Massage therapy is gaining ground as a popular career choice

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career? Your Complete Guide

Have you ever found yourself lost in the soothing rhythm of a masseuse’s skilled hands? That blissful dance, working out life’s knots and tensions–it’s almost magical. Have you ever wondered if this is the right career for you?

You’re not alone. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the massage therapy field is expected to grow 18% over the next decade. 

However, no job is without its challenges. The question becomes whether or not massage therapy is a good career for you. 

Let’s explore some of the benefits and challenges of pursuing a career in massage therapy. 

The Rise of Massage Therapy as a Career

Massage therapy is becoming a popular career choice, growing much faster than most occupations. This spike indicates an increasing demand, as many people look for alternatives outside of the traditional college system that drowns people in debt.

Unlike many degrees you can acquire at a four-year college, massage therapy takes less than one year to complete, costs less, and puts you to work immediately. 

Massage therapists can choose from several different career fields, including:

  • Medical massage therapy
  • Sports medicine
  • Onsite/personal massage therapy
  • Spa and resort massage therapy

With increasing job growth in upcoming years, expect to see more young people opt for a massage therapy career. 

The Benefits of a Massage Therapy Career

Looking beyond job opportunities, most people want a career they actually enjoy working in. Fortunately, massage therapy is often considered a rewarding job in and of itself.  

A Fulfilling Career

Massage therapy is fundamentally a medical profession, helping people soothe their aches and pains with the magic touch of your hands. Just being able to see and hear the results of your efforts in person makes massage therapy a rewarding career in and of itself. If you want a career where you can help people feel better, massage therapy is right for you.

Work-Life Balance

Many therapists have control over their schedules, letting them balance work with their personal lives seamlessly. Whether you work for yourself or a company, massage therapy jobs tend to have more latitude than many other traditional 9-5 jobs when it comes to choosing your schedule. 

Plus, you get to leave all your stress at the door–if there is any! Massage therapists get to clock out without working from home or over their weekends since their job is mostly confined to the work they do with their hands. 

Mental Health Benefits

Helping others physically can also benefit you mentally. One study reveals that giving massages reduces anxiety levels in therapists as much as it does in patients. That’s not all. It showed an impressive reduction in stress hormones as well, making this career more than meets the eye.

Mental wellness goes beyond reducing anxiety or stress, though. It’s also about fulfillment and happiness. As a massage therapist at NEPA School of Massage, you get opportunities every day to make a positive impact on someone’s life, which makes the journey well worth it.

Summary: Pros of a Massage Therapy Career

  • Increasing employment opportunities
  • Rewarding career where you help others
  • Licensing takes less than one year of schooling
  • Minimal debt
  • Job opportunities immediately out of school
  • Several different fields of work to choose from
  • Work-life balance
  • A low-stress job that is easy on mental health

Challenges and Considerations in Massage Therapy Career

A career in massage therapy, while rewarding, does come with its share of challenges. But just like any other profession, knowing these obstacles ahead can help you navigate them more effectively.

Physical dexterity

One key challenge is the physical demand. Massage therapy will require strength and endurance to provide quality service to clients on a daily basis. While not as challenging as loading trucks or moving furniture, it can be an unexpected challenger or perk, depending on how you look at it. 

Mental Fatigue

Beyond the physical aspects, mental fatigue is another consideration. While it’s true that helping others relax can contribute positively to your own well-being, overworking yourself could lead to burnout if not managed properly. Therefore, balancing your work-life schedule is critical to your success as a massage therapist. 

The Importance of Continuing Education

To stay licensed as a therapist, most states do require continuing education. On the one hand, this does keep your mind honed and updated on the latest practices. However, it can also be an annoyance, and it will cost you a small chunk of change out of pocket if your company does not pay for your classes. 

Economic Factors

Last but not least are economic factors. As much as we’d love for passion alone to pay our bills, therapists must consider their potential income versus cost of living expenses, particularly when starting out on this path. Luckily, there are many opportunities as a massage therapist to increase your salary by moving to different fields, gaining promotions, or starting your own practice. 

