How do you get started if you want to open your own massage therapy school or teach massage therapy classes? You may want to start with an established business and/or website!
In September 2011 issue of Massage Today, there was a poll where therapists could rate their massage school. Over 55% of the respondents felt they received fair or poor training from the massage school they attended. Less than 30% felt their training was excellent.
This may be why massage therapists seek additional studies in traditional massage techniques...their lack of confidence in what they were taught in massage school.
What if you want to just teach CE classes?
No matter which type of classes you want to teach, you must start by planning your curriculum, getting your accreditation, recruiting your students, and marketing your massage therapy classes.
Step 1: Plan Your Curriculum
The curriculum for every massage school is different, however, state laws will typically mandate certain massage therapy courses and the number of hours required for each student to study the course material.
Most massage schools are required to teach a specific number of "core" curriculum hours. Those hours would include anatomy (study of the human body), physiology (study of the functions and processes of the organs and organ systems), kinesiology (study of movement and muscles), pathology (study of diseases) and massage techniques.
Massage therapy classes should also teach about the trends in the massage industry, history of massage, massage marketing, ethics, myths of massage, how to deal with inappropriate behavior, and spa services.
There are software packages that can assist you as you begin the process of writing your massage therapy curriculum. They may be a little "pricey", but it can give you a huge head start on this step.
The Real Anatomy Software DVD package helps students learn the anatomy of the human body, including major organs and structures. Presentations can be shown in 3-D format, and can be rotated to assist in teaching attaching muscles and structures. It includes the ability to visually dissect layers to discover relationships also.
You should be very comfortable lecturing, discussing and using visual aids in your teaching methods.
You should be proficient in identifying, locating, defining and pronouncing organs, organ systems, bones, muscles, functions, and the organization of the human body.
You should also be able to thoroughly explain the physiological effects and benefits of massage therapy.
Step 2: Build a Website and Advertise
Read my "Marketing Massage Online" page to get great ideas on how you can to build a website by yourself (just like this one) and save thousands!!
An established website (if you can find one) is always best, as it already has visitors coming to the site, as well as established pages full of content, saving you lots of time and money!
You can still arrange the site's pages and content to suite your school's needs and cater to you specific audiance, but writing and developing your content is already done!
And....This website is for sale!
You should also start marketing massage therapy and your school through social media...it's fun and free!
Step 3: Getting Your Accreditation for a Massage Therapy School
Contact your state licensing department to find out what the requirements are to open a massage school.
Most likely, if your state does not require massage therapists to be licensed, you will have to work with the state's department of education to obtain the license for a school.
Contact other professional massage associations (American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)to learn industry standards and regulations for accreditation and licensure.
You should also contact your city's business affairs office to find out what licenses and regulations you must adhere to for city government purposes.
Step 4: Recruiting Students for Your Massage Therapy School
College and Career Fairs are excellent opportunities to recruit students. Attend every one that you can.
You are usually required to set up a table with brochures, curriculum information, financial information, and business cards to hand out to students.
The administrative staff that you hire to answer telephones and run your business office might also be the person(s) that attend the college and career fairs for you.
Have the newspaper come out to the school and interview you, as well as take pictures of the school for the article.
This allows you to get the word out to lots of people at one time, and providing pictures will help potential students who are walking in to your school for the first time to feel less less intimidated.
Step 5: Leasing Your Building/Hiring Your Staff for the Massage Therapy School
Look in the newspaper for commercial building that are for lease. You can also contact a commercial real estate agent for assistance.
Choose an area near a major interstate highway for an easy, convenient location.
Choose a building with a well-lite, spacious parking lot. Anyone attending (or parents of students) will notice that the area is well lit, and appreciate that when considering where they will attend.
Try to find a newer building so that you don't have to deal with maintenance issues all the time. It is much easier to teach in massage therapy school when you have lighting, electricity, and the air or heat to be comfortable.
Make sure you are able to get insurance and all permits required for the space you have chosen before signing a lease.
Make sure you are leasing from a reputable person. Ask for references!
Hire qualified instructors to teach courses and CE classes of advanced massage techniques as well as efficient administrative personnel.
People who are very familiar with massage and the industry are much better suited as staff for your new massage therapy school than people who are not familiar with massage at all, or people who are new to massage.