The Advantages To Earning A Massage Therapy Degree
A massage therapy degree allows individuals with an interest in treating patients with various injuries, muscle aches, or assist in managing chronic pain. Students within massage therapy programs learn techniques to offer clients pain relief, relaxation methods, means of stress reduction, health and wellness promotion, and deep tissue massage treatments. Massage therapy degree programs give students the knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, and other specialized techniques necessary to understand and treat the human body. Additionally, massage therapy programs give students business and communication skills necessary to work with clients and efficiently operate a massage therapy practice.
Many students manage work and family responsibilities in addition to educational obligations while pursuing a degree. Most colleges and universities have developed innovative online degree programs to extend education beyond traditional, on campus locations. Most online degree programs feature the same educational experiences as their traditional, brick and mortar counterparts. Online courses generally have smaller classes, with groups of 25 students or less, and provide students 24 hour access to course materials, instruction, and information. Online classes also give students a more personalized degree experience and offer students one on one interactions with other classmates and instructors through Internet chats. Online degree programs are often one of the most affordable and convenient means of increasing knowledge and education necessary for personal and professional success.
What Students Learn Within Massage Therapy Degree Programs
Massage therapy degree programs offer students the ability to gain the technical and business skills necessary to qualify for a variety of employment options. Massage therapy classes teach students hands on approaches to massage techniques and practices based upon anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and organ and tissue studies. Massage therapy programs also offer students a general understanding of business, management, ethics, and communication skills necessary to advance to employment within the quickly growing massage therapy industry.
Educational programs for students interested in careers as massage therapists are generally offered by most private and public post secondary educational institutions. Requirements and training standards to qualify for employment as a professional in the field of massage therapy vary tremendously and are based upon State, local, and employer regulations. Most massage therapy professionals are required to complete formal programs requiring 300-1,200 credit hours. Individuals also then must gain and maintain licensing as determined by state and employer regulations as well as continue education to stay current with new techniques and procedures.
Many students begin studies within one year certification programs based upon specific modalities of based in Swedish massage and deep tissue therapy, neuromuscular therapy, spa therapies, reflexology, or seated massage techniques. Courses within specialized certificate programs include courses based in: polarity, therapeutic touch, cross fiber, deep transverse friction, assisted massage, deep tissue, connective tissue, increasing circulation, trigger points, postural distortion, dysfunctional biomechanics, nerve impingement and tension, somatovisceral and viscerosomatic reflexes, trauma, body masques, thallasotherapy, pelotherapy, exfoliation and body polish, back treatments, reflexology, and aromatic reflexology. Students who complete certification programs may advance to licensing programs, employment as massage therapy technicians, or associate degree programs.
Associate degree programs give students specialized knowledge and techniques necessary to expand skills and training required for various employment options. Courses at an associate level include: advanced western techniques and their clinical applications; anatomy and physiology; applied topics in anatomy and physiology; assessment of soft tissue conditions; neurology, anatomy, and physiology; assessment of soft tissue conditions; tools of assessment and treatment; pathology for health related professions; Shiatsu and Eastern evaluation; complimentary techniques; introduction to polarity; introduction to reflexology; introduction to Tui Na; integrative therapeutic massage and self care; advanced Shiatsu; introduction to lymphatic drainage massage; introduction to craniosacral therapy; introduction to Thai massage; myology and kinesiology; palpation; pathology for the health related professions; professional development and ethics; Swedish massage; and introduction to sports massage. Graduates from associate degree programs may advance to licensing procedures required for employment as massage therapists. All massage therapists are required to continue education to maintain licensure and specialize skills as there are over 80 types of massage modalities. Many graduates participate in training programs to learn different modalities and specialize skills in addition to those learned in formal training programs. Graduates who wish to advance education to higher degree programs must choose related health fields, like physical therapy, chiropractic medicine, alternative medicine, or acupuncture, as programs beyond an associate level in the discipline of massage therapy do not exist.
Prospective Jobs For Massage Therapy Degree Graduates
Massage therapy graduates often gain licensure and gain employment in various organizations based upon educational, licensing, and experience factors. Formal educational programs offer students the ability to gain the specialized technical skills and business knowledge necessary for professional success. Most graduates with massage therapy degrees work independently or as staff at spas, wellness centers, health centers, personal residences, hotels, resorts, physical therapy centers, sporting facilities, and rehabilitation clinics and hospitals. Graduates who complete certificate and licensing programs often work as entry level massage therapist technicians. Graduates who complete associate degrees advance to licensing exams necessary for employment as massage therapists.
Salary Range For Graduates With Massage Therapy Degrees
Graduates with massage therapy degrees have the potential to build long term and successful careers within a dynamic and growing field. The demand for qualified, skilled massage therapists and providers of alternative medicine is expected to rise significantly in the foreseeable future and graduates who refine their training and establish a strong client base may expect to have higher earnings in comparison to graduates with less training and experience. Many massage therapists have salaries which vary and are dependent upon the number of clients and work schedule. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that most massage therapists earn $11.36 to $25.14 hourly, with some earning as much as $33.47 hourly. Most massage therapists also receive commissions in addition to hourly wages.
Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Massage Therapy Degree Graduates
Graduates who complete massage therapy programs may find many career opportunities within numerous organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports job growth for massage therapists will increase by 19 percent through 2018 at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. As consumers recognize the benefits of massage and seek alternative means of treating pain and increasing wellness, the demand for massage therapists is expected to increase. Graduates who complete formal certification, educational, and licensing requirements generally find an increased employability.
Additionally, graduates who establish a strong client base, particularly within specific age demographics, and those have solid business skills generally do very well in the field of massage therapy. Massage therapists generally have limited advancement opportunities due to the specialized nature of their jobs. Many massage therapists gain experience and continue education necessary to increase their client base and attract higher earnings. Massage therapists who gain work experience often advance to managerial positions within their organization of employment. Some may also go on to teaching positions within massage therapy training programs.