Summary: Challenges of a Massage Therapy Career

  • Requires physical strength and dexterity to be successful
  • Burnout is a real possibility if your work-life balance is off-kilter
  • Continuing education is required to maintain licensing
  • Salaries do vary by industry, and it may take time before you start earning better money

How to Start Your Journey as a Massage Therapist in Pennsylvania

Becoming a massage therapist can be one of the most rewarding career paths. It not only lets you help others feel better but also offers substantial mental health benefits. But where do you start? In the Keystone State, it’s simpler than you’d imagine to get going.

The first step is getting a massage therapy degree or certification through an accredited program like NEPA School of Massage. This institution gives high-quality education that aligns with the latest industry standards and techniques.

Next, consider gaining hands-on experience. You could volunteer at local wellness events or work part-time at spas or clinics. Real-world practice is crucial because it helps hone your skills and increase your confidence.

You’ll also need to pass the MBLEx (Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination), which is required for licensure in many states, including Pennsylvania.

Finally, apply for state licensing through the Pennsylvania State Board of Massage Therapy. [Learn More: 3 Steps to Become a Massage Therapist in Pennsylvania]

  • TIP: Join professional organizations such as AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) to connect with fellow therapists and stay updated on industry trends.

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career?

So, is massage therapy a good career? Absolutely! This journey can offer both personal and professional rewards.

It’s not just about economic opportunity either; from mental well-being to work flexibility, massage therapy is considered one of the highest-rated jobs in terms of job satisfaction. 

Begin your journey today! Start with a certified massage therapy school and gain your license in under one year. Many say it’s the best decision they ever made!

FAQs: Is Massage Therapy a Good Career?

What are the physical demands of the job?

Massage therapy can be physically demanding, as therapists use their hands and body to manipulate muscles. Maintaining physical fitness and practicing good body mechanics are essential to prevent strain and injury.

Are there opportunities for specialization in this field?

Yes, there are numerous specializations within massage therapy, such as sports massage, prenatal massage, medical massage, and more. Specializing can open up unique career opportunities.

​​How do I choose the right massage therapy school?

Research schools that are accredited and meet your location and budget preferences. Visit the schools, talk to instructors, and check their curriculum to find the best fit for your career goals.

Becoming a massage therapist involves mastering both theoretical knowledge and practical skills

Decoding the Degree: What’s Required to Be a Massage Therapist in PA

Ever wonder what it takes to become a massage therapist in Northeastern Pennsylvania? 

Luckily, a massage therapy degree does not require four to eight years of schooling like most medical degrees. 

With only a couple hundred hours of education and training in a trade school, you can launch your massage therapy career in less than one year’s time. 

This guide will provide you with everything you need to become a licensed massage therapist, including degree requirements and post-education requirements. 

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Massage Therapist

Unlike other medical fields, you don’t need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to become a professional massage therapist. 

To become a practicing massage therapist in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to complete at least 600 hours of instruction from a PA State Board-approved school and pass the MBLEx. This training includes hands-on practice as well as practical subjects such as hygiene, ethics, and professional development. 

To become officially licensed, practitioners don’t need to acquire a degree, but they need to pass their PA board-certified MBLEx. This exam is managed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and used by over 40 states in the US to provide proper accreditation.

You can expect to pay upwards of $12,000 or more for any individual massage therapy program. Each program is run by a licensed and experienced therapist who will provide the best training for the MBLEx and your continuing career afterward. 

Prerequisites for Massage Therapy Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to apply for any massage therapy program. However, now is a good time to assess whether or not you have the right skills and disposition for a career in massage therapy. 

