Massage schools are a big investment of time, energy and money. If you don't want to be disappointed by the real world, here’s 8 things you HAVE to do before you go to massage schools, and how to find the best one for you.
Talk To People About Massage SchoolsTalk to people you know who are in the spa business and ask them to recommend massage schools in your area. Massage therapists are especially helpful. Call the spa owners or directors at spas where you would like to work and ask which massage school they like to hire from. That will give you a good idea which massage schools have the best reputations.
Research the Realities of Being A Massage Therapist
This is a physically demanding career with a big burn-out rate. There is a bigger demand at spas for massage therapists than estheticians (See Before You Go To Esthetician School)
but many massage therapists stop working after two years. Ask other massage therapists about the realities of the workplace – starting salaries, what they love and hate about being a massage therapist, and what makes a massage therapist successful long-term.
Locate Massage Schools In The State You Want To Work
Look for massage schools in the state where you want to work. Each state has its own licensing practices and the massage schools can give you more information on the licensing requirements in your state. Here are two of the best places for searching for massage schools.
Call The Massage SchoolsOnce you narrow down your list, call the school for an initial phone interview. Massage schools have an admissions department that can answer your questions and send you an information packet. Ask staff about licensing requirements in your state, the curriculum, how much it costs, full and part-time programs, and financial aid.
Visit The Massage SchoolIt’s also very important to make an on-site visit to the massage school. Do you like the atmosphere? Do the teachers impress you? Talk to students while you’re there and ask what they think (away from teachers or admissions counselors.) Some schools have an open house or free workshops so you can get a feel for massage therapy in general and the atmosphere at the school.
Talk To The Massage School's GraduatesAsk the massage schools for names and phone numbers of graduates. Call them to get get a candid assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of that school. Ask about the job market, starting salaries and what it’s like in the real world.
Ask Massage Schools About Their PhilosophyAll massage schools teach you what you need to know to pass the state licensing exam. But ask about their philosophy and approach. Do they combine theory and practice from the beginning? How long have their teachers worked there? Do they have classes in Eastern modalities like Shiatsu? What is their continuing education program?
Be Wary of A Massage Schools' Salary ClaimsMassage schools are in the business of attracting new students. They’re selling themselves! Take it with a grain of salt if they say you’re going to make $50,000 - $75,000 a year right out of school. It's not easy to get good jobs, even with experience, and it can be highly seasonal work. Building your own practice takes time and isn't realistic for the new grad. You’re better off believing what other massage therapists and spa directors say about starting salaries in your area. Do your own research.