Trade Schools: What You Should Know

Trade Schools: What You Should Know

It’s no secret that NEPA School of Massage is a specialized trade school—a fact that we’re very proud to tell others. 


We believe that it’s time to change the narrative on trade schools for a variety of reasons. Trade schools can help you learn a skill that will land you a job faster, cost you less, and give you longevity and job security that sometimes isn’t seen in other industries and careers. 


Consider how difficult it is to find a good electrician, contractor, hair stylist, or massage therapist. People who graduate from trade schools have skills that are in considerably higher demand than those who graduate from a typical four-year college. 

What Is a Trade School?

A trade school is an educational institution that offers postsecondary level programs–sometimes known as technical school, vocational school, or vocational college. A trade school's primary focus is to teach its students to hone manual, mechanical, or technical skills for specific careers. 


Trade school programs have streamlined curricula, courses, and learning methodologies that give students hands-on experience in their trade of choice. This allows students to become equipped to enter the workforce quicker than their college-going counterparts. 


After completing a trade school program, students will be awarded either diplomas, certificates, or, sometimes, associate degrees. Some careers will need students to pass a licensing exam or become an apprentice.


According to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), there are sixteen career clusters that can be divided into seventy-nine career pathways for trade school graduates.

Common Trade School Programs:

  • Electrical Programs
  • Cosmetology
  • Massage Therapy
  • Information Technology
  • Automotive Technician Training
  • Nursing
  • Culinary Arts

Are Trade Schools Better Than College? 

The decision between a trade school vs. a traditional four-year college depends on your goals and career aspirations. It can also depend on your finances too. Trade school can be a great option for those who cannot afford a four-year education, need to work while going to school, or want to learn technical hands-on skills. 


Here are some questions to ask yourself while you’re deciding:

  • What are you passionate about? 
  • What time do you want to commit to your education? 
  • Do you have a restricted budget? 
  • Can you apply for scholarships and grants? 
  • Does the potential program align with your future goals? 


You may benefit more from a trade school if your dream is to work in a field that requires hands-on skills. A trade school will also be able to jumpstart your career much earlier than your peers. 

The Benefits of Trade School

The greatest benefit of attending a trade school is that a student will leave their program of choice with an educational foundation and hands-on experience to be immediately competitive in the job market. 


But let's get into some other benefits below. 

Trade School Tuition Costs

The average tuition for trade schools in 2022 ranged from $5,000 to $15,000 for a 3- to 18-month program. These tuition costs are significantly lower than attending a four-year college. The average in-state college tuition is $9,377 a year, while private college tuition averages $54,501 a year. 

Duration of Trade School 

The average duration of a trade school program is between 12 months and 24 months vs. the four years or longer it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. Condensed programs allow students to enter the workforce sooner, which means they’ll be able to start earning money and gaining experience faster too. 

Job Salary

After graduation with a specialized skill, tradespeople can improve their earnings with experience, and there really is no earning ceiling, especially if they decide to become self-employed. 


Depending on location and the demand for any specific skill will influence wages and salary. Here are some examples of trade salary averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): 

  • Electricians: $60,370 to $79,000.
  • Dental Hygienist: $76,000 to $115,000.
  • Construction Manager: $92,260
  • Massage Therapist: $49,260 to $77,600

Trade Schools Offer Job Security

Trade schools are more stable when it comes to job security because most vocational careers can’t be outsourced or automated (e.g., massage therapy, nursing, plumbing, paralegals, etc.) And because of the decades-long push for high school graduates to attend a four-year college, there’s a shortage of tradespeople in the United States. 


Trade School FAQs

Q: What is a trade school?

A: Trade schools offer dedicated training in a specific vocational skill where courses are streamlined, and hands-on training is a requirement. 


Q: What is the average cost of attending a trade school?

A: While programs vary, the average tuition for an entire program ranges between $5,000 to $15,000.


Q: Are there any massage therapy schools in Wilkes-Barre, PA? 

A: Check out the NEPA School of Massage program here. 


Couples Massage Class

What couples massage can do for you?

There’s something just a bit special about couples massage. Giving your partner a body massage is a treat; and a wonderful way of helping them de-stress after a hard day and showing them you care. There are obvious benefits to the lucky person on the receiving end of the massage of course; but what about the person giving it?