Generally, a massage therapist will possess the following skills to be successful in a career in massage therapy:

  • Communication: Therapists must talk to clients throughout sessions to create a relaxing environment and uncover each client’s needs. 
  • Problem-Solving: Therapists must exercise keen judgment to devise unique treatment plans that deliver clients the highest satisfaction. 
  • Ethics: Therapists need to exercise proper judgment when treating medical pain in patients. 
  • Physical Endurance: Therapists are tasked with using their hands and strength to help treat ailments for sessions that can last well over an hour at a time. 
  • Hygiene: Creating a hygienic environment is important for the safety of the therapist and the client. 

With these skills, you’ll be able to work as a massage therapist in multiple fields; the possibilities are endless. 

What’s Involved in a Massage Therapy Education?

Becoming a massage therapist involves mastering both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Most programs, like those at NEPA School of Massage, include coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, ethics, business management, and hands-on practice.

Courses often start with foundational subjects such as the structure and function of the human body. But soon enough, you’ll delve into more specialized areas like Swedish massage. The aim is to let students get comfortable with different techniques so they can adapt to diverse client needs.

The length of these programs varies, but PA requires over 600 hours for completion. Most schools, like the NEPA School of Massage, only last for a little under six months, helping you acquire your massage therapy license in well under one year. 

Continuing Education and Professional Development

States like Pennsylvania have some continuing requirements for students to renew their licenses and maintain their practice. 

When renewing your license, you will be required to complete 24 hours of board-approved coursework. 

Additionally, all massage therapists are required to complete CPR training. 

For the most part, we recommend joining a massage therapy organization to help you complete these requirements, but they are entirely optional. 

The NEPA School of Massage Advantage

Choosing the right school for your massage therapy training and license is a big decision. The NEPA School of Massage offers unique benefits that set it apart from others.

We provide top-notch, comprehensive courses taught by seasoned professionals with years of practical experience under their belts. Our instructors don’t just teach—they inspire, making sure you’re not only ready to pass exams but also excel in real-world scenarios.

We’ve designed our curriculum with flexibility and convenience in mind because we understand life’s unpredictability. Our commitment to hands-on learning sets us apart from the rest, as we prioritize real-life practice when it comes to mastering massage techniques. We believe nothing beats real-life practice when mastering massage techniques—so expect plenty of it.

FAQs: What Degree Do You Need to Be a Massage Therapist?

What is the highest degree for a massage therapist?

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science would be the highest degree for massage therapists seeking advanced knowledge in the medical field.

Is it hard to be a massage therapist?

Becoming a proficient massage therapist requires physical stamina, dexterity, and thorough education. However, with passion and dedication, many find it rewarding.

Do massage therapists like their job?

Most do. Job satisfaction rates are high among massage therapists due to flexible schedules, meaningful client interactions, and opportunities for continuous learning.

The Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), administered by Pearson VUE

What is the MBLEx Exam? A Guide for Massage Therapy Students

While considered a medical practice, there are many places for massage therapists to work, especially here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, nearly every state in the US requires licensing in order to be a practicing massage therapist. 

Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia rely on the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), a hundred-part multiple choice exam that covers every area of massage therapy from practice to ethics. 

This guide will prepare you to pass your MBLEx exam so that you can get proper licensing to become a massage therapist and start your new career. 

What Is the MBLEx Exam?

The Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), administered by Pearson VUE, is a regulatory tool within the massage therapy profession that is required to obtain state licensing as a practicing massage therapist. 

The MBLEx helps maintain high standards and assures clients that their therapists have undergone rigorous testing on critical knowledge areas related to massage and bodywork.

In essence, passing this licensing exam indicates you’re well-equipped to understand client assessment, treatment planning, physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation for different populations, ethical practices, and more.

Most massage therapy schools will prepare you for this exam through a mix of coursework and in-field training. 

MBLEx Summary

  • 100 multiple choice questions
  • 110 minutes to complete 

Preparing for the MBLEx with the Right School

While massage therapy school is a prerequisite for obtaining a state license, finding the right massage therapy school is also very important to your overall success on the MBLEx. 

