Cheap massage therapy schools as anything phrased the same way in life should be qualified with the axiom “you get what you pay for”.
This is not to say that there are not educational institutions that are less expensive with quality educational formats and programs. However, another axiom comes to mind, one that states if it’s too good to be true it probably is.
Although these sound like cliché statements, when considering your education and your potential career, they should be guiding principles when looking for a massage therapy school to attend.
Also something that is cheaper does not necessarily mean that it’s of lower quality, thus we need to consider the basis of such programs and compare them with others before determining what is cheap and acceptable vs. what is cheap and unacceptable.
Why Consider More Economical Massage Therapy Schools?
You are considering a career in massage therapy and are wondering why there is such a big differences in tuition rates. You’ve seen some institutions or schools offer a program for a few thousand dollars and other institutions that offer programs for almost $30,000.
The natural inclination is to go for the less expensive option, in which case you will not always be wrong in choosing so. However, there are a number of things to consider when evaluating the education that will establish and support your professional career for the rest of your life. In addition to those reasons are your own personal factors that require you to take into consideration the cost of your education.
Some common personal factors that impact the cost of education decision include:
- Not having the investment required for top schools.
- Not having the appetite to pay exorbitant rates for your education in spite having the funds.
- Income post graduation does not justify the costs of high tuition rates you have to pay today
- Knowing and having access to an institution where quality education is offered at an affordable price.
- Other obligations, cash flow reasons.
If the cost of your education is a concern, fret not. There are ways to get a good education at an average tuition rate instead of accepting bargain-basement cheap massage therapy schools that may be subpar when it comes to offering quality education.
What are the Average Salaries Like?
When considering the investment in your education it is important to consider the return on your investment in the years that you will be in the profession. Sometimes the high tuition rates at the top schools just do not make sense in terms of your return on investment when you benchmark the cost relative to potential income.
According to payscale.com massage therapists on average make between $26,000-$72,000 a year in annual income, depending on where you live and some other local economic factors. Salary.com lists the average income as almost $46,000 per year. Indeed.com provides the average income for a massage therapist as $58,000. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) lists the average salary just over $37,000.
While market salary information provides interesting statistics, your average income will depend on your program, your marketability as an employee, and the amount of hours that you will be able to work in a week. The school that you attend, depending on its perceived reputation, will also determine the type of massage therapy employment you will qualify for, thus the importance of selecting the right school. For example, top hospitality spas usually higher from the higher range of educational institutions and from the longer and more intense programs offered by these institutes.
Attending a Community College vs. a Vocational Institute
These two types of schools offer a very different education experience for a career in massage therapy. Community colleges and universities that offer massage therapy certificate programs operate as you would suspect in relation to other such programs.
The major difference when compared with other massage programs is the amount of hands-on training that you will receive. This hands-on training usually starts after the classroom portion and accounts for the majority of hours spent in training for massage therapy.
Community colleges are usually large schools and multidimensional in terms of offerings for the program. If you are looking for a student community to be a part of and the overall college experience this type of school is definitely something that you should consider. A community college will also offer an endless stream of subjects for your hands-on training. However, the facilities and faculty may not quite be up to vocational institute standards in terms of practical experience.
A vocational institute on the other hand is a specialized school that usually focuses specifically on a craft or trade, in this case massage therapy or other spa and wellness related disciplines. These programs are generally more intense and possibly shorter in overall time-period but certainly not shorter in the number of hours involved. In other words, the course may be 2 months long, but you will certainly be working a lot of hours per day.
Community colleges are run on a semester system just like universities whereas vocational institutions can provide compact but intense continuous learning on a full-time basis (40 hours per week). A vocational institute will generally also offer superior facilities and can attract some of the best practitioners as teachers because of the higher tuition rates they charge.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Tuition Buck
There can be a wide range of pricing differences even between the two types of schools discussed here. In general however, these are the factors you should consider when evaluating pricing:
- Does the program meet the minimum state requirements for licensing?
- Does the program provide certification examination preparation?
- Is the school nationally accredited for board certification?
- Does the program price include your massage table, books and accessories?
- Does the program pay for your certification exam?
- Does the program provide for all your hands-on training?
- Do you have to pay for out-of-state housing costs (a local privately owned massage school would be less expensive)?
There is a lot of information contained in this article. The important thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to attend an expensive massage therapy school in order to get a good education.
What you do need to avoid at all costs is a cheap massage therapy school that offers subpar education. Not only because this can drag down your potential career but especially because the school may not be accredited and thus you won’t be able to get your state license and board certification. These two designations are absolutely necessary to practice as a massage therapist today.
There are many community colleges and state universities that provide massage therapist programs at a reasonable price. These programs do just as well in helping you get on a good path to a successful career in the massage therapy industry.
Once you are working, you can always invest more in your profession through continuing education and specialization that will help you achieve more fame and fortune in your industry. The more specializations that you are proficient in, the more marketable you will become to employers.
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