Massage Therapy Schools in Kansas: Give careful attention to selecting a program that will meet long-term goals
Prospective Kansas massage therapists will want to enroll in massage therapy programs that meet standards that have been set by organizations at the national level. Kansas does not regulate massage therapists on a state level, though some local jurisdictions set minimum requirements. The student may want to give careful attention to selecting a program that will meet long-term goals (for example, healthcare, spa, self-employment). The average pay in Kansas is below the national average, but some Kansas massage therapists are making good money. Some are also creating their lifestyle and living their vision – because they had a plan for how to get there.
Select a Kansas Massage Therapy School Topic:
- Developing Entry-Level Competencies
- Looking to the Standard Setters
- Massage Therapy License Requirements in Kansas
- Beyond Massage School: Salary and Career Development
Developing Entry-Level Competencies
Safe competent practice requires a lot more than just a study of massage techniques. The practitioner will need a foundation in anatomy, physiology, and pathology. He or she will need to know when techniques are indicated for particular populations (for example, athletes or people with chronic back pain) and when techniques would not be safe or healthy. Many people can benefit from massage, from infants to the elderly — but of course massage is not practiced the same way in all cases. The curriculum also teaches massage therapists to follow hygienic practices with regard to linens, lotions, and equipment and to use the proper protocol for modesty and draping. Self-care, including proper body mechanics, is included; this is important if practitioners are to make massage a long-term career and not suffer pain themselves. Massage therapists, like other healthcare professionals, need to be aware of ethics and legalities. It is also considered important to have a little knowledge of business practice as many massage therapists work outside traditional employer relationships.
As for the techniques themselves, there are many identified modalities or ways of practicing massage. These may be based on ancient traditions, modern medical research, or some combination of the two. Massage is often practiced in combination with other bodywork modalities that may involve light touch in specific locations and/ or attempts to influence energy. Some practices involve heat or water. There are additional practices like aromatherapy that can enhance sessions.
In short, the discipline includes far more than one will learn in a single course of study, but standard setters generally place entry level competency at 500 hours or more of instruction and guided practice. Sometimes students earn traditional academic credit for their massage coursework. It is common to credit a semester hour as 15 hours of instruction. Not all programs, though, are offered for academic credit.
Looking to the Standard Setters
A prospective student will want to make sure that any massage therapy school they are considering is operating legitimately. In Kansas, a good starting place is the Board of Regents (http://www.kansasregents.org/academic_affairs/private_out_of_state/private_and_out_of_state_institutions/private_and_out_of_state_institutions_accessible_list).
There are locations around the nation where national accreditation is expected or required, though some use the word to refer to the state approval process. Accreditation is tied to the financial aid process but is not tied to all forms of assistance that are designed to meet workforce and training needs. Accreditation will vary, depending in part on whether the career school is specifically focused on massage and closely related fields or whether it is part of an institution that offers other programs. Recognition by the U.S. Department of Education confers legitimacy.
The American Massage Therapy Association requires member schools to offer programs of at least 500 hours. While membership standards are not as high has accreditation – or as valuable — AMTA affiliation brings with it the level of accountability associated with professional organization membership. Member schools have access to valuable resources. AMTA also can be a good source of information about member schools.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is not an accreditor but carries out some basic evaluation before assigning schools testing codes. Assignment is often regarded as conferring status. An assigned school may have as few as 500 hours, but a student who actually seeks prestigious board certification will need 750. The difference can be made up through NCBTMB-approved continuing education. Kansas has four assigned schools (https://www.ncbtmb.org/schools-students/). It has additional continuing education providers.
One of Kansas’ premier healthcare institution advertised in the summer of 2017 for a massage therapist who had graduated from an accredited program and (ideally) had also achieved board certification. Fortunately, the NCBTMB currently has a method by which massage therapists who didn’t attend assigned schools can achieve eligibility: portfolio review. (As one might guess, though, it’s not a quick process.)
Massage Therapist Career Outlook and Average Salary in Kansas
A Kansas massage therapist may want to aim to be in the upper half salary-wise. The median hourly wage is just $9.47 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but 25% of the state’s massage therapists are making above $15.78 and 10% are making above $28.
Location within the state matters, but so does work setting, industry, and level of skill. One Kansas employer posting in the summer of 2017 noted that the hourly wage was in the late teens but that there was the potential to make significantly more through performance bonuses and gratuities.
Kansas massage therapist employment levels have been projected to increase 17.9% between 2014 and 2024.
There are places where it’s hard to fill positions and where someone with potential could be hired and put through massage therapy school. One name to keep in mind: Massage Envy. They’re not putting their prospective massage therapists to school all across Kansas — but they are putting some of their Kansas hires through school. This is as of 2017.