Mentors are an important part of the massage therapy industry. Aspiring massage therapists are advised to find a mentor right from the outset so they get the right guidance from the time they start studying at a massage school. The same can be said of any field, not just massage therapy.
In any line of work, being under the tutelage of someone who has been there and done that proves quite useful. You can learn the rules of the trade and also develop a keen insight into your profession. This is why it is recommended that you find someone who can be your mentor in your foray into the massage therapy field.
Needless to say, the mentor you find should have experience in massage therapy and be highly qualified. If a person doesn’t know the ins and outs of massage therapy, there is little chance he/she will prove to be an effective mentor.
Your mentor can be anyone you’d like, from a professor in school, to a practitioner, to a massage business owner, or continuing education provider. You may want to choose one that aligns with you future aspirations.
For example, if you want to own a massage spa one day, you may want a current massage spa owner to be your mentor. Perhaps you can even work for them and do a really good job. Who knows, you may become the successor to the business?
Not only will you be able to ask your mentor questions about massage therapy but also benefit from all their years of practical experience. You can bank on their expertise to pick up some hints about making it big in massage therapy. This way you can expand your network within the industry as well. Plus, there is a much better chance you will have more opportunities for employment relative to your peers.
In other words, finding a mentor could be a stepping stone to a long and successful career in massage therapy. In fact, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has its own mentoring program for massage therapists. You can always sign up through their services and find a suitable match for you.
The purpose of this program is to ensure that the massage therapists who enter the industry are fully prepared. The mentors are tasked with imbibing the skills of communication and success planning in aspiring massage therapists. Getting started on the right foot is the key to making it big in this field.
One of the simplest and most effective ways you can find a career mentor in massage is by using the AMTA database. They have list of all massage therapists who have volunteered to be mentors for the people getting started in the industry.
You can search for AMTA mentors who live near you, so you don’t have to travel too far to get in touch with one. The database provides certain filters you can use to search for mentors, ensuring you find the best possible mentor. You will work in collaboration with your mentor to formulate a strategy that benefits you both.
That said, with technological advances today like Skype, Facetime, etc. you don’t have to compromise on who you decide to select as a mentor. Mentorship is a two way street. Your mentor can have just as much to gain from you as you have from them.
Let’s look into the more granular benefits of having a mentor.
Benefits of Getting a Career Mentor
Here are some of the leading benefits of getting a career mentor in massage:
- Networking/Contacts: There is a good chance that your mentor can offer you a job in his/her business. Many experienced massage therapists who volunteer for or are open to mentoring run their own businesses hence they are able to offer employment opportunities. This is not a given but is quite likely. In fact remember what we said about mentorship being a two way street? It certainly is true in this case. Massage business owners can use the mentorship program as a pipeline of new talent into their business.
- Career Guidance/Advancement: You can achieve the goals you set when taking up massage therapy as a career. In tandem with your mentor, you can plan your education and career from the outset. The mentor can help you with anything, from selecting the right course to appearing for the exam. Even if you feel your massage school cannot help you achieve the goals you have in mind, your mentor may be able to help you get there.
- Reality Check: The experience your mentor has in the field ensures that they can get your expectations in check from the outset. Massage therapy is a lucrative field with plenty of job opportunities. This often leads to students feeling there is quick money to be made by becoming a massage therapist. Your mentor can ensure that your expectations are more aligned with the realities in this profession. Having someone to guide you through the realities of this industry ensures that you can brave the rough times and emerge as a successful massage therapist in the long term.
Do Mentors Benefit from This Arrangement?
As we have already stated – Yes.
There are numerous benefits of getting a career mentor in the massage industry. In many cases the mentors not only share their knowledge but also end up becoming friends with the students they mentor.
They also provide more opportunities to their mentees, including jobs. Through them, you can make more contacts in the industry than you would on your own. But the question remains whether the mentors themselves benefit from this arrangement?
Yes. For one, they get to play a part in molding the minds of the next generation of massage therapists that are going to enter the field. Moreover, there is an official AMTA Mentor of the Year Award the mentors compete for. The best mentor is the one who wins the award.
Since not all mentors are part of AMTA, or are found through their database, there are several benefits outside of the AMTA system as well. Mentors can stay up to date with the new trends via interaction with their mentees. Mentees, especially those who are fresh out of school provide a fresh perspective someone who has been practicing for 10 years may not have.
Mentees can also bring newer technology into their discussions like social media, which can be a critical component of a massage business’ overall marketing and PR plan. The relationship can definitely be mutually beneficial and it usually is. The mentors should also feel rewarded which will make them stay in such a relationship longer and work harder at it.
And oh, did we mention anything about having a limitless supply of fresh talent out of school through a mentorship program? You better believe it.
Dealing with the Realities of the Massage Field
As mentioned above, as a massage therapist you can encounter rough phases in your career. When you first start studying, there is great pressure on you to succeed in massage school. You have to score a passing grade on certain standardized exams or else you will not be eligible for getting your license to practice massage professionally.
Earning a healthy income can take time, and this is something many aspiring therapists do not understand. Many don’t know how to progress in their careers to get to that next income level where they are earning the glamorous figures often quoted by research studies and the projections from the department of labor and economic growth.
Moreover, many students have to bear the additional burden of a student loan as well as working part-time or full-time. This pressure can cause even the best students to give up the chance to become a massage therapist. This is where a mentor can really help you overcome such difficult situations.
Mentors can ensure that their mentees remain motivated throughout the career progression process. Even if there is a time when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, having a mentor helps because you can learn from the hardships they faced when they first got started. This will give you the motivation you need to continue in this field. The massage therapists who put in the required effort are the ones who go on to have successful careers.