Leveraging educational resources can be a game changer when preparing for an examination like MBLEx. The NEPA School of Massage provides a rich source of materials and techniques that are instrumental in mastering massage therapy topics. For instance, if we look at “client assessment,” one key aspect covered by our program is understanding how soft tissue changes under different conditions.

We also delve into treatment planning and working with special populations; these skills not only help you pass your exam, but they’ll give you the knowledge you can wield in the field.

Some of the best tools that a massage therapy school will offer to prepare you for your MBLEx include:

  • Educational Tools: Utilize study guides and practice tests regularly. These tools provide a comprehensive overview of content areas tested in the MBLEx exam, such as anatomy & physiology, kinesiology, pathology, benefits & contraindications, among others.
  • Tutoring Sessions: Regular sessions allow students to ask questions about confusing topics or discuss challenging subject areas further.
  • Mentorship Program: Connect with experienced massage therapists to gain insights about the exam and practical tips for success.
  • In-the-Field Training: Practice literally with your hands on different patients to master techniques used within the field. 

All these resources aim not only to help students pass their MBLEx but also to ensure they’re well-equipped for a rewarding career in massage therapy. Take advantage of these resources to the fullest extent.

Subjects Tested on the MBLEx

The MBLEx covers a wide range of subject areas within a relatively short quiz, which can be difficult to study for. 

One tip we recommend to all students is to study each field thoroughly. It’s common for students to rely too heavily on the scientific components of massage therapy and ignore the ethics portion.

Some of the most common subjects tested on the MBLEx include

  • Physiology & Anatomy discuss the physiological effects brought about through the manipulation of soft tissues using various therapeutic techniques studied under approved programs like ours at NEPA school.
  • Kinesiology focuses on the study of human movement, including the mechanics of joints, muscles, and the body’s range of motion.
  • Pathology tests your understanding of various health conditions, their causes, symptoms, and how they might be impacted via massage therapy.
  • Professional Practice helps candidates understand the scope of practice, maintaining boundaries and professionalism when dealing with the public.
  • Contraindications and Special Populations covers when massage therapy is contraindicated (inadvisable) and how to adapt massage techniques for special populations, such as pregnant clients, the elderly, or individuals with specific health concerns.
  • Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, and Regulations assess your knowledge of ethical and legal considerations, as well as professional boundaries when working with clients.
  • Hygiene, Sanitation, and Safety ensure you maintain a clean and safe environment for clients.

Take lots of test exams, and be sure to go over each answer to see what fields you are lacking in. 

Registering for the Exam

The registration process is quite straightforward. You’ll need to submit an application and pay a fee to Pearson VUE, who administers this standardized test across all 50 states in high-security testing centers. Remember, early birds get their preferred testing center locations.

Tips For Exam Day

The big day arrives quicker than expected; nerves might start playing up as well (totally normal.). Take deep breaths–remember all those stress-relieving techniques from our classes?

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes early to check in without rushing.
  • Pack light because only minimal items are allowed inside.
  • Review questions beforehand to refresh your memory

Students can always re-register for exams if they fail, though they will have to pay a fee to do so. 

With the right education and preparedness, passing the LBLEx exam can be a breeze. That’s why it’s important to leverage the tools we’ve provided in this guide. 

FAQs: What is the Mblex Exam?

Is the MBLEx test hard?

The difficulty of the MBLEx exam depends on your preparation. With consistent study and understanding, you can conquer it.

What score do you need to pass MBLEx?

You’ll need a scaled score of 630 out of 900 to pass the MBLEx, according to FSMTB.

What kind of questions are on the MBLEx?

The MBLEx contains multiple-choice questions covering topics like anatomy, physiology, ethics, massage modalities, and more.

How many questions is the MBLEx test?

The total number for this test? It’s 100 multiple-choice queries that assess your massage therapy know-how.

A career in massage therapy is not only rewarding but also offers remarkable flexibility.

New Opportunities: Where Can a Massage Therapist Work?

One of the most rewarding benefits of a career in massage therapy is that there are so many career opportunities that extend beyond the traditional spa or health and wellness center. 