It’s relationship-building

Spending time doing something solely for your partner really does show them that you care. Yes, you could give them a gift card for a massage at the spa but think about how romantic it can be to dim the lights and take care of massage yourself?

A spa or salon massage is necessarily clinical – it’s relaxing and enjoyable of course but it’s in a massage bed with someone who has to keep you at emotional and physical arm’s length to do a professional job. Couples massage is completely different; you’re massaging in your own familiar surroundings, there’s no pressure and you don’t have to leave after 60 minutes. The relaxing benefits of massage therapy from someone that you know well are easy to understand. There’s no awkwardness so he or she can get straight into the feel-good tension busting mood.

It helps to build trust

Trust is vital to any relationship and a massage is a wonderful way to establish that bond.  If you know your partner really well – and we assume you do – you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact moment that they just let themselves go deeply into the massage and relax under your touch completely. At that point, they are completely surrendering and trusting you totally. It’s a powerful emotional connection for both partners.

Building trust leads to stronger feelings of intimacy, which helps to reduce stress. Reducing stress has a cumulative effect; it helps protect against conditions that develop when stress builds up in the body like cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions and even IBS.

It improves intimacy

A couple’s massage is a completely different thing than a professional treatment, even if the strokes do the same thing. Of course, that’s how it should be; nobody wants to get too attached to their massage therapist! When you’re having a couples’ massage though it’s a different scenario – you’re doing this for your partner because you care for them and want to be physically close to them. Intimacy isn’t just a physical thing – it’s also about emotional closeness which isn’t something that all relationships have automatically. 

Building an intimate connection with someone is good for your overall health; it releases the hormone oxytocin which promotes bonding and also helps to boost your overall wellbeing. You can nurture the intimate connection with your lover just by spending time alone with them, just concentrating on each other. Although massage isn’t the only way to do this of course, it’s a really good way!  Try it – watch as your emotional connection deepens.

Giving a massage makes YOU feel good

You’re so wrapped up in giving that massage and making your partner feel good that you don’t have the time to think about day to day worries. Those minor irritations that seemed so important get put to one side as you massage away, and the tension seems to melt away from both of you. You can become quite absorbed in the act! There’s no denying that giving a massage can feel as good as getting one as you bond with your significant other.

NEPA School of Massage's next Couple Massage Class will be February 24th 6pm-8pm at 311 Market St, Kingston PA 18704.

Click Here To Purchase Tickets


How to Choose the Right Massage Therapy School

How to Choose the Right Massage Therapy School


One of the most important things you’ll do in your massage therapy career is choosing what massage therapy school to attend. Choosing your program is the essential first step to building a foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ll need for a long and successful career. 


There’s a common misconception that all massage therapy programs deliver the same training, but there many diverse options for massage therapy schools. Let’s dive into the most important questions you may have when deciding what program best fits you. 

Finding the Right School for You

With over 1,000 massage therapy programs in the United States, narrowing it down can be difficult. How do you compare them? How do you evaluate their programs? 


When comparing massage therapy schools, look for: 

  • The school’s curriculum and the types of bodywork taught
  • The instructors' professional backgrounds and client reviews
  • The facilities and location of the school
  • Up-to-date state licensure
  • Open house dates to see the school and meet the instructor


Be sure to go see the schools you’re interested in. Scheduling a tour to see the facilities and meet the instructors can help make your decision easier. 

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Massage School

What are the school’s mission and approach to massage therapy?

A mission statement will tell you what’s important to each individual massage therapy program. Reviewing each school’s mission statement will help you choose which school aligns with your own core values. 


Our mission statement at NEPA School of Massage is “fostering an atmosphere that promotes a safe, orderly, caring, and supportive environment for our students.” Our main goal is to provide all individuals with a thorough and extensive massage therapy education to become licensed massage therapists. 

Is the school devoted solely to massage therapy training, or does the school offer other vocational training programs? 

Some independently-owned schools, like NEPA School of Massage, solely offer massage therapy training, whereas other schools might offer an array of vocational programs. It’s important to note that independently-owned schools that specialize in massage therapy and bodywork training tend to have a high commitment to maintaining the integrity of massage therapy. 

How is the curriculum designed and delivered?

