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Poll Results for the following Question:

Should massage schools have educational requirements for entry?


Yes, high school diploma
Some college courses
College degree
No educational requirements

Total Respondents: 2176


Note: These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site.
They have not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling.

 Educational levels should start with a high school diploma as a minimum. We do not need our goverment taking to much control of our profession since they make a mess of everything they try to control.

Each therapist has his or her goals for the type of work they want to do. Let's keep massage an honorable profession by being honorable people.
Some college courses I believe that if a person has deomnstrated ability to keep up with coursework at the college level, completion of college (which is sometimes affected by financial constraints) isn't necessary to progress to massage education. I'm regarded by a number of people as the "most knowledgeable" massage therapist in my area, the person to ask when you are having trouble sourcing a client's pain or understanding a problem in body mechanics, but that is because of my lifelong interest in things like bodybuilding, nutrition, yoga and being a "defensive patient" in the modern medical maze; my college degree is in literature and medieval studies, of all things. Excessive prequalification is likely to exclude a lot of good potential therapists and serves only to cosmeticize the profession to people who feel some competitive need to attack us or question our professionalism.

College degree  Would strongly suggest that a two yeart degree be a base requirement to enter into the massage programs as currently it is not bneing look at in a favorable light by other professions I.e. P.T.`S ETC. N. E. MATTS,NMD,Ed.D.

Yes, high school diploma YES, I am a licesned massage therapist , I also feel they should also do a backround check, as well as a high school diploma. The school I went to had a student who was getting their thrills by feeling up his fellow classmates. I was one of five that he got his thrills from. It makes it bad for all the other men who are very good at what they do, I personally like men therapist because of the deep tissue.

Some college courses It depends upon whether the massage community wants massage to be recognized as an accepted healthcare modality, with all the incumbent benefits, ie: increased visibility, easier availability to reasearch and acceptance of research results, increased clientele, etc. and negative aspects, ie: possible restrictions of practise by governing bodies and limited reimbursement by insurance and managed healthcare companies, more paperwork,etc.

Yes, high school diploma It is very difficult to identify what would be appropriate prerequisite educational requirements other than a high school diploma or GED for entry into massage school. Previous education in college does not have as much to do with success in massage as appropriate social skills does. What I have found as a school director is that we have some "adult" 18 year olds and some "children" 55 year olds. How do we require that people have good social skills, a kind heart, and appropriate boundaries? We have become educated idiots in some ways. Yes there is knowledge that we must possess to do well in massage, but most of us have grown our brains while we studied massage. I would hate to see people who want to become therapists be required to go to college just to get some certain number of hours so they could then join up with their passion. If you possess basic reading and writing skills, youcan learn the rest in a good school.

No educational requirements there is a test for entry for some schols relating to ?? called "ability to benifit" considering that statement there are so many personal , family and vocational, abilities to benifit.. disclosure of schooling is a great idea to benifit those that receive ..

**I have seen many, many, that could not read or write.. do wonderful massage.. one of these has become one of my very moist dear friends.. abd gas contribuited to my life so very much... (i could include myself in the difficult to achieve expression group even though I had high SAT scores)
I have seen many that english and education is not in the picture do wonderful intuitive massage work... those are wonderful and fulfilling areas for these people do not deny them ..
Some college courses I believe massage should be split into 2 groups, with 500 hours being fine for the first, but those who wish to do medical,I believe should be a 2 year degree. I don't want to hear any whining, everyone out there knows of someone just out of school advertising medical massage, NMT, MFR, reflexology, cranio sacral, when all they've had is the classroom overview. If we wish to be taken seriously by the medical community and the insurance industry, I believe this will be the next step, and if the massage commmunity doesn't do it, it will be imposed on us.

