction you want your massage career to take. Do you want to relieve pain? Sooth aches? Encourage relaxation? The possibilities are nearly endless, as are the types of work environments for trained massage therapists. Would you like to work for a medical practice? How about a hotel or spa? What about having your own practice? Find a school that will help you towards your professional goals.

Also, it is important to learn about licensing and certification requirements for the state(s) in which you want to practice massage. Each state has different requirements that a massage therapist must meet before being allowed to work with clients. This may include a certain number of supervised training hours, and it usually includes taking some form of test. Make sure to find a school with a program of study that helps its students meet those requirements.

What’s more, different massage schools teach different techniques, which makes learning about each program’s specifics matter. Would you like to learn Swedish or Shiatsu? Deep tissue or Acupressure? Make sure you know what the program covers before you begin, to ensure you train in the techniques that interest you.

Other important considerations when it comes to choosing a massage school program are time and location. Can you take a shorter, more intensive course, or would you prefer to take classes over a long period of time? What about night classes? Will you need to commute very far? How will this impact the rest of your schedule? Can you do any of the classes online? What do you think of the campus? Be certain to find a massage school that fits into your life.

The best place to find out about a massage program is the school’s website. Most schools have an online form for prospective students to fill out for additional information. This is a great way to receive up-to-date materials from the school which will help you make your decision.

And what’s the best way to search online for a variety of schools, compare programs, and then choose which ones to investigate further? Visit www.massageschool.org for a complete listing of massage schools in the United States.

Be sure to look into whether or not the massage school you’re interested in has earned its accreditation. Accreditation is a form of official recognition or approval of that massage school and its program. There are various types of accreditation: some organizations focus on broad educational standards, whereas others focus more narrowly on health and massage credentials. Though, while accreditation is a great indication of the quality of the school, it’s important to note it is a voluntary process —some schools simply have not sought accreditation. Always evaluate the program as a whole to see if it meets the requirements you need.

Finally, whether we like to admit it or not, cost plays a big role in determining educational choices, especially for professional schools like massage schools. Be sure to take the cost of attendance into consideration. Tuition varies depending on the type of training you receive; it is relatively inexpensive to become certified, but acquiring a license—which is mandatory in many states—requires more training and thus more money. Financial aid, including federal loans and grants, are available for massage therapy education; your massage school should direct you to organizations available to assist you with aid.

Choosing a massage school is a big decision, and it is vital to be well-informed before deciding. Take time to ask questions and find detailed information. Visit the school’s website, and request more information online. By spending time now carefully considering all options, you are making an investment in your future career as a trained massage therapist. Good luck!