Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

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Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby Lulla on Thu May 24, 2012 3:48 pm

Hello folks of BodyworkOnline,

I am really new here, as this is my first post outside of the Introductions section. I have very little knowledge of massage and its applications, but I hope to obtain some in my time here.

A bit of a background on myself:
I'm an 18 year old male who is just finishing up his last days of high school. In the past I've been very noncommittal when it came to choosing a career. I've considered many occupations, but a common factor in all of them has been working one on one with people. Before this year, I had pretty much decided on becoming a clinical psychologist. However, with the large amount of money and time needed for an appropriate degree (6+ years for a Doctorate, on average $140,000 in tuition), I have been looking elsewhere to fulfill my interest in helping people. That's when I started considering becoming an MT........


Basically I'm interested in becoming a massage therapist because it doesn't require too much education and I feel like it's something I could be passionate about. I don't know a lot about the field though, so here are where my questions come in.

• How does the general job market for male massage therapists look? I've heard being a male in this field is a big disadvantage.
• What are some qualities of a good massage therapist?
• Are there any reading materials on the basics of massage that you would specifically recommend?
• Is arthritis a long term health risk I should worry about? (now I'm just starting to sound paranoid)
• Finally, I have a pretty good state lottery scholarship that I got for good grades, but I can only use it at certain schools. One school that my scholarship is eligible at is Trident Technical College. Here is the link to the course informartion. How does it look to you guys? If I go there, the entire program will be covered and all I'll have to pay for is textbooks.


Thanks for any input on my situation that you have. I'm really looking for some good encouragement, because I feel like this would be a great job for me
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby JasonE on Thu May 24, 2012 8:49 pm

Lulla wrote:Hello folks of BodyworkOnline,

I am really new here, as this is my first post outside of the Introductions section. I have very little knowledge of massage and its applications, but I hope to obtain some in my time here.

A bit of a background on myself:
I'm an 18 year old male who is just finishing up his last days of high school. In the past I've been very noncommittal when it came to choosing a career. I've considered many occupations, but a common factor in all of them has been working one on one with people. Before this year, I had pretty much decided on becoming a clinical psychologist. However, with the large amount of money and time needed for an appropriate degree (6+ years for a Doctorate, on average $140,000 in tuition), I have been looking elsewhere to fulfill my interest in helping people. That's when I started considering becoming an MT........


Basically I'm interested in becoming a massage therapist because it doesn't require too much education and I feel like it's something I could be passionate about. I don't know a lot about the field though, so here are where my questions come in.

• How does the general job market for male massage therapists look? I've heard being a male in this field is a big disadvantage.
• What are some qualities of a good massage therapist?
• Are there any reading materials on the basics of massage that you would specifically recommend?
• Is arthritis a long term health risk I should worry about? (now I'm just starting to sound paranoid)
• Finally, I have a pretty good state lottery scholarship that I got for good grades, but I can only use it at certain schools. One school that my scholarship is eligible at is Trident Technical College. Here is the link to the course informartion. How does it look to you guys? If I go there, the entire program will be covered and all I'll have to pay for is textbooks.


Thanks for any input on my situation that you have. I'm really looking for some good encouragement, because I feel like this would be a great job for me


Hi Lulla,

You are asking some good questions and have some interesting choices ahead of you.

First, while 6+ years of school and $140,000 in tuition seems like a lot at your age, as a clinical psychologist your potential income is far greater than most massage therapists will ever earn. That is a good profession full of opportunities to help people, and having a scholarship (even a limited one) to get you started is a real blessing. If you truly are interested in that profession, it might be incredibly rewarding to pursue it.

You are very fortunate to be self-aware about your preference for working one-on-one, helping people in some fashion. There are many careers that offer satisfaction of that type, including all kinds of physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, nutritionists, optometrists, massage therapists, opticians, counselors, etcetera, etcetera... :) Whatever path you start on, know that you can always choose to change paths later.