No educational requirements I think that "no educational requirements" are nessasary at this point in time. But, I think that if the Massage Educational institution is college accredited (community college or university level), then the answer would be yes, to have a high school diploma for educational requirements.
Some college courses Greetings! I feel that some college level training
should be required not only in Anatomy,
Physiology, and Business as you've suggested
but also in History.
Additionally, a sound understanding of Philosophy
should be required for those who train in
energetic therapies.

Yes, high school diploma I went to college for 6 years and couldn't finish. Couldn't get a degree because I never really enjoyed what I was learning and didn't care for requirement courses that I had to pay for which I would never use in my lifetime, like calculus.
So with my 10 year old high school diploma I was able to gavin entrance to a massage school, graduated and got my license and I am loving it.

Yes, high school diploma Is there more required than a high school education to attend college? No, so why should more be required of you to go to massage school? One day this profession of work will require more schooling but as a LMT I know that there are MANY more things to learn.
As Licensed Massage Therapists it is our duty to continue learning by taking advantage of all the continuing education course available to us.

Yes, high school diploma Or a GED. College does not necessarily make you smarter. I know many college grads who can't do a good massage or even balance their checkbooks! But I do feel that completing high school shows that you will at least stick to a basic program and have the willpower and desire to learn.

Yes, high school diploma Massage training needs basic capabilities of acquiring knowledge and I feel high school as minimum requirement

Yes, high school diploma A diploma should be required as a bare minimum. If we are to be taken seriously as a group we must have standards. Anyone that wants to secure any career needs to begin with the basic building blocks, i.e. a high school education. A GED is available for those without the means to acquire that. You need to have at least have the ambition to acquire that to be a massage therapist. As for the non-English speaking sector, we happen to live in an English speaking country. Speaking the language should be the first priority and requirement to go to any reputable school. I would be extremely leery of the quality of work as well as the ethic of any LMP without the above qualifications.

 i am a massage student now and we have some students in our class that do not have a high school education. it is hard for the rest of the class because they do not get things as easily as the rest of us. also i feel that they need an english course also. (only if your english is not clear)
Some college courses By "some college courses" I presume the courses referred to are "college A/P courses" or related courses in the health care field. Any other colleges courses, in my estimation, wouldn't be productive.
Some college courses I don't want just anybody massaging me. What if they don't know what they are doing and they hurt you?

No educational requirements There are a small percentage of massage students who have not finished high school or who's first language is not english. Applicants should be interviewed by atleast two staff members (not secretaries) to determine if the applicant will be able to complete the course. I have a Masters degree in English Literature and my wife has never finished high school. My wife has one of the most successful and respected massage practices in West Michigan and I can't give a massage worth... Yes, education is important! But, from my own personal experiece, I feel that we can not exclude anyone from the massage profession. Especially when the majority of bad massages that I've had in my life time, have come from "very educated" individuals.

 There are a small percentage of massage students who have not finished high school or who's first language is not english. Applicants should be interviewed by atleast two staff members (not secretaries) to determine if the applicant will be able to complete the course.

Some college courses Certainly!
Currently educational standards are far too lax for individuals wishing to practice Massage Therapy. Given that each state and or region of a state is responsible for learning requirements there are far too many people who enter our profession with inadequate training. Mandating that each individual have at least two years of college, whether community or four year, would create a higher standard across the board and weed out those who are interested in "other" ideals.
Hopefully, one day legislation will pass governing all states to the same standard rather than leaving it up to the county or each state. Long in coming I know possibly not even in my lifetime.
Still, what a wonderful way to give back to the community. Jeff

No educational requirements I believe all that's important is that a person has the desire to help others and that a person naturally takes it upon himself/herself to continue their own "education" by reading books, taking classes and talking to others.

 I have realized recently that our board is currently in the process of "dumbing down" the state certification test to accomodate individuals who struggle with passing! Strength and palpable skills are essential to this profession however, comprehension of anatomy and technique require that one be able to process information correctly. My fear is that if we "dumb down" any of the requirements including prior education, we will have a glut of massage therapists who might inadvertantly do more harm to the profession than good. How seriously can we be taken if our profession stands behind individuals who are not capable of correctly submitting documentation of anatomical concerns or tx of such in a professional and knowledgable manner?