From sports medicine to cruises and resorts, there are close to a dozen different verticals you can take those hands to make money and establish a steady career. And many of them are here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton to the Poconos.

Factor in personal practices and onsite massages, and you will start to realize that there is no ceiling as to how much you can make or do with a massage therapy career. 

This guide will detail all of the different occupations where a licensed massage therapist can work and provide tips to help you choose the right career path. 

Medical Massage Therapy

A medical massage therapist’s role is to alleviate pain and promote healing in patients. Using their hands, they can promote healing for general pain or specific pain issues related to the back, joints, nerves, and much more. 

In turn, there are several different verticals and areas where a medical massage therapist can work, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Clinics
  • Physical Therapy Clinics
  • Chiropractic Practices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Hospice Care

These roles tend to pay very well, depending on what field you find yourself working in as a medical massage therapist.

However, they can be more rigorous and demand longer hours with more intense work than traditional massage therapy roles. 

Spa and Wellness Centers

If you’re looking for a traditional massage therapy setting with essential oils and candles, then a spa or wellness center will be right for you. According to the AMTA, 42% of all massages occur in a spa, and spas are the number one place where consumers receive massages.

As a result, spas and wellness centers tend to provide the largest employment opportunity for young massage therapists looking to establish a career. 

In this setting, your role may range from providing stress relief massages to creating personalized treatment plans aimed at alleviating pain. If you’re looking for a low-stress work environment that promotes self-care, then dimly lit rooms with calming music will add charm to your workspace.

Spas are also a great setting to use different therapeutic massage methods learned during your massage therapy program. The wider your range of skills, the higher your employability and the amount of salary you will receive. 

Fitness and Sports Facilities

Massage therapists come in high demand at fitness centers with the potential to make a really high salary, depending on your employer. 

Working alongside physical therapists on the health care team, these professionals use deep tissue techniques to alleviate pain and promote stress relief. A fitness-based massage therapist has a wide range of employment opportunities, from your local high school to professional sports programs that offer tons of money. 

Depending on the level of athletics you work for, travel may be required.

Massage Chain

Massage chains are a popular employer among many new and aspiring massage therapists. These chains offer specialized massages to clients in a professional setting, similar to a spa or wellness center. While the pay may not be as high in other fields within massage therapy, you are almost always guaranteed a job in some capacity. 

Onsite Massages

Personal massages for businesses and individual clients are a burgeoning space within the massage therapy industry. Massage therapists can act both as specialized massage therapists, offering pain management and relief or as general practitioners promoting positive healing through their hands. 

Cruise Ships and Resorts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cruises and resorts are among the top three employers of massage professionals. It’s no surprise, as vacationers often seek stress relief through relaxing massages to enhance their holiday experience.

Besides offering therapeutic services amidst breathtaking views, working on cruise ships lets you explore new places while earning. However, it’s not all fun and games; maintaining high standards in such upscale environments demands dedication and professionalism from therapists.

In resorts, too, masseuses contribute significantly to guests’ wellness programs by providing deep tissue massages or specialized treatments like hot stone therapy. 

Depending on the employer, wages will vary, though cruises and resorts tend to pay among the middle of the pack when it comes to massage therapy employers. 

The Role of Specialized Massage Therapy

Acquiring certificates in different specializations, such as Swedish massages, Shiatsu massages, and more, will increase your likelihood of being employed. 

While you’ll learn about much of this when you become a massage therapist and get licensed, it still pays off to invest in yourself and acquire more certifications for your resume. 

Starting Your Own Business

Use your massage therapy skills and client list to start a private business for yourself. There are plenty of opportunities to scale a business in traditional massage therapy, physical therapy, pain relief, and more. 

You can even start your own wellness center, spa, and private massage business using the skills acquired through years of massage therapy school and experience. 

Work Schedule and Flexibility

A career in massage therapy is not only rewarding but also offers remarkable flexibility. Whether you choose to work part-time or full-time, the choice largely depends on your personal preference and life situation.

