There are a number of things which should be considered when selecting a massage therapy school, including the type of massage training a school offers, the duration of its program, and the school's reputation. By carefully thinking about these issues ahead of time, students can select schools which are best suited to their needs, and they will have a more rewarding experience in massage therapy school. Like other schools which offer technical and trade training, massage school should be thought of as an investment which requires careful research.
Before starting to look for massage therapy schools, prospective students should think about what kind of massage they want to do. Experience with massage helps, as people can personally experience different styles and get an idea of what they feel like. Students may also want to think about cross-training in several techniques. For example, knowing how to do basic Swedish and deep tissue massage is very helpful, but more clients will be available if a student learns another modality, such as Thai massage, lomi-lomi, watsu, or warm stone massage. Students may also want to think about whether or not they are interested in adding energy work to their massage practice, as this will also influence their choice of school.
After thinking about techniques and modalities, students should also think about where they want to practice massage. Different regions have different training requirements, ranging from a few hundred hours to over a thousand, and students should make sure that they will have adequate training to perform massage legally in the area where they want to work. Students may also want to consider whether they want to work for spas, run a massage therapy practice out of an office or clinic, or travel to private homes, hotel rooms, and other sites for massage.
Once a student has determined how much training is required and which massage techniques he or she wants to learn, it is time to start looking up massage schools to find a good fit. A great resource for massage schools is practicing massage therapists; if someone has a good massage, he or she should ask where the therapist trained. Professional massage organizations are another research, as are trade publications.
Ideally, a student should have a list of massage therapy schools with philosophies and lists of course offerings which seem like a good fit which he or she can then narrow down to find a good candidate. One consideration to think about is the length and intensity of the program; would a student prefer to dedicate a full year just to massage training, for example, or would a weekend program which allows the student to work during the week and get massage training on the weekends be more suitable? The site of the program is also something to think about; a massage therapy school may be more enjoyable if it is in a pleasant or interesting location which allows the student to have some fun when he or she has time off.
Cost may be another factor which should be considered when looking at a massage therapy school. Training can be expensive, and students may not have the funds readily available. Some schools offer financial aid such as grants and loans, and others may offer work-trade so that students can work off part of their tuition. Job placement is also a service which people may be interested in. If a massage therapy school offers job placement services, it means that graduates could potentially get work as soon as they are certified, rather than having to search for employment.