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Become a Massage Therapist | Massage Therapy Schools Stevensville MT

How to Pick a Massage Therapist Program near Stevensville MT

massage therapy session in Stevensville MTSelecting the right massage therapy school near Stevensville MT is an important first step to beginning a rewarding first or second career as a massage therapist.  After all, who wouldn’t want to work in an occupation where the sole purpose is to help people feel and function better?  Massage therapists can work in a wide variety of locations, including hospitals, day spas, health clubs and even aboard cruise ships!  But before starting a career in this specialty of holistic healthcare, receiving the proper training and licensing is a must.  And keep in mind that not all massage therapy programs are alike.  When making your evaluations, it’s important that you look at all aspects of the schools you are considering and not just the cost or convenience of the locations.  We will provide some basic tips that you should incorporate into your due diligence process when selecting a massage therapist school.

What is a Massage Therapist?

As mentioned in the introduction, massage therapy is a holistic form of healthcare in Stevensville MT that helps people feel and function better. The massage therapist manipulates skin, muscles and tissue to reduce stress and relieve tension and pain in their patients.  Swedish, or Classic Massage, is the type of massage that most people think of when discussing massage therapy, and most massage therapy schools teach it as their primary form of massage.  However, there are many other types of massage that programs may or may not include within their course of instruction.  Following are just a few examples.

  • Neuromuscular Therapy Massage
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Shiatsu Massage
  • Thai Massage
  • Hot Stone Massage
  • Pregnancy Massage

Professionals that work in massage therapy in Stevensville MT should be referred to as massage therapists. From time to time one may hear them called a masseuse or a masseur, which refers to a female or a male massage practitioner. However, these terms generally carry a negative connotation among the general public and professionals alike and should be avoided.

Massage Therapy Education Requirements

Stevensville MT massage therapy school studentMost schools offering massage therapy require that the enrollee have a high school diploma or its equivalent to qualify. Programs can range in length from several months for a Certificate or a Diploma to as long as two years for an Associate’s Degree.  The lengths of the programs will also vary by State based on the number of hours required for licensing.  Another factor that may also influence the program length is whether classes are offered in Stevensville MT during the day or in the evening.  Also, an Associate Degree in Massage Therapy may have general education requirements and are often transferable into a related Bachelor’s Degree Program.  Once you have received your Certificate or Degree, the education does not end there. The amount and type of continuing education you will need to complete will depend on the State where you are licensed.  Some states require both a certain number of hours of continuing education as well as specific education in subjects such as HIPAA compliance or ethics.

Massage Therapist Licensing

Once you have graduated from an accredited massage therapy school, you will then need to become licensed in the State where you will be practicing.  The Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), is a test controlled and administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) and is required by most States as part of the licensing process.  Some States have their own or additional exams, so check with your State prior to enrolling in a massage therapy program.  If you do not pass the MBLEx in the first attempt, you can take it again after 30 days but must pay an additional exam fee.  Once licensed, you will need to maintain it in most states, which means paying a renewal fee and satisfying renewal requirements.  As previously mentioned, renewal typically requires a certain number of hours of continuing education be completed.  And if you should move to another State, you will need to get licensed in that new State as well. Every State regulates massage therapy differently, so it is not safe to assume that you will automatically qualify for licensing. Check with your new State before moving to confirm that you meet the requirements to legally practice there.

What to Ask Massage Therapist Schools

therapeutic foot massage in Stevensville MTBefore you pick a massage therapist school, there are some important questions that you need to ask about the programs you are considering.  As previously mentioned, the location of the school is important, particularly if you will be commuting to classes from Stevensville MT. And of course the total cost, including tuition, books and all training materials will also be an important factor.  But beyond those basic qualifications, following are some questions you should ask so that you have all of the facts before selecting a massage therapy degree program.

  • Is the School Accredited? Accreditation may be required for licensing as well as student loans or financial aid. It also helps to ensure that the program meets acceptable levels of quality.  Some Stevensville MT employers also prefer job candidates from accredited schools.
  • Does their Curriculum Comply with EALP Standards? Entry-Level Analysis Project (EALP) standards were created by an association of massage organizations to define minimum standards for preparing massage school graduates for entry-level professional work.
  • What Massage Therapy Programs are Available? Find out if the type of program you are interested in is available, such as an Associate Degree in Massage Therapy. Also, if you need to attend evening classes near Stevensville MT make sure that they are offered as well.
  • What Types of Massage Therapy are Taught? As previously mentioned, most massage therapy schools teach Swedish Massage. However, the better programs include multiple types of massage therapy.  Make sure that the program you choose includes those you are most interested in.
  • Is Financial Aid Available? To qualify for federal financial aid or a student loan, the school will need to be accredited by a national accrediting organization.  Find out from the schools you are considering what they offer in aid or if they assist students in obtaining funding from other sources.
  • How Long has the School Existed? One indication that a school provides a quality education is longevity.  However, all schools had to start from day one, and many fine schools are relatively new.  So use this as one of several qualifications when comparing schools.
  • Does the School have a Job Placement Program? Find out if the schools have job placement programs and what their placement rates are.  Ask if they assist with such skills as how to interview for a position and how to prepare a resume.
  • Is Plenty of Hands-On Training Provided? This includes classroom training as well as placement in internship programs.  The best massage therapy schools make sure that students have plenty of time to practice what they learn so they can develop their skills and be corrected when necessary.
  • What is the Background of the Faculty? Find out what the experience and credentials are of the teaching faculty.  Speaking with schools’ faculty in person can also provide valuable information. Before applying, arrange to take a tour of the school and talk with staff members and students if permissible. Schools may also have Open House events for prospective students.

Looking for Massage Therapy Schools Near Stevensville MT?

Perhaps you live near Stevensville Montana or will commute to a massage therapist program in that area.  Either way, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school  both interesting and informative.

Stevensville, Montana

Stevensville is officially recognized as the first permanent settlement in the state of Montana. Forty-eight years before Montana became the nation's 41st state, Stevensville was settled by Jesuit Missionaries at the request of the Bitter Root Salish Amerindians.

Through interactions with Iroquois working in the fur trade between 1812 and 1820, the Bitter Root Salish learned about Christianity and Jesuit missionaries (the Blackrobes as they were called) that worked with Native Americans teaching about agriculture, medicine, and religion. Interest in these "blackrobes" grew among the Salish and, in 1831, four young Salish men were dispatched to St. Louis, Missouri to request a priest to return with them to their homeland of present-day Stevensville. The four Salish men were directed to the home and office of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) to make their request. At that time Clark was in charge of administering the territory they called home. Through the perils of their trip two of the Salish died at the home of General Clark. The remaining two Salish men secured a visit with St. Louis Bishop Joseph Rosati who assured them that missionaries would be sent to the Bitter Root Valley when funds and missionaries were available in the future.

Again in 1835 and 1837 the Bitter Root Salish dispatched men to St. Louis to request missionaries but to no avail. Finally in 1839 a group of Iroquois and Salish met Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet in Council Bluffs. The meeting resulted in Fr. DeSmet promising to fulfill their request for a missionary the following year.

Pick the Right Massage Therapy School near Stevensville MT

Good luck as you embark on your journey to begin a career as a professional massage therapist.  As with all things worth achieving, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed.  And by following the suggestions contained within this article, you will have an excellent opportunity for success by choosing the right school and training program.  With the right education you will soon become a professional massage therapist servicing the Stevensville Montana area.

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