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Sandy's speaking at the
World Massage Festival. For
more information visit
www.worldmassagefestival.com

Check it out!!

Massage expert, Sandy Fritz, helps you choose a massage school to suit your massage career. First, let's look at the definition of quality that we
would use in this situation.  In this aspect quality is an exceptional product, service, etc. So if you want a career that will allow you to do 6 to 8
massages in one day, don' t choose mediocre. Choose exceptional! Now, lets move on to verifying the credentials.

1. Verify the credential of the school's owner, operator. Do your research and ask for references. Are the
credentials exceptional?

Remember this when choosing a school—an EXCELLENT REPUTATION IS BEST HEARD FROM SOMEONE WHO WENT TO THE SCHOOL,  WHO
HAS WORKED AS A MASSAGE THERAPIST AND WILL REFER AND/OR RECOMMEND A SCHOOL. The school should also have been offering
education for over 10 years. These last two are the most important things to consider.
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2. Instructing Staff
  • Should have graduated from a quality massage therapy school.
  • A very large majority of the instructors should be  licensed or nationally certified by the national certification board for erapeutic massage (or both).
  • A member in good standing with either the American Massage Therapy Association or the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals.
  • Been in professional practice for at least 3 years - 5 years is better and currently working in the field.
  • Have obtained at least 50 hours of continuing eduction each year after graduation.
  • Specific training in instructional strategies.
LICENSING AND ACCREDITATION

The next is licensing and accreditation.
Licensing for schools is provided by the
department of education in the state. Even if
the state does not license massage therapists it
WILL license the schools. ASK TO SEE THE
CURRENT LICENSE.  
Michigan is in the
process of licensing for massage therapy.
Accreditation is a volunteer process of
oversight to make sure that the student is
taken care of as the primary focus. ASK FOR
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE
ACCREDITING BODY. CHECK OUT THE
SCHOOL.

Here are the accrediting agencies that accredit
massage programs.

Nationally based on their web sites
The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools
and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
At the time that I wrote this about 115 massage
programs were accredited through them. They
are the largest, oldest and probably the most
comprehensive organization.

Commission on Massage Training and
Accreditation
Accredits about 65 programs. This body
accredited only single program massage schools
or the program in a school that has
accreditation form some other body such as
community colleges.

Accrediting Council for Continuing Education &
Training (ACCET). As I write this, ACCET has
about 30 massage programs accredited.

The National Accrediting Commission of
Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) is
also authorized to accredit massage programs
even though they are more specifically oriented
to cosmetology. It was not easily identified how
many school have massage programs.
SCHOOL VISIT

Always go to the school for a visit.

Ask to observe a class.

The owner, program director or head
instructor should be available to speak with
you in person or on the phone.

Never enroll on the spot - wait at least 24
hours.

Comparison shop - but compare apples with
apples. Make sure the school is offering a
program based on the requirements provided or
you here.  More Info

Ask to see enrollment numbers, graduation
numbers and placement statistics for the
three most current years. If the graduation
numbers are less than 70% of the enrollment–
be careful—why are so many students
dropping. This should be a huge red flag.

Placement rates are also a good indication of a
quality school but they can be misleading. Some
schools have deals for short-term placement
after graduation but the graduate only works a
few weeks. This still counts as a placement so
be careful.
 

SCHOOL SIZE

These recommendations are kind of like too
little, too big and just right.

like a good choice but this small of a program
typically has limited resources program typically
has limited resources and may have financial
stability issues, this could really become a
problem if you want a refund but they don’t have
the funds to give it to you.
give it to you.


The same occurs with huge schools - over 100
enrolled. You will get lost in the crowd and
sometimes these big schools are too money
focused.  

Just right is somewhere around 25-50 students.
This number of students provides enough
financial stability for the program but does not  
indicate “just in the business for the money”.
Education is a business but it is also a path of
service. You want a financially stable and
profitable school but you also want a school who
knows who you are and is able to offer you a
variety of experiences during your learning.

Pass rates for licensing or certification exams
should be at 80% or above.
Curriculum -
Information presented in most educational curriculum's and information required to
function as a massage professional can be divided into four areas. These categories form
the basis of most licensing and certifying examinations.
The four categories are the following:
•        Human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology
•        Clinical pathology and indications and contraindications for massage application
•        Massage therapy and bodywork
•        Professional standards, ethics, and business practices

1.        Human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology
The general education in human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology prepares the student to understand the benefits of massage
and lays the foundation for the following area.

2.        Clinical pathology and indications and contraindications for massage application
Human anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, clinical pathology, and indications and contraindications for massage application cover half
of the content on most exams. The focus is to provide sufficient information to support safe and beneficial professional practice.

Usually these two categories are studied most effectively in an integrated format. For example, discussion of the anatomy of
the nervous system leads to understanding the functions of the nervous system. Subsequently, understanding how massage
affects the nervous system leads to identification of indications for massage and the nervous system, pathologic conditions of
the nervous system, and contraindications for applications of massage, including cautions for use of massage when pathologic
conditions are present.

Many find the sciences a more difficult study area. The terminology can seem overwhelming—almost like learning another
language. If we can agree that the various methods and theoretical base of the many different bodywork modalities provide
diversity, then the sciences provide commonality. The human body in structure and function remains consistent; therefore it
makes sense that an understanding of the sciences is essential and relevant to massage.

Non-Western science content is focused primarily on traditional Chinese medicine but also covers other energy systems such as
shiatsu, polarity therapy, and Ayurveda.

3. Massage therapy and bodywork: theory and application

Competency in this area indicates that the massage professional is able to appropriately apply methods in a safe and beneficial
way. A commonality exists in most bodywork approaches. The content in this area covers methods used to obtain a database about
the client and proper methods usage.


In addition to therapeutic massage, general knowledge about complementary bodywork modalities such as hydrotherapy, Asian
theory, and applications such as acupressure, trigger points, and connective tissue massage often is measured.

4. Professional ethics and business practices

The professional standards, ethics, and business practices area develops the professional abilities needed to conduct oneself in a
manner that reflects decision making to support ethical standards and sound business practices.
MASSAGE THERAPY EXPERT AND AUTHOR PROVIDES GUIDELINES FOR CHOOSING A QUALITY    
THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE EDUCATION