After going to massage school and getting your certification in the field, most massage therapists have several career options. Traditional employers like spas, health resorts, cruise lines, and alternative healthcare organizations often have one or more massage professionals on staff, and there are equal numbers of opportunities for those who want to start their own businesses. Many massage professionals also branch out by selling massage and personal care products, or even by giving massage classes for couples.
However, there are other careers for massage therapists – especially once you acquire several years of experience. Massage therapy careers are often short-lived due to the heavy physical and emotional toll the job can take on you, and one way in which to continue making a living in the field without encountering massage “burnout” is to consider a job as a massage therapy instructor.
What Is a Massage Therapy Instructor?
The best massage schools have a staff of instructors who are knowledgeable about the field and passionate about what they do. Most massage instructors have at least a Bachelor’s degree in the field and up to ten years of experience working with clients in a real-world setting. They often have training and certification in a number of different massage modalities, and know not only how to perform these different types of massage, but what tools are necessary to do the job well.
This list of requirements is pretty heavy for anyone hoping to become a massage therapy instructor right out of school – and for good reason. Becoming a massage instructor means that you’ll be responsible for educating hundreds of new professionals every year, many of whom will go on to work in the healthcare field.
Massage Instructor Requirements
After graduating from an accredited massage therapy program and spending a few years in the field, anyone interested in becoming a massage therapy instructor should look at advanced education options. These include getting a Bachelor’s degree or higher in massage, staying current with continuing education credits, or even taking courses related to adult education. In some states, you may also be required to be certified by the state board in order to teach.
The courses you can expect to cover as you learn to become a massage instructor include:
- Learning strategies
- Theories of massage
- The teaching process
- Classroom activities
- Lesson planning
- Advanced massage modalities
- Massage technology
- Online learning
There are specific massage schools that specialize in teaching professionals to become licensed instructors, as well. As is the case with any massage program, it’s best to do your research ahead of time and ensure that they are accredited by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork or American Massage Association before you sign up for classes. Many of these courses qualify for your biennial continuing education requirements, so they will count toward your continued professional growth even if you decide not to become an instructor.