Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

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ChrisS
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Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by ChrisS » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:20 am

Hello all,
Recently I've been considering a career change into MT. There are some very specific concerns I have about joining the field, not all related to being a man. As you've undoubtedly guessed, false accusations are a primary concern. How exactly does one reasonably protect themselves from such a scenario?

A more short tem concern is choosing the right school. I know schools may have x accredidation, but that does not necessarily translate into quality eductation. I live near Austin, TX if anyone has a recommendation from personal knowledge. What exactly should I look for in a school? I don't want to waste my time and money on something that will not benefit me.

Final question(for now)-I primarily plan on starting my own private practice. For someone who's new to the field, is it wise to attempt a private practice without working at an established business first? I plan on remaining in my day job until I can at least replace that income, but with my concern of false accusations the thought of doing house calls make me a little apprehensive.

Any pointers from you guys are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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squash_blsm
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by squash_blsm » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:48 am

While I don't think that your first question should form the basis for whether or not you enter the field, I do think that you can very easily avoid problems.

Do not ever behave inappropriately. EVER.
Do not say or do anything that violates professional boundaries. EVER

Honestly - FAR more female massage therapists put up with inappropriate behavior from male "clients", than male therapist have been falsely accused by a female client. Although I do acknowledge that it could occur.

From what I have seen many, if not most, reported incidents of impropriety are based on actual occurences and not false accusations.

If your intent is to be respectful of your client then you will make it a top priority to remain professional. If you think that this might be a problem for you...that you might be tempted to cross the line, then I would suggest that you reconsider the idea.

If you think that being a massage therapist is an easy way to make money, you should also reconsider.

If you have received massage and bodywork and have benefitted by it and would love to bring this work to others then you are probably a good candidate to enter massage school!

Second part of question...

I feel that most massage therapists make a mistake in trying to go into business right after school.
Unless extremely talented, most new graduates do not have the experience and advanced training necessary to get and KEEP clientele.
It's great to get your feet wet and refine your skills by working for a center that can do the hard work of marketing.
Male therapists can sometimes have a hard time finding employment - so are almost forced to open their own business. In any case it is good to have a specialty - a modality that you can be passionate about.
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ChrisS
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by ChrisS » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:46 am

Thank you very much for responding. I've enjoyed reading through some of the input of the guys here.

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levlhed
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by levlhed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:53 am

The idea of switching careers to MT has been on my mind lately. My family (wife and 2 kids) gets massages once a month. My wife and I also do yoga once a week (or so). It's been good. I'm reaching the big Four O next year and my general health and well being is becoming more of a concern. I've been trying to develop a lifestyle that is more healthy (not that I'm particularly unhealthy now!)

Lately I've come to the realization that the job I've had for the past two years isn't actually satisfying! Great boss, great people, great location, great pay. But I don't feel fulfilled. I sit in an office all day with a phone and a computer. I need to do something. At first this job was great, such a change from the more manual labor-type dead-end jobs I've had...but lately I've had a really hard time staying motivated to do what is expected of me. Maybe I just need to get out of sales in general? I don't know. I guess I'm still trying to figure things out.

I've been thinking about making a change and I think I could make a great MT. I have a very calming aura (so I've been told) and I've got a very natural listening ability that I think translates into being generally receptive and in tune with what is bothering people. Is this the kind of thing that plays into being a good MT? Seems like it to me, but I'll be the first to say I probably don't know what I'm talking about.


I joined this forum specifically because of this male-specific subforum. I hope to read some more and get a better grasp on the issues surrounding being a male message therapist.
Thank you

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JasonE
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by JasonE » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:14 pm

levlhed wrote:The idea of switching careers to MT has been on my mind lately. My family (wife and 2 kids) gets massages once a month. My wife and I also do yoga once a week (or so). It's been good. I'm reaching the big Four O next year and my general health and well being is becoming more of a concern. I've been trying to develop a lifestyle that is more healthy (not that I'm particularly unhealthy now!)

