Proven Career Advice for New Massage Therapist

Once you are done with massage school you have to decide what career path to choose. For a massage therapist there are quite a few options and some massage therapists even choose to begin their own practice right off the bat.

But this may not be the most convenient option at times. This is mainly because of the time and effort it takes to set up the essentials. Moreover, setting up your very own massage therapy practice straight out of massage school involves many risks outside of just the financial investment.

One of the most common risks involved is managing the facility. Managing your very own practice needs a lot of considerations and lots of practice. Unless you have a natural talent for managing, you may not be able to take care of the business effectively.

Moreover, there are many tips and tricks of the trade that you may not know when you are new. These essentials are very important to ensure the smooth launch of your business. Therefore, the best option for many after completing massage school is to get a job and slowly learn the ropes with time.

Getting a job could help you gain valuable experience. This experience may help you in managing your own practice someday down the road, if you so choose to open one. Therefore, it is a good option to spend some years working as a massage therapist before beginning your own practice. In fact, this is true for most professions/businesses.

The good news is that there are numerous job options for you. Depending on your preference and goals you can select one that suits you best. It is always smart to select one that closely aligns with your future goals. For example, if you want to run a sports massage business later, you may want to get a job at a sports rehab facility.

Now there are pros and cons of each massage therapy career. It is best to analyze each option before deciding on what job to get involved in. Let’s have a look at these below in more detail. If you are interested in reading about the political side of the profession, read this article first and then come back to finish the rest of this article.

Spa at a Hotel or a Vacation Resort

One of the most common job preferences amongst new massage therapists is a massage spa. One of the biggest reasons why fresh message therapists prefer spas is the pay scale. Massage spas are known to be expensive – from a client’s perspective that is. They charge a good amount for massages. This gives therapists the illusion that these jobs pay more.

Spas at hotels and resorts tend to have high massage standards. The customers pay a hefty amount for a massage and expect top notch customer service. Working at such places gives you great experience in dealing with demanding clients or ones with high expectations.

Moreover, you learn how the best massage spas operate. If you plan on beginning your own massage practice, you will get to learn about the standard of service in the industry. You can then incorporate the same standards into your own massage therapy practice.

One of the main issues with such spas is the fact that contrary to what new massage therapists think, they do not pay the therapists much. There is a chance you can earn quite a bit through tips depending on your clients, but the base pay isn’t as high as many think. The experience you gain is worth the lower wage though – at least initially as you start your career.

Moreover, the jobs at such spas are quite steady as the spas are well established with recurring clientele. Job security is almost never an issue at high end spa facilities.

Working at a Chiropractor’s Office

If you want to learn about treating ailments and pains through massage therapy, this is your best bet. Here, you will get to learn a lot directly from someone who works within the medial field. That said, this line of work requires extra care and attention to detail since you may likely be dealing with patients with injuries.

One of the best aspects about working at a chiropractor’s office is the knowledge you could gain since you will be working directly under a specialist. With this experience, you can even consider opening your own sports therapy practice down the road. Of course, you have to deal with the necessary paper work and insurance requirements, but that’s just a small price to pay for a very lucrative opportunity in a super hot industry.

Like spa facilities, you may be disappointed if you are looking for a good pay at a chiropractor’s office. The pay scale in this type of a career can be quite low initially. Moreover, you may not be getting any tips either. However, it is a great way of learning about different injuries and their treatment. This can also prove to be a rewarding profession if you genuinely like to help people.

This is why it is important to keep your long term goals in mind. Short term sacrifice always pays off for longer term goals.

Working in a Physical Therapy Clinic

You can also work in the medical field at a physical therapy clinic. The advantages of working here are pretty much the same as working at a chiropractor’s office. You can get lots of experience in treating injuries and ailments through massage therapy.

However, you need to have a strong heart for working in this field. This is because you may come across injuries which you may not be able to bear. Of course, this career also requires you to be extra vigilant and hardworking.

The pay scale, when working at a physical therapy clinic, can be quite low. However, you will gain a lot of experience in dealing with all sorts of difficult situations that will better prepare you for a bright future ahead.

Working at a Bona Fide Massage Therapy Facility

You can also become part of a massage therapy facility. These facilities can easily be found at shopping malls and other public areas and you should be able to earn a hefty amount in tips working here. Moreover, you will gain lots of experience in dealing with different types of clients from all walks of life. The variety will definitely be there.

You can earn good money working at private massage therapy facilities because you may be able to up-sell and cross sell while being rewarded for it. The tips can also add up to a nice amount. A job in a massage facility inherently teaches you how to be a good sales person as well. Sales, after all, are the lifeblood of any business. When you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business!

Should You Consider Starting Your Own Massage Practice?

It is not necessary to begin your own practice in massage therapy as soon as you graduate. If you want to begin your own practice, you should consider working for a certain period of time first to gain the experience necessary to fly on your own.

You could continue working as a therapist at one of the above mentioned facilities till you feel that you have learned enough. Moreover, you may be able to develop better people skills, sales techniques and perfect your massage techniques.

You also get the opportunity to build a firm client base which could help your practice take off smoothly if you start one. With that said, you certainly don’t have to. Many therapists are perfectly happy in their jobs. You can make a great long-term career out of massage.

But if your own business is definitely your goal, we highly recommend you consider working in an established facility first to see if you would be able to handle your own practice. If after working at a facility you feel that you can handle the demands of running your own practice, you can certainly continue in that direction at any point in your career. We have all sorts of resources right here at the MTSI Institute that can help you get started on the right foot.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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