You might prefer a consistent schedule at a spa or medical facility, where appointments are typically set up for you. However, if flexibility appeals more to you, consider working independently. This lets you set your own hours and control how many clients you see each day.

Many therapists trained at NEPA School of Massage have found success in both traditional employment settings as well as entrepreneurial ventures such as owning their own practices.

The beauty of this profession lies within its adaptability; it can accommodate different lifestyle needs while providing an opportunity for fulfilling work that contributes positively to people’s health and well-being.

FAQs: Where Can a Massage Therapist Work

Where do massage therapists make the most money?

Massage therapists earn top dollar in the medical and sports fields. However, massage therapists can earn even more through independent practice. 

What is the highest level of massage therapy?

The pinnacle for a massage therapist is becoming board-certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). It demonstrates advanced education and professional standing.

Who works with massage?

A variety of professionals collaborate with massage therapists: doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and fitness trainers. They often form part of an integrated healthcare team to maximize patient wellness.

Pennsylvania requires formal massage therapy training at an accredited school

Your Pathway: 3 Steps to Become a Massage Therapist in Pennsylvania

Massage therapy is a holistic practice that requires hundreds of hours of schooling and hard work to master. 

Once you become a massage therapist, your career will be open to endless financial opportunities, whether you choose to work with an existing business or start your own. 

With so many different specializations to choose from, there are always job opportunities in any region for new massage therapists. 

This guide will walk you through the process of becoming a massage therapist, from licensing to post-grad requirements, so that you can kickstart your new career. 

The Benefits of a Massage Therapy Career

Choosing a career in modern times can be difficult as many jobs feel bereft of meaning or purpose. One reason that many people choose medicine and massage therapy as a career is that you get to help people and see the results of your efforts firsthand. 

Overall, some of the best aspects of a massage therapy career include:

  • Using functional medicine to heal people (Massage therapy has been used for over 5,000 years
  • Immediate employment opportunities outside of school.
  • Great salary (Beginning salaries start at $49,860: US BLS)
  • Opportunities to start your own business. 
  • Lots of different specializations to choose from (ex., Traditional therapy, sports, medicine, etc.)

Massage therapy school is cheaper than a traditional college education and requires fewer hours than most common occupations to become licensed. To put this into perspective, Pennsylvania only requires 600 hours of coursework to become licensed in massage therapy, as opposed to 1,250 hours to become licensed in cosmetology [See: 5 Benefits of A Massage Therapy Career]. 

3 Steps to Becoming a Massage Therapist in Pennsylvania 

1. Choose an Accredited Massage Therapy School

  • Requires 600 Hours of Study Altogether
  • 250 Hours of Massage Theory, Practice, and hygiene
  • 175 Hours of Scientific Theory (e.g., Anatomy, Kinesiology, etc.)
  • 25 Hours of Ethics and Business Development
  • 150 Hours of Related Coursework

Pennsylvania requires formal massage therapy training at an accredited school. The curriculum and courses offered at these schools play a critical role in shaping your skills and knowledge about various massage techniques.

An effective program balances theoretical learning with hands-on practice, giving students both breadth and depth of understanding. In the classroom, you’ll delve into subjects like anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, ethics, and business practices, which form essential foundational knowledge for any budding therapist. 

You’ll also learn essential skills of massage therapy, including varying techniques and best hygiene practices. 

Therefore, choosing the right massage therapy school is essential to your success. 

2. Passing the MBLEx

Next, you’ll be required to complete the MBLEx exam, the official licensing exam of Pennsylvania. This exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions that touch on subjects you’ll learn during your study. 

Once you pass, you’ll be forced to register with the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). To apply for a license, you must pay a $100 initial fee in Pennsylvania and a $175 renewal fee. 

3. Continuing Your Education

Before you officially acquire your new license, you will be required to complete at least 3 hours of  Board-approved coursework for continuing education. This requirement will increase to 24 hours when renewing your license after the date it expires. 

