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5 FAQs: How to Become A Licensed Massage Therapist

Everyone loves a good relaxing massage. That might be the one thing that everyone can agree on in 2019! But, did you know there is a lot more to being a massage therapist than just knowing how to give a good rub down?

Becoming a licensed massage therapist can open up many doors. The profession has almost never been as in-demand as it is now. Nearly anywhere you go in the country as a licensed massage therapist, you’ll be able to find meaningful work.

become a massage therapist

Massage therapy is an incredible opportunity to interact with like-minded people and be an entrepreneur in control of your own career.

So, you’ve decided that this is the right career path for you. Where do you start? These five FAQs will help define what a massage therapy career is and the steps to becoming a licensed massage therapist.

What Is A Licensed Massage Therapist?

A licensed massage therapist is a board-certified health care professional who uses a range of techniques to manipulate the body’s soft tissues (including the lymph, fascia, muscle and deep tissues) to promote specific wellness goals. These can range from relaxation to healing with targeted therapy programs.

A massage therapist is expected to be proficient in multiple massage modalities, from relaxation (AKA Swedish) massage, deep tissue, trigger point, Myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, sports massage and safe pregnancy massage.

Your responsibilities for your clients can range from wellness coach to healing therapist depending on your interests. As a Therapeutic Bodywork Practitioner, you will have far more skills and tools to provide a beneficially healthy massage that is not just for those tense or achy muscles.

Practitioners who are therapeutically trained can also counsel clients on their overall health and wellness, too! You will provide a range of services every day:

  • Creating a professional environment for your clientele that promotes wellness and relaxation
  • Evaluation and assessment, followed by discussion and agreement with the client to provide the best therapy plan for their needs
  • Tracking your clients’ progress over time and adjusting the therapy plan according to their evolving needs
  • Respecting the privacy needs and comfort levels of your individual clients
  • Providing your clients with wellness tips that can range from diet to stretching suggestions

The responsibilities can range greatly depending on what kind of practice you would like to create for yourself and your desired clientele.

And of course, in addition, as a business owner, you must keep track of your operations, which can include billing, marketing, cleaning and scheduling your sessions.

Is Massage Therapy a Satisfying Career?

It depends on your temperament, but most massage therapists report a high level of satisfaction with their job. They help their clients in meaningful ways that include de-stressing and healing. Many massage therapists feel that their ability to help their clients achieve a higher sense of well-being is the most important, and rewarding, part of their job.

Massage therapy is also a highly social career, making it especially suited for anyone who identifies as a “people person.” Massage therapists must value social interaction and be comfortable with physical contact. You can make your own schedule, allowing for great freedom and opportunity for travel and time off.

Do I Need Prior Education?

A high school degree or GED is required for most Michigan massage therapy schools. You will be asked to provide transcripts before joining the program. Contact the program of your choice to get more information on their requirements for previous education.

Do I Need A License to Practice Massage Therapy in Michigan?

Michigan requires all practicing massage therapists to be licensed. To obtain your license, you need to attend a state recognized school, offering an approved bodywork program. After successfully completing at least 625 hours of curriculum and earning a diploma, the student is then qualified to take the Massage Board Licensing Exam (MBLEx). The process is two-fold:

  1. Apply to the State of Michigan which includes finger-printing and background checks
  2. Apply to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) to sit for the MBLEx

After successfully passing the MBLEx, your score is immediately sent to the state for recording. If you have completed all of the steps at the state level, your license from the State of Michigan to practice will be issued.

It is also helpful to be Nationally Certified to practice in most states in the United States, but it is not required. The national certification is earned after successfully passing the exam administered by NCBTMB.

Most other states require licensure from a state board. The only states not requiring a state license are Kansas, Minnesota, Vermont and Wyoming at the time of the writing.

Michigan massage therapy school

How To Become A Massage Therapist In Michigan

There are a number of steps to follow before you can become a licensed massage therapist in Michigan:

1. Get Your Diploma or GED

Most Michigan massage therapy schools will require you to have a primary education degree. If you’re not graduated yet, prepare specifically for your career path by taking biology, anatomy and business courses.

2. Enroll In A Massage School in Michigan

Find the massage therapy program that suits your needs. Contact that school and schedule an appointment with a counselor. Many programs will offer weekend-only programs geared to those trying looking to make a career switch.

3. Get Your Massage Therapy License

This is required in all but four states in the United States at the time of this writing, and you must pass the MBLEx exam and be approved by the State of Michigan to practice in the state of Michigan. When you graduate from your accredited massage therapy program, you will be equipped with the experience and knowledge to take the certification exam.

3. Start Building Your Client Base

Start off by looking for an entry-level massage therapist job. Hone your skills and build your client base. Once you gain experience working in the field, begin to break out on your own! You’ll be amazed at the incredible opportunities available for massage therapists in Michigan.

5. Get Your Board Certification

Consider getting board certified. It is not required for practice, but it can be a great achievement to display as you build your client base. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) offers the certification, and you can learn more about the requirements on their website.

Michigan Massage Therapy School

There are a number of highly-rated massage therapy schools in Michigan. To find the closest program to you, search on Google for massage therapy schools, and do your research on listing sites such as MassageTherapySchoolsInformation.com.

Your program will cover a broad range of topics! A massage therapist is expected to be knowledgeable on subjects such as:

  • Swedish-style relaxation massage
  • Ethics and professionalism
  • Seated chair massage
  • Use of essential oils with a variety of massage modalities
  • Advanced anatomy and physiology of the human body
  • Basic nutrition guidelines for wellness
  • Reflexology therapy and deep tissue massage
  • Meridian balancing for aligning the energy pathways of the human body
  • Injury therapy techniques such as myofascial massage
  • Muscle isolation and trigger point therapy techniques

Make sure that the program you choose is certified. Look for seals displayed from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). They are the governing body that oversees programs to ensure that they meet curriculum requirements for certification.

Massage Therapy Jobs In Michigan

Check out our online job board for more information on massage therapist opportunities all over the state of Michigan. Look for seals and certificates from the State and NCBTMB to ensure the program is state approved as well as the curriculum accredited by NCBTMB. Nationally accredited programs provide the best educational curriculum to prepare you for successfully passing the MBLEx and National Certification Exam.