Open House… So You Want to be a Massage Therapist?!

The Institute for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (ITMB) is offering an OPEN HOUSE for the 2018-2019 Massage Training Program. Bring a friend and visit our next open house on Thursday, May 10th 2018 from 7pm-8pm.( ITMB Massage School: 136 Commons Ct., Chadds Ford PA 19317) There will be an opportunity for you to see the school, meet some instructors and get all your questions answered. Our NEXT  600hr. Massage Therapy Training Program begins Monday, OCTOBER 1st, 2018 at its Chadds Ford location. The upcoming class is open to 14 students interested in the day or evening program.  Please RSVP to Open House with number of guest you may be bringing. Children are always welcome to attend with their parents. OR… call Michael for more details. 610-358-5800

Our holistic approach to massage therapy prepares students to become a Licensed Massage Therapist by providing comprehensive hands-on training, life changing personal health & wellness programs, focused attention and support with senior teachers. Our program prepares students for taking the Pennsylvania State Licensing Exam (MBLEx). Our training program qualifies students to receive their massage license in Delaware as well. Our students currently have a 100% pass rate on their first try!

Those interested in exploring their options in Massage Therapy should plan on attending the open house to meet our experienced faculty, have all your questions answered and get a feeling for our intentional space. If you can’t make the open house, call now to set up a private tour. We will be happy to meet with you and share details about our program, educational approach and financial opportunities available.

Location: 136 Commons Court, Chadds Ford PA 19317. For more information, call Michael Padgett at 610-358-5800.

Massage Therapy may or may not be for everyone. The staff at ITMB want you to make a conscious, thoughtful decision when deciding if massage school is right for you. We want you to have as many facts as possible before your invest your money, your time, and your self into becoming a massage therapist.

Our intention is to help all potential massage students decide if massage therapy is right for them, and to help them find the right educational environment. Regardless of where you may go, and what school you attend, we want you to be as prepared as possible!

If you are considering a career in Massage Therapy, ask yourself these questions:

1) Should I become a Massage Therapist?

  • Are you physically able to perform the work? Massage and Bodywork can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Are you prepared for that challenge?
  • Are you ready to work with people? As a massage therapist, you are part of the healthcare service industry in a role that will put in in direct contact with the public. You really need to have a good sense of who you are, and how to deal with any challenging situation that arises.
  • Do you enjoy helping others? Compassion is one thing, but do you really like assisting people through challenges?
  • Are you a good communicator? Massage and Bodywork are about communication; verbally between the client and the therapist, and tactically between the body and your hands. You need to be able to listen and to hear, and be able to react confidently.
  • Do you have an interest in science? The core of Massage and Bodywork is a solid base of Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Pathology, and a critical understanding of energy. That’s all science, and it can be intimidating to some people.
  • Do you get massage/how often? The best Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers are aficionados of manual and energetic experiences. You would never become a sushi chef if you didn’t like seafood…
  • Do you love massage? Do you have a passion for Massage and Bodywork? Is this your calling? Are you willing to devote yourself to learning?

2) Where can I get this knowledge and skill? Make a list of potential massage schools.

  • Look at their websites.  Scrub them for information. If they do not have the information you need, what are they not telling you?
  • Give them a call and ask some questions. Ask questions! If you  are directed to a recruiter or business person in an office, ask if you can speak to an instructor. Get all of the information you can – don’t fall for “you can get the information you seek if you come in for an interview.” Ask why they can’t give you the information you seek over the phone!
  • Visit the schools, interview, ask more questions. Watch for responses! DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! Visit – see the facilities, meet the instructors, ask questions! Get a massage in their student clinic  (if that’s an option). Talk to the student doing your massage. Evaluate the school, just as they should be evaluating you!
  • Walk away and then make your decision. Sleep on it. Reflect on the information you gathered and evaluate how the school will help you meet your goals in Massage and Bodywork. This process is about you – not them! If you feel funny about committing, then don’t. Tell them that you need time to think. Strong arming is not a technique used in enrolling in a great massage school!

3) How much does it cost? Tuition is an important consideration.