Now, regarding your interest in becoming a massage therapist:

First, the level of education required varies depending on where you practice. Some areas literally require no formal training, while others (in the USA) require 1000+ hours. In other countries, I have heard of requirements in excess of 3000+ hours of formal training. So, one thing I recommend is to think about where you might want to practice massage therapy later, and get the kind of education you will need for that. "Too much" education is always better than "not enough". Also, most massage schools barely cover the most essential basics and a few extra things for variety. Many, many MTs take continuing education classes to improve on what they learned in massage school, sometimes spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per class. So, the initial education is minimal, but you may end up taking more classes for the duration of your massage career. The fun part is that there are tons of different things you may choose to study, and you can pick whatever you want. :grin:

Have you received any massages from professionals? If not, I strongly recommend it. Go to a couple of different types of massage places and see how different they are. Also, receiving the work is a critical part of learning. If you try it and don't really care for it, this might not be the profession for you. BUT, if you try it and love it, you will have a greater appreciation for what you would learn to do.

To learn about the profession as a whole, I suggest that you start with the 2012 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet made available by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

Being a male massage therapist can be more challenging, especially at first, but there are plenty of times wherein it's an advantage. If you peruse the threads in "Massage - The Male Practitioners Perspective", you will learn a lot about the attitudes and experiences of professional male massage therapists. In my experience, the biggest challenge is learning how to build a clientele, and women have troubles with that, too. Once you know how to build a clientele, you will be successful.

A good massage therapist is people-oriented and passionate about what they do. They want to learn as much as they can, continuously update their knowledge, and are always open to changing what they do in order to get better results for their clients.

There are tons of great references on massage therapy. Aside from the hands-on skills, it is critical to learn about the nature of establishing an appropriate professional therapeutic relationship with your clients. For this, I suggest reading Nina Hartley's book "An Educated Heart".

Arthritis is a long term risk for EVERYONE, regardless of profession. With a healthy diet and good self-care, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing arthritis, or at least push back the date. Learning and practicing excellent self-care and body mechanics are a must for MTs that wish to stay in the business. The best professional reference on the topic is Darien Pritchard's book Dynamic Bodyuse for Effective, Strain-Free Massage.

I don't know much about Trident Technical College, nor the reputation of their massage program. I recommend that you talk to people/businesses that employ massage therapists in your area to learn which school(s) have the best reputation for excellent, skilled graduates. As an employer of 17 MTs, I know the best massage schools in my state and often recommend them to prospective massage students in Minnesota.

Personally, I love being a massage therapist and it has absolutely changed my life for the better. As a male, I can promise you that it is possible to be very successful in this line of work.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer
http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby JLWmassage on Fri May 25, 2012 8:17 am

http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/massagetherapy/

Here is the link to the SC board of massage therapy. That you know what the educational requirements are. And license fees

And to add with what Jason said I would look for a successful male MT near you and talk to them about their career challenges and how they over came them. And also to get a realistic idea how long it will take you to make a liveable wage in your area.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby pueppi on Sat May 26, 2012 5:05 pm

Lulla,

May I ask what your timeline is on needing to make a decision? I can't really sit down and think about a good response for a few weeks, but if you are on a deadline, please let me know and I'll try to carve out some time to write back.

One thing for sure... if you are 18 and write in whole sentences, words and use bullet points, you are head and shoulders above the rest already! :)

A few things to think about until I get back to you:

  • How much would you like to be a clinical psychologist vs. "helping people"?
  • 6+ years will fly by.
  • Get as much education while you are young and don't take too many breaks from that event, if you can help it. It can be terribly hard to go back to school once you've started working full time. Some of it has to do with the old brain-cells getting a little lazy, while the other has to do with family and lifestyle obligations, etc..
  • Will your tuition re-imbursement allow you to go for the psychology degree?
  • Is it possible to put that money toward a school that offers an associates degree or more in massage, so that if you decided in the future to go back to college, you could apply that degree directly to some future schooling?
  • Are you in a city that is open minded about bodywork? If not, are you comfortable moving to a larger city?
  • If you like psychological work, and decide to persue bodywork, an alternative which you can add to a bodywork practice are are things like Feldenkrais ( http://www.feldnet.com/OurCoreFaculty/t ... fault.aspx & http://houstonfeldenkrais.com/ are good places to learn more). Some psychologists use it to amp up their practices.
  • My husband found it difficult to get massage clients when he was starting out (and it is still harder for he, than I), even though he came into my already structured practice. It may have been because clients were used to me and because I have a very specific type of practice, or it could be d/t his being a "male"... *winks*... but, one thing is for sure... the clients who want him to work on them are very loyal and rarely will allow me to work on them.
  • Definitely dive into this forum with both feet. Start at the end of a Forum Section and work your way to present. That is easiest!