A reputable school will have its curriculum available for you to view online. Comparing each massage therapy school’s curriculum will give you a good idea of what you’ll learn and the type of massage you’ll be able to perform after graduating. 


Some schools specialize in one massage therapy modality, while others offer foundational courses. If you’re just starting your journey to becoming a massage therapist, you’ll want to find a foundational program that will teach different types of massage, ethical business practices, and much more. 


Another important part of massage therapy school is hands-on training. A good massage therapy program will have built-in hands-on training with fellow students and the community. 


Check out NEPA School of Massage’s curriculum. 

Is the school accredited by a national accrediting agency or approved regionally? 

Look for schools that are either accredited or licensed by their state. Licensed schools must meet or exceed strict standards monitored by an external organization or state. Attending a licensed school ensures you’ll receive a high level of education and training to jumpstart your massage therapy career. 


NEPA School of Massage is licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools - the process was rigorous and gave us the opportunity to shape our curriculum to ensure that every student who graduates our massage therapy program is well-rounded. 

Who directs the massage therapy program? How long have they been doing that job? What are their qualifications?

A massage therapy program is only as good as its instructors. If they’re not passionate about the profession, that will be the first thing you notice. Booking a school tour will give you the chance to meet the instructors and get a feel for the culture and training offered. 


Be sure to look at the instructors’ reputation as massage therapists. Do they run their own business? How long have they been working? Are they successful? Do they have glowing client reviews? Do you get a good impression when you meet or speak with them?

Meet the co-owners and instructors of NEPA School of Massage. 

What is the student-teacher ratio for hands-on classes? 

Look for a low student-to-teacher ratio when comparing massage therapy schools. Smaller classes will ensure maximum instructional effectiveness and individual attention that all students deserve. 


At NEPA School of Massage, we have a 10:1 or 10:2 student-to-instructor ratio depending on the type of class.

Can classes fit my existing schedule? 

Many massage therapy programs offer both full-time and part-time programs. We’re happy to announce that NEPA School of Massage offers both types of programs. 

Will the school help me with job placement? 

Many schools work hard to find job placements for their students as they graduate and become licensed. At NEPA School of Massage, it’s our privilege to help our students find employment at local spas, rehab clinics, doctor offices, massage studios, and private practices. 

Do they offer continuing education in advanced bodywork? 

In Pennsylvania, massage therapists need 24 continuing education units every two years. If you plan to stay in the area after graduation, look for a school that offers continuing education classes. These courses will keep you up-to-date on the latest ethics and massage techniques. 


NEPA School of Massage hosts various classes throughout the year.

Final Questions to Consider

We highly recommend that you schedule a school tour with all schools that you’re considering. A tour will help you narrow down your choices, but be sure to ask questions while you’re touring the facilities and meeting faculty: 


  • Does the school screen applicants?
  • What does the school look for in students?
  • How do they determine who will be accepted? 
  • Do they help prepare you for the National Board Exam? 
  • What makes them special? 


And finally, this is a personal question for you: What is your gut reaction to the staff and facility? 


What Massage Therapy Program is Right For You? 

Only you can answer that. The process of deciding which massage therapy school to attend will be different for everyone based on their personality, the program’s curriculum, and the instructors. 


If you remember only two things from this blog, let them be: 

  1. Is the school licensed by the state? 
  2. Did you feel good when you toured the school? 

And if you’d like to schedule a tour of NEPA School of Massage, we’d be happy to have you.

Optimal Self Care for Massage Therapists

Optimal Self Care for Massage Therapists


Taking care of yourself should be your top priority as a massage therapist. Our work is rewarding but demanding, so implementing a solid self-care routine is a must.

Most of us are managing a career with a list of regular clients, and some of us have the added stress of running a business or a school, but all of that mental stress is coupled with the strenuous physical effort of our jobs.

Placing priority on caring for yourself can help maintain your physical health, reduce stress, and even make you more profitable. Read on to discover the top self-care tips we love sharing with our students and our colleagues.

What is self-care for massage therapists?

Self-care for a massage therapist is the act of taking care of yourself. The purpose of self-care is to physically and mentally protect yourself to ensure you’re able to continue practicing massage therapy.

Why is self-care important for massage therapists?