Some college courses It seems that there is a word that has lost meaning in this career choice. It is that of "Therapist" Anyone can touch another person and give "good feelings". It is the mind and soul that needs to be touched also. After attending school with many different age groups it seems that the majority (not all) of the people in their early twenties and younger do not have the "life experience" to be a "therapist". Administering massage is a skill most people can learn without a massive education. (sorry doc's) The art of nuturing comes from living and dealing with life's ups and downs.(sorry youngin's) It is part of a person's soul. This is not the Wizard giving the Tinman a heart. It is something you either have or not. I for one graduated almost last in my class in high school 25 years ago. I graduated 6th in my class in Massage Therapy. Life experience changed my attitude toward education and makes me a better "therapist".

No educational requirements Educational requirements are elitists and serves only the bourgesious.

College degree At the very least some college courses. A minimum of an AA degree would be better. Seeing Massage School Mills turn out high school graduates hardly able to manage their own lives and emotions does not speak well for the profession. Not that an advanced degree would insure same but at least the individual would be a little older and more mature. Massage therapy deals with peoples lives on many levels and the education and maturity of the professional needs to reflect adaquate training to deal with these lives.

Some college courses I am a director of a school in South Carolina and feel that we need to elevate the level of massage education nationwide. I do not think that massage therapists need to obtain college degrees but they do need classes taught at a certain academic level. Too many times, material is taught by "instructors" who do not have the appropriate backgrounds themselves in the subjectmatter. I think that the more qualified the instructors, the better the education will be.

Yes, high school diploma any higher learning should have a high school diploma or a GED equiv.

No educational requirements NO, NO, NO!! Absolutely NOT! A recent graduate of a massage school, I have studied with some exceptionally talented people. I have my BA in Computer Sciences - doesn't REALLY help me with my massage ability. I'm good at what I do, but I've met other students with little or no college background who are also good.

Being able to provide a level of care at the benefit of the a client is the key point. Without putting the client first, we are doing an injustice to the profession. It's not about us, it's about them. A college degree doesn't mean you're better at facilitating an effective healing process.

Should general practice doctors undergo an 8 month intensive course on massage? If a person attends massage school, successfully completes the requirements and knows what they're doing - that just adds to the world. I've seen LMT certified "professionals" who don't care what they're doing. They're the ones that need a re-education of ethics and perhaps career change options.

 Most of the respondants to this poll have so far answered that no educational requirement should be required. Well this sums up the professions total intelligent quotient (thats I.Q. for those of you who never understood the meaning of these abreviations). One of the last polls asked the question should M.D.s, D.C.s "be allowed" to practice massage. Based on educational requirements alone the answer to that is YES! Based on the massage professions educational requirements the nexr poll should ask "should massage therapist be allowed to practice massage. It is diplorable that people who are becoming massage therapists want to get their "diploma" A.S.A.P. and then avoid education like the plague from there on. The only way our profession will become strong is to embrace the Japanese principle of Kiazen which is constant and never ending improvement. Why are the clinical acupuncturists requesting that massage therapists be certified by their own accrediting bodies in asian bodywork. This is appauling. We should be in control of our own continuing education and should have our own continuing education process in asain body work. Who are they to dictate to us. Maybe the answer lies in the fact that we may not be educated enough to take care of ourselves!

Yes, high school diploma In the ideal world a minimun requirement would
be great. However in our world, for adults
particularly, relevant and demonstratable life
experience should be allowable.

Where relevant experience is not demonstratable
a bridging course should be made available. This
should allow those not as fortunate as others the
opportunity to self improvement and access to our

Yes, high school diploma I say they should have some educational requirements
at lease a ged or higher when we are out on our own
you must do chart note and manage your budget to make it work in this market

No educational requirements As long as the student proves to be proficient at the end of the course, then previous education should not matter.