Lately I've come to the realization that the job I've had for the past two years isn't actually satisfying! Great boss, great people, great location, great pay. But I don't feel fulfilled. I sit in an office all day with a phone and a computer. I need to do something. At first this job was great, such a change from the more manual labor-type dead-end jobs I've had...but lately I've had a really hard time staying motivated to do what is expected of me. Maybe I just need to get out of sales in general? I don't know. I guess I'm still trying to figure things out.

I've been thinking about making a change and I think I could make a great MT. I have a very calming aura (so I've been told) and I've got a very natural listening ability that I think translates into being generally receptive and in tune with what is bothering people. Is this the kind of thing that plays into being a good MT? Seems like it to me, but I'll be the first to say I probably don't know what I'm talking about.


I joined this forum specifically because of this male-specific subforum. I hope to read some more and get a better grasp on the issues surrounding being a male message therapist.
Thank you
Did you take my old job? Sounds like you are on a similar path to the one I walked. The traits you describe are strong assets for any massage therapist, and a sales background may make it easier for you to figure out how to build a clientele. The average age of people entering massage as a career is somewhere in the low-to-mid 40s, so you'll have plenty of peers.

One thing to consider: What kind of income do you need? Massage is not a particularly lucrative career, though some MTs manage to do well. Fresh out of school, your prospects will be very modest, nothing you could reasonably support a family with unless you have additional family income or other resources.

If you need to maintain your current job to support your family, consider what kind of school schedules are available to you and how you might make that work so you can continue to earn an income while obtaining the training you will need.

If you need to maintain your current job after graduating from massage school, is massage something you would be happy doing just part time until your financial needs change? Sometimes a "fun job" makes the "regular job" easier to appreciate/put up with.

Have you tried to give a massage? If so, how did you feel about the experience? If you found it frustrating and overall draining, consider that... but also consider making another attempt. YouTube has tons of free massage videos you can watch for ideas and basic techniques to experiment with. If you feel motivated to learn and do more, that's a good sign!

It sounds like you're in a good place to think this through and investigate your options. I went through that process years ago and have been much happier since, but this career isn't for everyone. Only you can figure out if this is what you really want to do at this time. If you go for it, I hope you love it as much as I do! :)
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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levlhed
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by levlhed » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:07 am

JasonE, thanks for the input. All of that is stuff I'm taking into consideration.
As for the pay, from what I can tell the average for full time MT isn't so far off from what I make now. I'm sure we could swing it.
We're a dual-income household. It's been awhile since I did the stay-at-home dad thing and we were (essentially) on one income...not sure we could make due like that anymore. I haven't figured out if we could make it happen on just her income (and my side income as a mobile DJ) while I went to school. I *might* be able to handle working the current job and going to school at the same time. The school is just a half hour away (Blue Sky in Grafton), but the start time for the classes would make for a very very long day having to leave right from work, no supper, straight to class. Plus I'm not so sure if I'd want my current employer to know I'm taking classes...
So, I don't really know yet how the "going to school" stage would work out.

I have done some message here and there. My wife and I exchange back rubs from time to time. I've done essentially a chair massage for friends a few times. Nothing too serious. I do dig digging into those knots and setting them free :) I haven't really done anything with the current mindset of "this is what I want to do for a living".

I have some interest in Yoga instruction too, but it doesn't seem like a person can make a living with that alone. The thought of combining both doesn't seem too outrageous, but that's a rather lofty goal considering the amount of time and study that'd be needed.

Lots of things to think about. I'm blessed to at least have what I have now. I'm not in some desperate situation that demands an answer and immediate action.

Thanks again for the input and encouragement.

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Snackdaddy
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by Snackdaddy » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Can I chime in? Male LMT, 44 years old, licensed for 16 years (took a two year break a few years back).

I've said for years that massage "is a cute little job for people who don't really NEED the money." I agree with the others who say that there are some males (and females) who do well enough with it, but they are the exceptions. The only way to make any real money is to be in management of a big, established location; or to be the owner of a real massage biz (and no, you having a portable table and some business cards does NOT count as a real biz).