I hope this helps a little.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby Lulla on Mon May 28, 2012 7:46 pm

Thank you all for the sincere and encouraging posts. I wasn't expecting such service :lol:

@JasonE

Thanks for the keeping me open about the psychology path. I'm really struggling in my decision between being a clinical psychologist and a massage therapist. They both seem like two great endeavors that have a lot of opportunity. Here's a basic breakdown of my view on the two:

Psychologist: This field is extremely vast and the things I'd learn could be very applicable to other aspects of life. Establishing myself as an "intellectual" would be awesome and it would be even more awesome being able to help people with serious problems. Six years education I'd undertake would undoubtedly make me a much deeper thinker and I'd have a lot of useful knowledge. However, all of this is a huge commitment. If I did accomplish an appropriate degree for this, I'd be stuck with it and doing things involved with the field for the rest of my life. Thinking about being a psychologist makes me feel really good though and I really do feel like I'd enjoy it.

Massage Therapist: The side of me that wants to become a massage therapist is more of the adventurous, "just do it" side. The be a gypsy and travel the world kind of side if you get what I'm saying. It would be cool because with only a year of education in my state I'd be able to jump into it and see if I like it. Helping people relax all day would be very calming and probably relaxing for me too. Another cool thing about this would be that I could dabble into other job interests I have. If I do hit it off as a MT I'd be able to further my education more with CEUs or opening up my own facility.


All in all, I'm in a fortunate dilemma because I'm really interested in both paths.


I had planned on getting a professional massage for a while, but after hearing you suggest it I'm definitely going to jump on it. I'm sure it will really help me with my decision.

I'll be roaming deep into the forums for now. I really need to do a lot of researching to see if I'll actually enjoy learning about massage, anatomy, and the like.


@JLWmassage

Thanks for that link. It told me that South Carolina only requires 500 hours of education as well as passing the NCE. Not too bad


@pueppi

My timeline is a bit stressful, as it really is about 1 month. I say 1 month because that is when I'm going down for orientation at Trident and talking to a course counselor. By then I'm going to have to know because I'm either going to sign up for the MT program or sign up for general education classes for my bachelors.

Answers to some of your follow up questions (which really helped me think things out, might I add):
  • Yeah, the kind of helping people I'd do between being a psychologist and an MT would be very different. One is helping people change their lives while the other is just helping people to relax or relieve pain. I don't know what kind I'd be better at, which is making this decision so hard.
  • Thanks for the advice about education, and I am really excited about the whole college experience. If I do choose the MT path, I'm probably still going to go to a 4 year school and go for a very liberal arts heavy degree to expand my brain.
  • My scholarship will not nearly cover the psychology degree. It's only $4,700 a year
  • I'd be very willing to move to a new area that is more suitable for a massage therapist. In fact, I'd almost prefer that




Thanks again for the sincere responses. I've got a lot of thinking to do in this next month before I talk to the counselors at Trident. In all honesty, I'm leaning towards becoming a massage therapist right now simply because of the less commitment it involves. In the mean time, like I said, I'll be delving into these forums.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby shivashiva on Tue May 29, 2012 7:07 am

Not sure why you need to decide between the two. Getting your massage certificate will only take about a year, depend on where you go, possibly less. You can do that first, and then use massage as a part time job throughout your college career while getting your psychology degree. There are also somatic psychology programs out there that integrate bodywork and psychology. A google search of "somatic psychology" could give you an evening's worth of reading, but the universities that come to mind are CIIS, Naropa, and Prescott College, which offers a limited residency program.

Definitely get a pro massage right away!

Good luck.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby pueppi on Tue May 29, 2012 12:32 pm

Lulla,

I did a little research and found this college Miller-Motte College ( http://www.miller-motte.edu/classes/bro ... ee-program ). I am not sure, but it looks like you might be able to get your Associates Degree and your MT Certification at the same time. If your funding works for that, it may give you more bang for your buck if you are considering Psychology in the future.

To be honest, there is no reason why you can't be a Psychologist/Massage Therapist. You won't be the "norm", but it can be done. I am sending you a PM regarding dual licensing.

I would suggest that if you feel a calling toward massage, that you look at all of the parameters around your education and see which is a better fit, MT first and Psych second OR Psych first and MT second.

