Not-for-Profit vs. For-Profit Massage Schools

One of the biggest issues facing prospective massage students is deciding which massage school to attend. These days, most cities have several different education options, which range from smaller vocational schools to large universities. Choosing which one is right depends on the program, personal preference, cost, and accreditation, among other factors. One thing that you should also be aware of is whether or not the school is a for-profit institution.

What is a For-Profit Massage School?

Most of the schools we associate with big names (think state universities like the University of Washington or University of Chicago) are actually non-profit organizations that run solely as an educational institution, rather than a business. Any profits made through tuition and fees are put directly back into the school and its programs so that the students are the ones to benefit.

A for-profit school, on the other hand, is run like a business and is designed to turn a profit for investors (think University of Phoenix). Most for-profit schools are vocational training centers rather than academic centers, though they may offer just as many degrees and programs as non-profit schools.

At first glance, for-profit schools might seem like an automatic out. After all, if they’re in the business of making money, how can they care about students? Won’t they charge more for the same education? Won’t they worry less about how students fare in the real world?

The Truth About For-Profit Schools

While many for-profit massage schools and other vocational centers have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, they aren’t all bad. In most cases (and when the proper accreditation is in place), you can get the same level of education you can at any other school, and things like federal funding and degrees still apply. Other benefits include:

  • Shorter program lengths: Because the focus is often on vocational-level training, many educational programs are offered in half the time.
  • Higher rates of job placement: For-profit schools are closely monitored so that they don’t mislead students. This means they put more of an emphasis on helping students land jobs after graduation—something you rarely get from a non-profit school.
  • Smaller class sizes: Because they have more of a budget to work with, for-profit schools tend to offer smaller class sizes and a more one-on-one teacher-student approach. They also offer more flexibility when it comes to class types and times.
  • They follow a satisfaction-oriented business model: No business is successful if its customer base is unhappy. For-profit schools have to be more competitive in order to succeed, which means they often focus more on improved classrooms, technology, teachers, and student satisfaction.

There is no right or wrong way to get your education. For some massage students, the focused education and more vocational approach of a for-profit school is better, even if the costs are a little higher. For others, the academic setting of a non-profit school is more comfortable. No matter what you decide, make sure you do your research and weigh all the costs before making a decision for your massage therapy future.




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