No educational requirements I really think that ones life experience should be enough to enter in to this course of study. ones ability to learn would become apparent during the course. It would be ashame to loss a talented person just because they didin't have a piece of paper.

Yes, high school diploma At least, and first aid courses.
A Gavin Nelspruit
South Africa

Yes, high school diploma Although massage schools in which the curriculum is weak in the sciences, personal developement, business, and ethics should require some college level courses to assist students in attaining a professional level of education.

As the market places higher expectations on therapists, it is irresponsible of schools which do not prepare their graduates to succeed as the market evolves.

Yes, high school diploma My experience of going to a rigorous massage school is this: the chief benefit to already having a college degree is that I still had college-level study habits. The students who didn't have that struggled during the first semester to learn those habits. Several of them took a break after first semester to re-set their expectations and habits.

I think you need a high school diploma (or GED). If you don't have the drive or endurance to get through high school, what the heck are you doing in massage school or (eventually) trying to run your own massage business? And by the way, even if you work for someone else, it'll be as an independent contractor, so you're still really working for yourself.

Some college courses Some courses, such as anatomy at college offer
more than any massage school can. My college
anatomy class with cadaver study was essential
for me to become completely proficient in my
trade. Chemistry and biology are also important.
Most therapists are dangerously armed with "just
a little knowledge". They fall prey to, and help to
propogate many "cure all supplements".

Yes, high school diploma College is no guarentee that you are any better qualified academically. I have been an instructor and some of the most difficult students have been the ones who have been most immersed in the "memorize and regurgitate" learning. This typically means the ones who have the most standard American education.

Contrast this to the students who have very little institutionalized learning. There are simply less bad habits to break. They come as a "clean slate". They haven't learned faulty learning methods. They are still teachable. I've had PAs and nurses in class who couldn't pass kinesiology, but the housewife with a GED who couldn't spell kinesiology breezed through simply because they weren't "damaged goods".

Just like massage education that falls far below the standard, high school and college education is falling below the standard as well. I do not believe the argument that we have to find better quality students. I believe that we have to find better quality instructors.

Yes, high school diploma The massage school I attended is one Ralph Stephens could use as an excellent example of a money mill for the owner where student proficiently standards were lacking and where course material was briefly covered by undereducated instructors. One example is anatomy instruction which DID NOT include hands on work with another student!!

Compounding this situation were the boorish antics of several classmates who were recent high school graduates. One was there because her mother was paying for this "education" and was told she had to attend. These students should have been kicked out as their behavior interrupted class proceedings all too often.

Would requiring prior anatomy courses and/or two years of college helped in this situation? Perhaps these youngsters would not have been there since the total educational cost might then have become too prohibitive.

As I see it, the major problem is the massage school. A responsible, good massage school would have handled the attitude problem and provided adequate instruction.

I think the educational requirements should be for the instructors. In those states that license schools, instructor qualifications should be set and each school required to show each prospective student what the state requires and how their instructors match or better these requirements.

When I chose this school, I had no clue as to what I was looking for. Perhaps, if the reqirement I suggest above had been in effect, I might have spent my money better elsewhere. Fortunately, I now have a good practice because I attended numerous seminars immediately after "graduating."
Yes, high school diploma We have in this country these days a tremendous prejudice towards book learning and the people who excel at it. I am 53 years old. I have a bachelor's degree and one year of graduate school from an excellent state university. When I reflect on my time in school and how it prepared me for my life, it seems to me that the introductory courses offered/required in those first couple of years of college were highly over-rated as preparation for anything practical (like massage training). Not everyone who has the sensitivity, attitude, aptitude and common sense to make a good massage therapist has the drive, financial means or other where-with-all to survive those first boring years of required courses. I would hate to see a two-year college requirement used to erect yet another hurdle for talented individuals to overcome before entering the massage profession.