  • You want to know the cost. There should be one price.
    • If not listed on their website, ask why not. Ours is here.
    • Surely they will tell you when you call. If they do not this is a big red flag. “The cost varies for each campus” is one of the answers that is given (over the phone), and they will not give a straight answer to exactly why.
  • You also want to know what is included.
    • Are they including a massage table package? What brand is it? Some schools make huge amounts of non-tuition income selling products at a significantly marked up price. Just be aware!
    • Are there extra fees for books, supplies, required clothing or anything else? ITMB’s fees are here.

4) Financial Options, what are they?

  • Does the school offer Financial Aid? Do you really want to graduate with student debt? See our section on Financial Aid here.
  • Does the school offer a payment plan?
  • Is there a discount if you pay upfront?
  • Are there scholarships/grants available?
  • What are your financial resources?

Other Tips and Words of Wisdom…

  • Don’t fall for a scam. There are no guarantees for scholarships or grants. You have to apply and see if you receive it. There should be no fees to apply for financial aid or scholarships, nor should there be “release fees” or “search fees.”
  • Accept help if your family or friends offer it.
  • Don’t quit your day job. Massage and Bodywork is mostly entrepreneurial. Franchises are out there, but they do not have stellar track records with treating employees well, or paying living wages. Transitioning in to a massage therapy job that you love is better than working under the stress of having to make ends meet straight through school.
  • Create a self-investment plan to prepare for your future.
  • Don’t let school debt become a budget item for your future. Do you really want to graduate with student debt?
  • The best thing that could happen and the worst thing that could happen, rarely do.  Don’t freak out!

Don’t get into it for the money!

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Standards reports median average annual income for massage therapists to be $40,400, including gratuities (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013). This figure is very different from ABMP’s reported median of $15,750 and AMTA’s reported a median of $21,871.

The bureau derives their number by gathering data showing a mean hourly wage of $17.27 for massage therapists, then multiplying it based on a 40-hour working week—a workload which does not reflect the reality of the massage profession. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Standards does not include self-employed workers in its data, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of U.S. massage therapy practitioners are self-employed. They currently list 79,040 employed Massage Therapists in their database.

An Example of a self employed Massage Therapist for comparison; For example: If you start out charging $60 per hour and do 5 appointments a day in your office, 5 days a week, 48 weeks out of the year.

$60 x 5 = $300 x 5 = $1500 x 48 = $72,000

This may vary because you will likely not get 5 appointments a day from the beginning and your prices may vary or you may choose to do home visits and do less appointments for larger fees.

About Curriculum

There is a base of required curriculum hours for all massage schools in Pennsylvania. The difference is what they do with them. What they include may be as important to you as how they teach and who is teaching.

Think about what you want to learn, if there are any areas you are already interested in focusing in and what is important to you for your educational process. So ask about each schools curriculum and what is being in-cluded in it besides anatomy and basic massage. Ask if the school has a focus in a particular area.

  • What is the school culture like?
  • What are the main beliefs and philosophies?
  • What does the school focus on?

Note: This question is meant to reveal whether the school’s philosophies and beliefs match yours.

If they don’t, you may want to consider another school.

Success Strategies

Ask the school where their graduates are practicing.  If a school is providing Massage Therapists to one business or chain, or is promising you a job in an exotic environment, does that seem too good to be true? Do they guarantee lifetime job placement? Doesn’t that seem a bit sketchy?

What is the pass rate for the national exams (MBLEX & NCTMB)? As of November 1, 2014, the NCTMB and NCTEM are no longer offered to Massage School Graduates straight our of school, but the school should have that data available. Ask, it will not be painful. These are basic competency exams designed for the ability to gain licensure – not advanced certifications. That percentage is not just a reflection of the graduates, it is a reflection of the instructors and the program as well.

How many of their graduates are practicing three and five years post graduation? And where? Currently, the chance that a massage therapist stays in the massage therapy profession (even part time) is under five years. That is a sad fact. A school worth your time and fiscal investment should prepare their students with conscious business training, on top of the skills necessary to ‘make it’ in the massage therapy profession – unless of course they are more focused on graduating volume over quality. That is the hallmark of the massage education industry, not education to promote the evolution and longevity of the profession.

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