Dee Vickers, a Massage Academy Director, Says DO NOT Stop Learning After Massage School

Dee Vickers1. Tell us a bit more about you and your practice as it is today? i.e. are you a solo practitioner or a business owner? If solo, what kind of an establishment do you work for, how large is it, what is the clientele like, what is the specialty offered? If it is a business that you own, kindly include the same time of relevant information that will give the reader a good idea about your establishment/practice. Please also include where you live and work?

I own a small studio practice in Memphis, TN. The practice is called Opulence Massage LLC. We have five massage therapists that work out of the studio. Our clientele is generally over 30 an equal mix between male and female. The clients are usually professionals.

2. Tell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?

I made a career change around 35 years old. I loved getting massages. I wanted to have a career doing massage because it loved massage so much. I decided to go into massage full time after having children.

3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.

I was concerned about the employment options and finding work. I was also terrified of the National Board Exam that I was required to pass to get a license.

4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?

My specialty is TMJ massage. Continuing education is my number one factor to my success. The second factor was my business background before becoming a massage therapist. My third factor has been the generosity and referrals from my clients.

5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?

TMJ massage has been so rewarding because I have seen how it can dramatically impact people’s pain management. I believe when you do what you love you will never work again. I haven’t worked in years.

6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?

I love the people and building the therapeutic relationships. So – nothing that I don’t like.

7. If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?

I would like to change the lowering of therapist pay to meet the needs of the mass production massage establishments. What we do is hard work and it seems sad to see people work so hard and a few retrieve the benefits from the work of many.

8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?

I plan to practice for the rest of my physical career. After massage, I will retire.

9. Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?

In addition to my private practice, I am also the director of Gould’s Academy of Massage. The two careers balance and compliment each other .

10. What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?

Once you start a private practice don’t move! It is very hard to start over from scratch (it takes time to build clientele).

11. What would you advice someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how? How do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?

Pick a school that offers class times that work for you. Also research their curriculum to make sure it matches your career goals and interests.

12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?

I would suggest looking at financial assistance options. Down size your lifestyle, move in with family or get a second job to save the money.

13. What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?

Massage is a relationship and touch based career. You need to love people to love doing massage.

14. Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?

When you get your basic education, don’t stop there. Your success will be increased with your increased skills and advanced trainings.

15. What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.

I love the outdoors. I love to hike, camp, swim, canoe and lay on the beach! I am always quick to pack a bag for a road trip.

Dee Vickers, LMT, NCTMB, M.ED. can be found at and where she is a Director.

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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