by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
Every state and country has their own rules and regulations about massage. To practice massage in many states in the US, you are required to have a license. The rules and regulations for touch have grown and changed over the years and if you are looking for a career in massage, it is a good idea to find a reputable school that will prepare and license you for the state you wish to practice in.
First, look in your local phone book or on-line for a listing of massage schools in your area. Call them and ask them to send you an information packet for perspective students. This will tell you how many hours the program involves, what classes are required, how long it will take, the cost, the application process, and the licensing requirements for your area.
Then, you need to figure out what you need in a school. Do you need flexible class schedules, so you can take some classes at night or on weekends? Are you able to go to school full-time? Is your priority to finish school A.S.A.P., or to do it slowly while still working and taking care of your family? Do you need financing of any kind, or can you pay all at once? How much of your tuition can you get back if you decide to drop out/change schools?
The next step is to talk to other massage professionals. Find out where your own massage therapist went to school. Call some people and see if they’ll talk to you about their schooling experiences.
You can also schedule informational interviews at massage schools. Get a tour of the school, talk to some instructors and get a good sense for the place. Most massage schools that I know of also offer an introductory one-night class called “Interested in a career in massage therapy?” or something similar to that, to give you a general orientation to the profession and their program.
If you live in the United States, here is a good place to start