Yes, high school diploma Massage should not be for only the highly educated. Many people who are good with their hands are not always good with a book. There should be something for everyone.

Some college courses I have just completed massage school and had a previous degree in physical therapy. A few of our classmates had no college or previous education other than high school or were non=traditional students. The benefits of having more schooling under your belt while taking the massage course is a definate benefit to you and your classmates. You need to have a degree of social skills that go along with your education, which I believe you get with more advanced learning and college courses. By having this you and your lab partner can be better matched and this will increase your learning capacity and practice skills and not waste valuable time while trying to learn so much in such a short period of time.
Thanks for allowing me to view my thoughts.
Martha Long

Yes, high school diploma For most, a high school diploma or its equivelent (homeschooling)would suffice. However, after reading the comments of those without a diploma, I would allow exceptions and consider ones life experience. I believe almost anyone can grasp the human science courses- if they are taught how to learn & study, AND are willing to put in the effort. I have taught human sciences for years,and some had no diploma, others were "to old to learn", others literally trembled in fear the moment they walked into Anatomy class, name it. Nonetheless,If they wanted to make it they did, and in the process gained greater self confidence and tossed off the "I'm too stupid" label.
It is certain qualities that determine success in massage school and excellence as a bodyworker, not letters behind your name (or what you did in the past).
On the other hand, I could not agree more with comments suggesting massage schools not graduate students that do not meet certain requirements. This is the best solution- even though I know some schools have low standards or poor teachers.
Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution. Limiting enrollment to those with a college degrees (or two years of specific courses)eliminates so many potentially great therapists.
There are many kinds of intelligences (kinesthetic, palpatory, athletic, intuitive, etc.) that have nothing to do with I.Q. tests, rote memorization, nor sitting still in a classroom for 8 hours.
For example, certain intelligences may be more talented at bodywork, and other intelligences may excell at writing, speaking, and organizing. I would suggest that the latter group is good at writing regulations and heading up massage organizations.

How many times have I heard the comment "that person has got some great hands"? Several- and yet I never wondered "Hmmm, wonder what they got their degree in?"
The duty of massage schools is to develop what is undeveloped, whether it be someone with great hands and poor learning (sciences,that is) skills- or whether its someone with great learning skills and undeveloped touching skills.
Gary Wilson, Science/Bodywork teacher.
Some college courses I feel that massage therapists owe it to their
clients to have a well rounded education. It will
better help them work with their clients.

Some college courses 
First there should be restrictions on how many people can get into the programs per year.Just like other health professions. How about some science prereqs to show that you can handle the work.Please people Too much to ask? Most schools now only require that you have a pulse. I practice NMT and do anterior cervical work.Do you want references from other professionals. Lets get a two tier system and end this nonsense.

No educational requirements Many children now are home schooled and do not have high school diplomas. These children, young adults, have better work ethics, are more focused than their peers coming from a high school scituation and they have the educational tools they need. I know this to be true. I have first hand experience with this because my two children, 20 an 17 years old, are home educated. I see many young adults from this background and they are unique.

I do feel that some form of testing the students knowledge of the material taught should be implemented. No one should be able to preform bodywork without proper knowledge of the human body and the bodywork techniques. The chance of any harm should never come to a client. Thanks you, Patty Allen

Some college courses Oh my, absolutely! I have been a secondary English teacher for 13 years, and a massage instructor for the past 2 years. I have an upclose and personal view on this poll-question. I have watched with a bleeding heart as individuals attempt to learn human anatomy and physiology without the basic ability to READ and WRITE. It often seems like Greek (or Latin) to the new students!

Massage schools have a burgeoning responsibility to tow-the-line and prepare quality massage professionals (often unresponsibly as tuition tends to be the only necessity for some schools). As it is now, learning the volume of material needed to know, can often feel like one is attempting to drink from a fire hydrant! It is not enough to have "good hands or a gift", a massage student must also be a motivated and ABLE learner.

