Certified Masseuse Career and Certification

The certification process and requirements for masseuses vary by state. Continue reading to learn what your career as a masseuse would look like and how you can become certified. Schools offering Holistic Health Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A masseuse is more commonly referred to as a massage therapist. Massage therapists work with individual clients to decompress strained muscles, reduce pain, help rehabilitate injuries and promote general wellness.

Certification National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) offers certification
Programs Certificate, Diploma, Associate's Degree
Median Salary (2017)* $39,990

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Certified Masseuse Do?

Most massage therapists specialize in a few different types of massage, which are called modalities. Depending on the modality used, a massage therapist may use lotions, oils or powders to enhance the therapeutic touch.

As a massage therapist, you would begin a typical session with a brief consultation with your client to learn about the client's medical history, injuries and areas of discomfort. Based on this information, you could then determine which modality and techniques would best meet the needs of your client. After arranging the client on a massage chair or table, you would then use your hands to manipulate the soft tissue in the client's body, adjusting the session to accommodate the physical condition and health of your client.

How Do I Become Certified?

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) grants certification in massage therapy. To qualify for certification, you must complete at least 500 hours of training in a state-approved massage therapy program and pass a standardized exam administered by the NCBTMB. According to the NCBTMB, you must also demonstrate a mastery of therapeutic skills, knowledge and techniques (www.ncbtmb.org). Training and educational programs in massage therapy are available through certificate, diploma and associate degree programs, typically offered at community or technical colleges. Coursework can include subjects like kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, massage pathology and nutrition. Students will commonly take part in massage clinic experiences, internships or externships for hands-on practice.

Not all states regulate massage therapy, so the requirements to work as a massage therapist vary. If your state requires that you become licensed, you will need to pass an examination to apply for licensure. In most states, an NCBTMB certification examination will fulfill the examination requirements for licensure.

What is the Outlook for the Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 39% of massage therapists are self-employed as of 2016 (www.bls.gov). Other massage therapists work in:

  • Nursing homes
  • Health clubs
  • Medical facilities
  • Spas
  • Resorts

The BLS further projected that employment of massage therapists would grow 26%, much faster than average from 2016-2026 as spas and massage franchises grow and the population focuses on health and wellness. As of 2017, the median annual salary for massage therapists was $39,990, according to the BLS.

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