Becoming a Massage Therapy Instructor

by Terry on March 20, 2011

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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

The average high school graduate has no clue as to what educational path to follow upon graduation. A growing field that may interest those that are seeking hands on learning environment is the field of Neuromuscular and Massage Therapy. Students who fulfill all educational and training requirements of massage therapy classes can earn a certification and/or diploma in the respective field.

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Susanna Clinton November 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Terry,
Thanks for your post. I am an elementary educator in the public school system with a Master’s degree in education. I also am an LMT part time. When I retire from elementary teaching in about 10 years, I would like to teach massage therapy, or perhaps even teach massage therapy in the evenings before I retire from public education. I have been a practicing LMT for only 2 years. Specifically, where can I find education to become a massage therapy educator? What certification do I need besides my teaching degree, master’s degree and LMT certification? I have taken a few continuing education courses in modalities that interest me, and I plan to take more, but I am definitely not an expert in any, since I have only been practicing part time for two years. Thank you for any advice.

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KR November 16, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I have never before now heard of the massage therapy instructor certification requirement and I have been in the business for over 14 years, over 5 yrs teaching and a Master’s Degree in the life sciences!! If you are going to require the 30-hr adult learning, PLEASE OFFER SOME website and school options for enrolling in this!!! I can find none by doing a google search and have no idea which programs are acceptable/un-acceptable for your accreditation.

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MGD December 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

I to have never heard of the massage therapy instructor certification? I have search the web for information of this certification or schools in my area. Please offer more information about this if you will.

Thanks,

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AB May 14, 2012 at 12:37 am

Can anyone recommend where I can take a course to receive my Massage Therapy Instructors Certification. Thanks!

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Christa November 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There is a teacher training program at IPSB in San Diego, not sure what kind of certificate you get out of it however. check out their website.
Great School.

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Lisa Palmer February 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm

With so many varying requirements state to state, I would love to find a school
that I could attend to be qualified to work (as a therapist or an instructor). We ought
to have a national requirement to make things easier!

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ALI September 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm

I would like more information on how to become a Massage Therapist Instructor. Please advise. Thank You!

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