According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2007 National Health Interview survey showed “an estimated 18 million U.S. adults and 700,000 children had received massage therapy in the previous year.” Massage therapy, when practiced by a licensed Massage Therapist has many benefits and few, if any risks to the patient. Many people seek massage therapy as an alternative to medication in the treatment of stress, anxiety and muscle pain.
There are different types of certification for Massage Therapists. These include Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP), Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) and NCTMB, which means the Massage Therapist, has met the credential requirements of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, including passing an exam.
According to the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy, all massage therapy services must be licensed through them. The requirements include “a minimum of 650 hours from an accredited massage therapy school and be certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.” In addition, each applicant must also “produce evidence of $1,000,000 in Personal Liability Insurance coverage along with certified transcripts and verification of their national certification.”
Strict requirements like these mean that it is imperative to choose an accredited school for your training. The United States Department of Education awards accreditation to schools that adhere to their standards for quality of education and faculty.
In Alabama, massage therapy schools have financial aid available through state and federal grants, student loans, the G.I Bill for veterans and payment plans. It is best to explore all of your options as you may need more than one source of financial aid to cover the full cost.
In order to qualify for certification through Alabama’s Board of Massage Therapy, you need to verify that the course provides instruction in anatomy, pathology and various massage techniques. A good program will also include business courses and instruction on filing insurance claims.
Potential Career Opportunities
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Satistics, shows that the career growth and market for Massage Therapy is expected to be stronger than the average for all health care professions. Alabama massage therapists also make an average annual salary of nearly $30,000. Massage therapy has several different avenues for the therapist to pursue which allows for versatility within the practice.
The American Massage Therapy Association, which has many resources for massage therapists, lists health care and medical clinics, spas, independent franchises, fitness and sport centers and private practice as options for a massage therapy practice. Some Hospice agencies also offer massage therapy as part of their end of life services.
If you choose to go into private practice right away, it will require patience as you build your client base. Therefore, some therapists prefer to begin as an employee in an established business first. This will also allow you to determine which type of massage therapy is in demand for the clients in your area.
Find Your Massage Therapy School
There are several ways you can pursue a career in massage therapy, and many career outcomes in which you can thrive. To make sure you choose the right program, use Massage Register to find the schools in your area.