  • 16 hours must be in-person
  • 8 hours can be remote
  • 2 hours must be completed of child abuse recognition

Therapists are required to renew their licenses every two years. 

Additional Requirements for Becoming a Massage Therapist

So, you’ve decided to pursue a rewarding career in massage therapy. That’s fantastic. Before you begin your career in massage therapy, certain steps must be taken to guarantee success.

Background Checks 

To ensure that only qualified professionals enter the field, prospective therapists must pass a background check. This process varies from state to state but often includes fingerprinting and checking criminal history records. Don’t worry, though–it’s just one more way to ensure everyone gets the high-quality care they deserve.

Liability Insurance

Besides clearing background checks, all licensed massage therapists should carry liability insurance. It protects both practitioners and clients by covering potential claims related to professional services provided. Here is some useful information on how this works.

CPR Certification

In addition to passing your licensing examination, every therapist needs certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

Joining a Massage Therapy Association

Beyond the licensing and practical requirements, consider joining a massage therapy association. These organizations offer numerous benefits for new massage therapists, including continuing education opportunities to keep your skills sharp, advocate for industry professionals at the legislative level, and create networking spaces where you can meet other practitioners.

Launching Your Career in Massage Therapy

Once you obtain your license, it’s time to start putting your hands to practice. 

1. Work for an Existing Practice

Get some experience in the field and establish a steady salary by working for an existing massage therapy practice. Some places you will be able to work for may include:

  • Spas
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Chiropractors
  • Health Clubs
  • Gyms
  • Sports Teams

You can also work with various places, such as hotels, gyms, and airports, to offer onsite massages. 

2. Building a Client Base

One advantage of starting your career with an existing business is that it helps you build up client lists very quickly. 

Networking within the community is important, as past clients and word-of-mouth referrals can significantly boost clientele numbers.

In the digital age, establishing an online presence can be highly beneficial, too. Social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook let potential clients get to know you better before booking their first appointment. AMTA provides great advice on how to utilize social media as part of a successful promotional plan.

3. Nurturing Professional Relationships

Beyond growing clientele numbers, networking within the local wellness community can offer incredible opportunities, too. Collaborating with healthcare facilities such as chiropractic clinics or yoga studios could lead to lucrative partnerships that increase exposure and widen employment opportunities.

A significant portion of the massage community are self-employed therapists, so those wishing to become their own boss should consider this avenue. So, if you’ve always dreamt of being your own boss, this is certainly an avenue worth exploring.

However, running a successful business involves much more than just excellent therapeutic skills. It’s about maintaining professional standards and ensuring that all legal requirements are met, too.

FAQs: How to Become a Massage Therapist

Is it hard to be a massage therapist?

Being a massage therapist is challenging but rewarding. It demands physical stamina, in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, and excellent interpersonal skills.

Does Pennsylvania require a license for a massage therapist?

Yes, Pennsylvania mandates licensing for all practicing massage therapists. You must pass an approved exam and meet other state-specific requirements.

How long does it take to get a massage license in Pennsylvania?

It takes 600 hours minimum to complete coursework to become a massage therapist, as well as additional time required for continuing education and exams. 

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 require 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 most significant benefit of attending a trade school is that students 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 regarding 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, 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 the massage yourself.

A spa or salon massage is necessarily clinical – it’s relaxing and enjoyable, 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 beautiful 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 entirely 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 well-being. You can nurture an 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 entirely 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, 6 pm-8 pm at 311 Market St, Kingston, PA 18704.

Click Here To Purchase Tickets

How to Choose the Right Massage Therapy School

One of the most important things you’ll do in your massage therapy career is choose 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 are 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. 

Essential 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 various 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 can perform after graduating. 

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

Another critical 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 owner and instructor 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 class type.

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 differ 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

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 self-care 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 gladly 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. Use 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 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 during your massage is one of the most critical 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 essential 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 on 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.

Top 5 Benefits of a Massage Therapy Career: From Income to Flexibility

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.

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.