If students endeavor to undertake their massage education without basic learning skills of reading and writing, their education tends to be unfulfilling and frustrating for the potential learner, not to mention a waste of their money. Some college education, especially prerequisites in anatomy would be a major leg up for ensuring students to be successfully prepared in their brave new world of a career in massage therapy!

Janet Clarke, BA, LMT, NCMTB

Yes, high school diploma While there needs to be some educational requirements I disagree that massage therapists should have at least two years of college, a popular amount of time according to what I have read. A high school graduate should be able to handle the training to become a massage therapist.
For one thing if you got through high school and did not gain some knowledge all the college in the world is not going to help. I know people who have several degrees and certifications hanging on the wall that I would not allow to balance a checkbook much less have anything to do with my health.
I have read several articles that express dismay over the quality of massage therapists finding their way into the field. Most do suggest college requirements as being one of the answers to this problem. I believe we would see a tremendous improvement if massage schools would just fail those students that do not make passing grades.
In many cases massage schools are a purchased certificate of completion. The students get a paid for diploma and the school has a 100% pass rate.
Try the pass or fail approach and then consider whether or not to require college.
Another probable help would be better school accrediting and more stringent requirements for instructors. This is a downward spiral I have read about many times, bad instructors make bad therapists who go on to make worse therapists who go on to....
A bad therapist is a bad therapist no matter how smart the papers show them.

No educational requirements Personally I feel you must have an intellect that can be educated. ie: My newphew dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. He can build a house inside and out by himself. I have been around highly educated people who have no common sense or people skills. That's all!

No educational requirements Requirements to get into school....NO. Geesh not another rule brewing!!! The requirements we should be looking at is how qualified are you after you leave school to do certain types of work within the massage field. Did your education expand the possibilities as to what you can do within the field? Do you have a basic understanding of how the body works? How does massage effect the body? Can you pick up the Merck Manual and actually understand most of it after you leave massage school. Did what you learn give you a running start towards your own objectives and goals for starting a new career. etc. etc. etc. Massage is a very diversified field with endless possibilities. Requirements or standards should soley be aimed at protecting the welfare of our clients and not keeping up with the jones', enhancing an image, or lining the pockets of a national accreditation agency of sorts. In the 8 years I've been in the business it seems as though the schools have done an adequate job of ensuring public safety. In those areas of the country with poor standards let the local authorities fix their own problems. Free market will self police those poorly trained in various disciplines and regulation is not needed. We need to take great care with the regulations or standards we impose upon ourselves as a whole lest we end up like our government where some things can now never be fixed. I am tired of some of these self rightous folks in the massage field trying to impose their own personal agenda or view of the world on the rest of us in the form of regulation. It seems like we're moving towards a massage degree type thing. Massage in most cases is a safe therapy and poses relatively low risk to the public and it's not rocket science though some would like you to believe otherwise. Excessive regulation will only impede on a professional's freedom to choose how they practice in the long run. To those people just starting out I'd suggest bagging the idea of getting where you want to be by attending a bunch of continuing education classes. Spend your time volunteering, networking, getting a massage, mentoring (you'll be surprised how many people out there will teach you for free if your heart is in the right place), reading, and most of all practicing. If you put forth the sincere effort people will notice and your practice will grow. Keep your chin up.

No educational requirements I am a mature-age student of massage in Sydney,Australia, who never finished high-school, although always enjoy learning.

Certainly I've found anatomy & physiology difficult at times but I'm managing a distinction average so far.

To be precluded because I don't have formal qualifications elsewhere would have meant I'd never be studying something I have a real passion for.

by the way, great site
Thank you

College degree Massage therapy should have high standards for admissions. I have taken a 3 year, 3000 hour massage therapy course in BC Canada and there still is much more to learn. If you are dealing with the human body you should know what you are getting into.

Some college courses The more knowledge the better and your feeling of the profession would look more professional. I feel without education, massage therapy would be of a hobby than a career.
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