When researching massage schools, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the numbers. Different massage programs have widely varying tuition prices and additional expenses, and then there is the number of hours in the massage program. 500? 750? 900? You may be asking yourself, "what do all of these numbers mean in the real world, and what does X amount of program hours actually get me?"
To clear this up, we've put together a list of what factors you should consider when comparing program hours. When you determine which factors are most important for your individual life goals, you will be able to decide how many program hours you need, and what massage program is the best fit for you.
1. How many hours do you need to work in your state?
Massage licensure in the U.S. is given by each individual state, and the number of program hours required for each state is different. Priority number one, you want to make sure that your massage program will qualify you for a license to work in your home state. Make sure that whatever program you choose meets all the requirements, including number of program hours, for licensure in the state you plan to work in after graduation. MTTI's program was specifically constructed to qualify students in this broad way and to go beyond the minimum requirements to truly provide students a solid foundation.
2. Do you want to work in other states?
Is it possible that you might one day move to another state, perform massage while you are traveling, or work temporarily in another state, for example on a cruise ship or at a spa resort? Even if it isn't in your short term plan, most people will answer this question "yes." Imagine how frustrating it will feel to have to go back to massage school and take additional massage classes in the future when you want to work in a different state. Yet surprisingly, many massage programs do not qualify you to work in most states. When interviewing schools, ask specific questions about what massage licensure their program will qualify you for. Many prospective students are excited to learn that Massage Therapy Training Institute offers more hours than required by the state of New Mexico, qualifying our graduates for licensure in 48 states.
3. Do you want to work in other countries?
Some massage schools are accredited to offer licensure in other countries. For example, Massage Therapy Training Institute is accredited with ITEC, offering MTTI graduates the opportunity to practice in over 40 different countries. If you have goals of working in a specific country after graduation, you will want to be sure that your massage program is accredited to offer licensure in that country. If you would like the opportunity to work outside the United States but have no specific goals in mind, look for a school that offers International accreditation so that door will be open to you.
4. Do you want to take additional hours beyond the licensing requirements?
Additional program hours will cost time and money. Depending on what you are learning during those hours, and whether this fits into your career goals, will determine whether additional hours are worth the expense. If you plan to work in a highly competitive spa environment, maybe an additional 100 hours of spa techniques will serve you in this goal. However, if you plan to work in a medical environment, your resources could probably be better spent elsewhere. Look over the school's curriculum to determine exactly what you are getting for the extra program hours, and compare program costs to find out how much those extra hours will cost you.
Many massage students do not know what specialized field of massage they are interested in until after experiencing hands-on the many different modalities during massage school. Massage career goals often change once students start a massage school program. Continuing Education (CEU) hours are required classes that must be completed each year in order to maintain your licensure. There are some requirements, but you get to choose the topic of most of the CEU classes that you take. Many massage schools such as MTTI offer a solid foundation and springboard to go in any direction after graduation, and CEU classes can be a great way to refine your skills in your area of interest or specialization post graduation.
Now that you have a better understanding of what massage school hours mean in the real world of your future massage career, you can compare schools by looking at the program hours they offer and what you get from those hours vs. the cost of tuition. This process will help you find the massage school that is the best fit for your life and career goals.