Wednesday, February 8, 2017
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Why moms are going back to school for massage therapy.jpg

In today’s society, new moms are returning to the workforce sooner than ever before, and dual-income families have become the norm.

For some women, having a family means starting a new career. Whether that’s because a current job has inflexible hours or minimal pay, many go on to find success in a new career later in life. That may sound intimidating at first, but it’s much more feasible than you might think.

Massage therapy is one educational option that can be completed despite already having a full-time job or a busy schedule. In fact, 82 percent of massage therapists started practice as a second career, according to the latest survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Once certified, massage therapists immediately begin to reap the benefits.

Convenient part-time classes are offered for many massage therapy programs. 

With part-time classes in the evening, it is possible to fit massage therapy training into a busy schedule and to complete the program in just one year. Throughout that time, the massage therapy curriculum keeps students engaged through a balance of lectures and hands-on training.

Despite its quick pace, classes at National University of Health Sciences provide a solid grounding in anatomy and physiology. The program includes the study of massage theory and history and offers extensive training in clinical massage as well as business practices and ethics. Students are well prepared for immediate work in any health care setting or for self-employment.

Flexible work hours provide better work/life balance for massage therapists.

After completing the program, many massage therapists have flexible work hours and create their own schedules. Some therapists work out of a clinic or travel to clients’ homes, and others even travel to office buildings to provide chair massage. This flexibility allows massage therapists to have a better balance between work and family life.

In fact, most massage therapists only work an average of 20 hours per week while charging hourly rates. There are only a few other career options that allow this kind of flexibility and even fewer that pay well.

Enjoy competitive compensation and job security as a massage therapist.

Massage therapists can typically expect well-paid careers. Their average wage is about $47 per hour including tips, according to the AMTA’s industry fact sheet.

Massage therapy is also a growing industry that can provide job security. By 2024, massage therapy employment is expected to increase by 22 percent — more than triple the overall job growth of 7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There is no shortage of potential clients either. Between July 2014 and July 2015, over 39 million Americans received a massage, according to AMTA. Because massage therapy can treat a number of conditions beyond relaxation, a massage therapist’s client base can be very diverse. Some conditions that are treated by massage include low back pain, neck pain, headaches, cancer-related fatigue, high blood pressure, and surgical pain. In fact, AMTA reports that about 52 percent of Americans who received a massage did so for medical or health reasons.

Expansive job opportunities allow for a variety of work settings.

The many health benefits of massage means that there are expanding career options that go beyond salon or spa settings. Massage therapists can also find work in hospitals, private medical practice, and various other health care settings.

For example, of all the specialists working with chiropractic physicians, 43 percent are massage therapists, according to the latest survey conducted by Chiropractic Economics. The survey also reported that about half of the treatment procedures provided at chiropractic clinics include massage therapy.

Working in a health care facility can be challenging and intensive, but this type of work is rewarding as well. For example, while patients undergo other health care treatments, massage therapists may be able to improve their experience by decreasing stress and anxiety, leading to better sleep and an improved healing process.

The satisfaction of helping people, the flexible work schedule, and the variety of work environments makes massage therapy a rewarding career choice for moms who are interested in earning a new source of income.

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Posted by Jerrilyn Cambron

Jerrilyn Cambron, DC, MPH, PhD, LMT, is the Chair of the College of Allied Health Sciences and Distance Education and a professor in the Department of Research at National University of Health Sciences. She is president of the Massage Therapy Foundation and founder and principal investigator of MassageNet.org (a practice-based research network for massage therapists). Dr. Cambron received her DC degree from National University and her Master in Public Health and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed a certification program in massage therapy at National University in 2006.