If you can work your way through school and don't have any other obligations that hold you back, getting your MT education first may help to decrease your need for student loans.

If you work it right, you should be able to keep your massage clientele even if you move into Psych. But, you'll most likely want to consider being the consummate professional from day-one (which many "gypsy" massage therapists are not), or work for other people, so it doesn't affect your professional image when you establish your private Psych practice.

    No, I am not suggesting you act like a gypsy on someone elses dime, but I am suggesting that you will have a little more freedom to grow in yourself if you work for someone else, if you know you aren't going to be immaculate in your professionalism from the get-go. And, yes, that can be hard to do, as you begin find yourself over the course of learning the ins & outs of bodywork.

If you choose Psych first, then it could be easier to turn your private practice into a dual practice, because your patients will already trust you and the spin on the practice becomes additional education in order to provide work for the "physical" being in conjuction with the "emotional" being. It gives you some leverage as to your knowledge base and allows people to see you for one or the other work as well as for both, if they so choose.

But, neither option has a hard and fast rule to it.

So, to me, those are the most important things to think about at this time... and much of it depends on "time", "money" and where you are at this stage of your life.

Now, about Trident... I only see 30 hours for the curriculum, which is in credit hours, so you want to make sure and ask the school if you will have the required number of contact hours to be able to sit for the exams and get licensed in your state. I am also not sure why you are learning Principles of Massage III before II. You might want to ask about that and make sure that won't be a detriment to getting your license either.

The school also seems to offer an Associates Degree in Science, so if there would be a way to creatively space out your Massage Therapy program and get the Assoc. of Applied Science at the same time (ask if they have a provision to do so, or if there is a way the school would be willing to work with you), then you would be one step closer to getting that Psych degree in the future. I believe it never hurts to ask. And, when told no, ask to speak to a supervisor or someone higher up. When told that you can't speak to a supervisor or someone higher up, ask to speak with the President of the College. If you can get that to work, it would really be worth it since you actually know you may want to do Psych in the future.

I do hope that helps.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby EgoMagickian on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:11 am

Lulla, congrats on raising these questions and preparing to take the next step in your educational path!

I really like the "both/and" approach of some of the previous posts, rather than "either/or". You also don't have to commit to the whole psychologist path at once... you can start by obtaining your bachelors and going from there. If you do decide to go for both massage and psychology licenses, your experiences with each can be very valuable resources for the other... in psychology you will learn much about boundaries, transference, and working with clients... and in bodywork you will learn much about the body aspect of the mind-body continuum.

shivashiva wrote:A google search of "somatic psychology" could give you an evening's worth of reading, but the universities that come to mind are CIIS, Naropa, and Prescott College, which offers a limited residency program.


There's also JFK.

One of the problems with somatic psych is that all of the degree programs in it are masters level programs usually leading to an MFT license. The only doctoral level program I was aware of was at a school that no longer operates (Santa Barbara Graduate Institute). To my mind, going for an MFT makes little sense, as it's the same amount of time from matriculation to licensure (about 6 years). If you're going to invest that much time, why not end up a Dr.?

Besides, it's easy enough to add somatic training after. On that note, Getting In Touch by Christine Caldwell is a good overview of the various major schools of somatic therapy.
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby truepeacenik on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:06 pm

JFK somatics students can get their anatomy at my school.
I find their path fascinating, and it has added my return to Naropa for somatic studies.
Some of them should NOT be touching people, however.

I have a degree. I was a journalist for a decade, spent a few years in a solar never start up, and now do communications and messaging for a new start up in the sustainable world.
I work for a day spa and take private clients in my home.
My best estimate is 15 clients in a busy week, one day fully off, and one where I'll check email and respond to my sustainability team and work only if a deadline is looming.

It is perfectly reasonable to create the life you want to live.

Get the certificate, in th estate where you plan to study.
Work in spas/chiro offices/ volunteer with groups.
In your junior year, plan any changes in locale for grad school, fulfill requirements, and continue.
During grad school, you might not practice, but keep all your paperwork current, including any CEUs you must take.
Once you graduate, you will have multiple paths to explore.

Good luck!
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Re: Prospecting Student (has a lot of questions)

Postby pueppi on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:37 am

Can you give us an update, Lulla?
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