Massage therapy is a physically and emotionally demanding job. Incorporating daily self-care will protect from injury and avoid burnout. Massage therapists have a high burnout rate due to a lack of consistent self-care. And that doesn’t need to be the case.

Because we work in the health and wellness industry, we need to be following the tips we give to our clients. It’s important to set an example and be a role model. And the easiest way to do that is to take care of ourselves.

The Best 9 Self-Care Tips for Massage Therapists

1.     Schedule regular massages

The best way to keep your body ready for massage others is to get a massage yourself. Many of your colleagues would be willing to trade services—you only have to ask!

Trading massages will help you remember what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a massage and experience different techniques.

Try to schedule a massage weekly or biweekly. However, if you cannot get a massage weekly, self-massage can fill in the gaps. This can include stretching or using therapy tools like a massage gun, foam roller, or massage ball.

2.     Take care of your hands

Our hands are our most important, fundamental tool, and massage puts a high demand on them. Take advantage of using your forearm, elbow, or even therapeutic tools to apply treatments whenever possible.

Here are some remedies for sore hands:

  • Soak hands and forearms in cold water. This will reduce inflammation and fatigue.
  • Soak hands in a warm Epsom salt bath. This will help combat any pain.
  • Mainly focus on your hands and wrists. Check out this video for a guided hand and wrist stretch.
  • Wearing a wrist brace. A brace will keep your wrist in a good anatomical position reducing pain and inflammation.
  • CBD creams. CBD creams (and TCH creams if your state allows them) will relieve muscle and joint pain.

3.     Exercise regularly

An exercise regimen will help keep your body strong and your mind clear. Exercise will also develop your endurance and improve your energy levels, making a full day of massage less exhausting.

A basic workout routine should include some sort of enjoyable cardio and strength training 3-4 days a week. On your off days, incorporate some basic stretching – YouTube is flooded with guided exercise videos.

One thing to take away from this is to choose an exercise modality that you enjoy. This will enable you to keep up the habit of exercising regularly.

4.     Eat healthy and stay hydrated

We’re not going to prescribe any sort of diet here, but there are a few essential nutrition tips to ensure you’re nourished and hydrated throughout the day.

  • Eat protein and healthy fats to stay fuller longer.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink half of your body weight in ounces (If you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll need to drink 75 ounces throughout the day).
  • Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Foods like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and garlic.

5.     Use proper body mechanics

Employing proper body mechanics while your massage is one of the most important components of having a long and healthy career. This career-saving tip will also prevent injury and help us be more effective and efficient.

Here are some helpful tips from the American Massage Therapy Association:

  • Table height. Make sure your table is at the right height for you. Higher tables mean less low-back bending and normal wrist angles. Lower tables will increase the stress on your lower back because you’re bending more. To find the best height for you, start with the table at half your height.
  • Start with your feet, placing them shoulder-width apart. Use your body to stay balanced and keep your body in alignment with the direction you’re massaging.
  • Use an uphill stroke to have the most mechanical advantage and need to push harder to maintain pressure. Keep your hands, fingers, and wrists relaxed as you massage.
  • Use your forearms to generate force and pressure. Avoid using your thumbs and elbows when you need to apply pressure.

6.     Listen to your pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The sooner you’re aware of the pain and take care of it, the sooner you can take action to correct the issue.

Listening to your body is an important preventative step. Your clients will understand if you’re honest with them and tell them that you’ve sustained an injury. They want you at your best, and you should too.

7.     Adopt different styles of massage

Because there are so many repetitive movements, massage therapists are at risk for repetitive stress injuries. Once you’ve established a good foundational massage technique, branch out and learn different techniques.

Learning new massage therapy techniques and styles will not only keep you healthy but will also keep you growing professionally.

8.     Establish good sleep hygiene

Sleep is one of the most important steps to take for overall health, especially in a physically demanding profession. Sleep repairs the body, improves mental and physical performance, and boosts immune function. It also regulates our hormones and emotions.

Here’s how to improve your sleep hygiene and routine:

  • Develop a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even weekends. This is more about getting you in the habit of conditioning your body to wake up and feel sleepy naturally.
  • Aim for 7-8 hours a night.
  • Lower the temperature in your bedroom. A cooler room means a more restful sleep.
  • Resist using electronics before bed. The light from the screen will keep you up. Instead, opt for a book or guided meditation.