I gotta tell ya in addition.... the story you tell of what is drawing you to massage is comparable to what a lot of practioners say. The stereotype is abundant: middle age gal, empty nest syndrome, married to a guy who makes big money, looking to work a little. She doesn't NEED the money. And she gets into massage for what IT can do for HER, not for what SHE can bring to IT. And when I get massages from that type, I can feel that crappy dynamic in their hands. I'm there to fill THEIR needs. But, alas, I'm the one parting with my cash. Nothing fries my butt more.

So, getting back on track..... I can't recommend doing massage to anyone as a primary wage-earning endeavor. If you can find a way of factoring it into other earnings endeavors, GREAT. Otherwise..... I dunno.
I'm Eric W., in AZ. "Snackdaddy" is too cryptic, but I don't know how to change it.

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levlhed
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by levlhed » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:36 pm

points taken, thank you for sharing your experience.

ChrisS
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by ChrisS » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 am

Thanks for adding to the discussion. A little more background, 27 yo, wife and 4 yo boy. I work as a 9-11 dispatcher currently and while there is reward in what I do it's far too draining emotionally/psychologically. I too have a lot of sales and networking experience, and always been told I have "good hands". I am also considering getting NASM-CPT,CES certs to strengthen my ability to help correct postural/kinetic chain issues.

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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by Taoist » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:45 am

Try reading this thread: http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 14&t=23061

It has a few more ideas on what to think about when you're deciding on a specific school.
"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want."
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JasonE
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by JasonE » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:21 pm

ChrisS wrote:Thanks for adding to the discussion. A little more background, 27 yo, wife and 4 yo boy. I work as a 9-11 dispatcher currently and while there is reward in what I do it's far too draining emotionally/psychologically. I too have a lot of sales and networking experience, and always been told I have "good hands". I am also considering getting NASM-CPT,CES certs to strengthen my ability to help correct postural/kinetic chain issues.
Just noticed the bolded part.

As a personal trainer, I do that kind of work. I don't have those particular certs (yet) but I have others and a hard-earned reputation for succeeding with those kinds of issues. That said, I recommend picking ONE: personal trainer OR massage therapist... and do just that one for 1-2 years before leaping into the other. This is because the two skill sets are complementary but not at all the same, and if you are new to both you will be easily overwhelmed and confused by conflicting priorities.

Choose one and become reasonably competent. At that point it will be much easier for you to add the other credential and understand how to engage in that line of work. However, you may not be able to provide both types of services in a single venue. Personal trainer stuff is outside the scope of practice of a massage therapist, and vice versa. Blurring the boundaries between them is dangerous because it can begin to seem as if you are acting as a physical therapist (combining manual therapies with exercise programming). You also have to be very clear about not evaluating/assessing to the point of diagnosing. This is a very fine line indeed.

If you are intent on combining these things into a single job, consider becoming a certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). There is only ONE credential for ATCs, and they are key members of sports medicine teams in athletic organizations.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer
http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

Internet forums are like going to the zoo; if you get enough monkeys together, sooner or later someone will start throwing their poo.

Alcoholic4200
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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by Alcoholic4200 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:42 pm

Just to chime in, I was a plumber an a hvac installer my whole adult life . I needed a chane an massage was the cheapest and quickest way to a new career. I love it. I work for massage envy and I make about 35 thousand a year. Is it the greatest job? No but I make a decent amount of money and I can do things the way I want and I do (within boundaries of course) in that room. No one can tell me how to do my massage or judge me beside the client and that's what I like. Being a male therapist be prepared for descriminatoon and a tough go at first. But you'll beak through build up a clientele and it's all worth it. I recommend it and I also recommend massage envy to start its a great place to get your hands on people and learn. I've done over 2,000 massages my first two years and learned a manure ton good luck

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Re: Seriously considering a career change(into MT)

Post by SoCal_MT » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:47 pm

Alcoholic4200 wrote:I recommend it and I also recommend massage envy to start its a great place to get your hands on people and learn. I've done over 2,000 massages my first two years and learned a manure ton good luck
That's great that you've had as much success as you've had as a male massage therapist at Massage Envy. The impression I've gotten from colleagues of mine was that the pay was so low at ME that therapists would have to give well over 1,000 "one hour" massages a year to earn more than 30K.

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