Becoming a massage therapist is one of the more fulfilling career paths that you can choose. You get to work on your own, and spend your days helping people to feel better. While you don’t need a Bachelor’s Degree in order to become a massage therapist, there are some certifications and exams that you will need to pass. If you are interested in pursuing this as a career, here are the steps that you will need to take.

Earn a Certificate

The first thing you will need to do is find a certification program in your area. You will want a program that is recognized by your state’s licensing board, and you should also check to see what kind of program that it is. Depending on the program, the amount of hours that you need to complete, the courses that you need to take, and the exams you need to pass will all vary. The more information you can learn about the school before you enroll, the better.

Take an Approved National Exam

Once you complete your certification program, you will need to take an exam. Two of the most common exams accepted by state licensing boards are the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the Board Certification Exam in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCETMB). You can apply for either of these exams once you have finished an approved certification program.

“A certification will certainly put you in good standing with employers and clients alike. Having a medical perspective when it comes to massage adds a dimension to your practice”, says HMassageATL, a foot massage practice, out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Apply For State Licensure

Now that you have completed your program, and passed the required exam, you can apply for state licensure. At this stage you will want to research the regulations that your state has regarding massage therapy, such as the insurance requirements or how your license must be displayed. Each state has their own rules and regulations, and you will want to make sure that you follow all of them.

Start Your Own Practice or Join An Existing One

If you have completed all of the steps above, you are now ready to start being a massage therapist. This means that you either need to apply for a job at a place that offers this service, or start your own practice. Each route has its pros and cons, and the one you go with will ultimately come down to your own personal preference, and the job market. Working for an established location may be easier for recently certified therapists, but opening your own practice allows you more freedom. Here are some basic tips for starting your own practice that you may find useful.

Continue Your Education

Lastly, just because you have passed all of your classes, that does not mean you are done learning. As you continue your career as a massage therapist, you should routinely make time to brush up on what you have learned, and explore new information that has entered into the field. Continuing your education is a requirement for your certification, so this is not something that should be forgotten about once you begin working. The exact continuing education requirements that you need to meet will vary from state to state, so it is best to do a little research into what your state requires before it is too late.

Enjoy Your New Career

To become a massage therapist you need to go through hours of training and education, but the end result is worth it. After you are done you will have a new career to look forward, and it will be one in which you get to help people relax and feel healthier each and every day.