The Basics of Getting Started As a Massage Therapist

You will need to spend at an average, an entire year at a massage school before becoming a massage therapist. In addition to the learning theory, you will also have to complete a practical hands-on internship for a set number of hours.

However, once you are done with massage school, it will be time to step into the industry. The massage industry is complicated, but rewarding. That said, there can be many hurdles initially and you will need to develop a strong will power to become a successful massage therapist.

Your daily routine may consist of about 8 to 9 massages of an hour each. One of the most common aspects to consider is whether to open your own massage practice, or work at an existing massage facility. Of course there are pros and cons to both of them. Also, you will also have to make a decision regarding which type of massage technique you want to specialize in.

There are many options. For example, you can step into the medical massage profession or you can become a sports massage therapist. Whichever option you choose, you do need to decide which direction you want to take your career into to maximize your chances of success.

With that said, there are a few things that you have to have regardless of where you are going to begin your practice and what modality you specialize in.

Choosing the Right Career Path

The career path that you choose should be in accordance with your interests. This is because the success of your career depends upon your interest in performing the particular type of massage. If you do not enjoy a particular career, you are less likely to excel at it.

Don’t take this decision lightly. It is ok to spend as much time studying, exploring, learning and experimenting before you commit. Also remember that you can pivot and switch directions at any time. Though, the sooner you choose one and focus on it, the sooner you are likely to establish a successful massage practice or career.

Owning Your Own Independent Practice

Beginning an independent massage therapy practice is a big step forward. There is a lot to consider when starting your own practice. This is why it is not ideal to begin your own practice right out of massage school. You should spend a few years in the industry and get to know about how everything works first.

Once you have a profound understanding of the massage therapy industry, and how a massage business works, you can consider starting your own independent practice. It is definitely much easier to start your own practice if you already have an immense knowledge of the profession and the industry.

Getting a Job as a Massage Therapist

There is a lot to consider when you get a job as a massage therapist. This is because the job should be in accordance with the career path that you like. For instance, if you want to become a sports therapist, you should seek employment in a related facility such as a sports rehab clinic.

If you are interested in medical massage, you can get a job at a chiropractic facility, where you will encounter clients with a variety of medical issues.

Work At a Reputable Facility

If you are aiming to begin your own massage therapy practice at some point, it will serve you better to select a reputable place for employment. Not only does this improve your resume, but it also ensures the best training ground.

Getting the right type and amount of experience prior to beginning your practice could guarantee that your massage business will run smoothly. Working at a reputable facility will teach you how a top notch facility works. You can then mimic your business right after this successful model.

Another benefit of working in a reputable facility is the understanding and ability of how to identify counterfeit massage products from original ones. This is one underrated and underappreciated skill which is essential in massage therapy. Counterfeit or inferior products can cause harm to the skin and result in unsatisfied clients.

Must Have Essentials for a Massage Therapist

Whether you plan to work at a massage facility for the duration of your career or eventually start your own massage business, there are a few essentials you should always have.

Business Cards

In most cases, massage therapists consider business cards only if they are starting their own practice. However, even if you are working at a massage facility, you should have your very own business card. If you are working for a facility, you don’t need to have the name of the business on it. Your name and contact details will suffice.

This way you can build your own network of clients. For instance, if you meet someone outside of work and they are looking to get a massage, you can give them directions to the facility you are working at, and your card for them to contact you. This way if you do begin your own practice, you will already have a base level of clients you can count on and call upon.

Separate Contact Details

Never provide your personal contact details to your massage therapy clients. The best thing to do is to get separate contact details for this purpose. You should create a dedicated email address for your massage therapy practice. In addition, you should also get a separate phone number. This could help you to keep your professional life separate from your personal life.

Of course, there is also a safety concern when you give out personal details to clients or strangers. Additionally, you may not miss a call from a client because you are on the phone with a friend. This is also a great way to filter out business calls from personal calls.

Supplies

Supplies can be often easily forgotten. You may sometimes get so involved in other things in your practice that you skip buying enough massage supplies. Always make sure you are well stocked on supplies. This includes oils, lotions, sheets and towels.

The more you have the better. This will ensure that you never run out of clean towels or sheets during or after a massage.

Professional Liability Insurance

One of the most important things that you need to acquire immediately when becoming a massage therapist is insurance. Medical personnel, trainers, etc. all need professional liability insurance.

This ensures that you don’t have to face financial turmoil in the event you face a malpractice lawsuit for making a mistake. Many insurance companies also provide insurance to students at a discounted rate.

These basic essentials can ensure that your massage career takes off smoothly.

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+

Posted in Career Considerations, Certification
2 comments on “The Basics of Getting Started As a Massage Therapist
  1. Brooke says:

    Where can I go to get an online LMT? I can’t find any online schools to get the certification..or at least the book work park of the schooling..

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Brooke, have you tried searching through our search box? There are several schools that you will find offer this. You can also check our top schools review, which have some options that offer the online course content remotely. What / where specifically are you having an issues? Happy to help

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