9.     Enjoy stress relieving hobbies

There will be moments when our jobs feel all-consuming. But it’s crucial to incorporate activities throughout the week to relieve stress and to enjoy ourselves.

Here are some of our favorite ways to relieve stress:

  • Meditation
  • Hiking
  • Unplugging from technology for a day
  • Reading
  • Spending time with friends and family


Take care of yourself

You are the most important person in your life. Your physical and mental health needs to be a top priority if you wish to maintain a long-standing, rewarding career.

The Top 5 Benefits of A Massage Therapy Career

The Top 5 Benefits Of A Massage Therapy Career

If you’re starting out or looking to take on a new career in the health and wellness industry in 2023, then massage therapy should be high on your list. Massage Therapy is an incredibly rewarding career and is well-suited for an individual who is compassionate, hardworking, and dreams of helping others.

Wondering how to become a massage therapist (especially in Pennsylvania)? Check out our blog on the topic.

Let’s dive into the top five benefits of beginning a career in massage therapy.

1.   The Alternative Health Industry Is Booming

Alternative healthcare in the United States is growing at an incredible rate, with Americans spending over $30 billion (out of pocket) a year on alternative therapies, including massage therapy.

With people seeking out alternative ways to treat their aches and pains, the massage therapy profession is growing at an even quicker rate. Over the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows projected growth of 21 percent.

There has never been a better time than now to begin your massage therapy career.

2.   Work Opportunities Abound

If you’re someone who gets easily distracted by living the same life day in and day out, massage therapy is one of the few careers that offers a variety of work opportunities. After you graduate from a licensed massage therapy school, you get to decide what setting you want to work in, the type of massage or bodywork you want to provide, and the type of clients you like to work with.

As a massage therapist, you can choose to be a generalist and offer your services to a broader range of clients. Or you can choose to narrow your focus and specialize. Specializing in a certain type of massage or clientele is one way to become known as an expert in your field.

Here are some settings you can choose to work in as a massage therapist:

  • Alternative health and wellness clinic
  • A Chiropractor or physical therapist office
  • An established massage therapy practice
  • A spa, salon, hotel, or resort.
  • Cruises
  • Gyms
  • Your own office
  • Your home or client’s home

As you head into massage therapy school, take some time to consider your setting, type of massage modality, and client. Your teachers can help you determine your strengths and set you in the right direction.

3.   Excellent Income Potential

Many of our students ask us, “can you make good money as a massage therapist?”

The answer is yes, you can. The median pay is $42,820 per year, which varies significantly depending on where you live, where you work, whether you’re self-employed or an employee, how many hours you choose to work, and whether you’re committed to developing your skillset.

The American Massage Therapy Association has an informative industry fact sheet that indicates massage therapists typically charge an average of $75 for a one-hour massage and work an average of 26.6 hours.

Your income will be based on where you work; however, working for yourself is typically the most common and highest-paying option. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each job setting, one that best fits your work style and personality.

4.   Flexible Work Schedule

If you’re looking for an escape from the average 9-5 job, massage therapy is a great way to forge your own path and schedule. While there are massage therapy jobs that offer full-time positions, there are plenty of other ways to arrange your schedule. You’re able to work part-time, weekends, contract hours, or as a “side hustle.”

If you’re looking for the ultimate flexible work schedule, become self-employed and learn how to market yourself well.

5.   Massage Therapy Is A Rewarding Career

And finally, enjoying the job you choose for yourself is essential. Massage therapy made the Top 100 Best Jobs in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report.

Of course, we don’t want you to think we’re looking at massage therapy through rose-colored glasses. We have a combined thirty years in the industry at NEPA School of Massage, so we know the pros and cons well. While rewarding, there are challenges because every client has their own individual issues that need to be accommodated.

Due to how many different people you’ll see throughout your day as a massage therapist, it’ll help your workdays feel less monotonous. You’ll help each of your clients overcome pain, anxiety, depression, trauma, and injuries.

Is Massage Therapy the Career For You?

Only you can answer that.

If this blog has kept your attention this far, you might already possess the qualities needed for a successful career in massage therapy. If you’re ready for a challenging and rewarding profession, look no further than massage therapy.