Massage Therapy School in Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a massage-friendly city and a city that is friendly to complementary and alternative medicine in general. Different massage practices will have a different vibe or feel. Some massage practices have a spiritual or meditative element. Some of the city’s massage therapists are experts in particular types of medical massage. They may, for example, be affiliated with an integrative cancer center. Savvy massage therapists can select from many approaches – or go into business on their own.
The Tucson Massage Therapy Scene
Tucson has more massage therapists on a per-population basis than the average U.S. city. It is second in the state of Arizona with regards to massage therapists per-population, running a close second to less populous Prescott — and is a better choice if one likes warm winters and lots of sun! Like Phoenix, it has its share of winter vacationers and “snowbirds”; the atmosphere here is, many feel, more laid back.
Three Popular Tucson Massage Therapy Schools
The Cortiva Institute-Tucson is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training and is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Students can select from 720-hour or 1,000-hour programs. The school cites advanced bodywork courses, specialty clinics, and research applications among the advantages of the longer program. Cortiva-Tucson has been assigned a code by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This means graduates are positioned to take the Board certification exam (and potentially earn a distinction beyond licensing).
The Arizona School of Integrative Studies-Tucson is also an NCBTMB-assigned school. The program is 800 hours. It introduces a variety of massage modalities and also prepares the student to act as assistant in a chiropractic office.
Pima Community College offers a certificate program in therapeutic massage ). Pima Community College is also an AMTA member; AMTA lists the PCC massage therapy program as 925 hours, well in excess of the minimum. PCC students have a small amount of non-massage coursework, including English composition.
Tucson Employers and Practice Options
There are many individuals and organizations providing massage in Tucson. Often individual practices are small, with fewer than half a dozen massage therapists on board.
For many, the process of building and maintaining a clientele is ongoing. Some organizations pose bios of their massage therapists and allow clients to select the therapist of their choice. Many massage therapy clients industry-wide are repeat customers. A massage therapist can build up a base of patients who come back again and again!
Massage therapists often have their bios online. Even the University of Arizona Campus Recreation invites students who are looking for massage to discover the LMT that “best fits their needs” (https://rec.arizona.edu/faq/meet-our-licensed-massage-therapists). Early 2019 found the Department of Campus Recreation advertising a massage position, seeking candidates with strong customer service skills and knowledge of multiple modalities — and touting the UA’s institutional-level recognition as a very desirable employer.
A number of clinics in the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas are under the banner of the Brovitz Group/ Desert Massage Companies. In early 2019, the Brovitz Group advertised multiple Tucson positions, citing benefits such as medical and dental insurance.
Among the other postings: a well-known resort (Canyon Ranch) that sought a part-time massage therapist and a local chiropractic/ injury care center that sought an independent contractor at $27 an hour.
Tucson Massage Therapy Practices
Some Tucson practices have been building their client base for many years. The entrepreneur who founded (and still runs) the Right Touch in Tucson has been featured in In Touch, the newsletter of the American Massage Therapy Association-Arizona (http://az.wp.amtamassage.org/newsletters/). At the time of the article, she was celebrating 30 years in the massage therapy industry. Her business had grown from a single room to three treatment rooms. For the massage therapists she brought on board, she strived to create the type of work environment that she herself thrived in.
The following is a look at some of Tucson’s other successful massage practices:
Peaceful Spirit Massage and Wellness Centers operates out of several locations around Tucson and can also arrange for massage therapists to visit a person’s own home or worksite (dependent on payment of a travel fee). Clients schedule with the massage therapist and pay rates that are differentiated based on LMT experience level; massage therapists maintain a rating appropriate to their level. Spa packages are available from experienced and master’s LMTs. Some specialty massages are offered at a set rate, regardless of experience level. Peaceful Spirit currently has 12 LMTs on board.
Gadabout SalonSpas has five Tucson locations. The focus here is a little different. The organization employs massage therapists as well as professionals with skills in cosmetology, aesthetics, and nail care. Currently clients are offered six types of massage session, including Swedish, prenatal, and Himalayan hot stone. Early 2019 found Gadabout SalonSpas advertising for new talent. Gadabout boasts a long list of employee benefits. Applicants have the option of using a video format to explain why they’re a good fit.
Massage Therapy Earnings
Tucson massage therapists had median hourly earnings of $19.09 in 2017. The range was wide. Those at the 10th percentile made $10.01 while those at the 90th percentile made $45.59.
Tucson Massage Therapists Advancing Healthcare
A number of Tucson massage therapists participated in a research study conducted by the University of Arizona several years back which focused on using complementary and alternative healthcare providers to support clients in tobacco cessation (https://opa.uahs.arizona.edu/newsroom/news/2013/tucson-massage-therapists-complete-training-help-people-quit-tobacco). The UA is now seeking massage therapists to participate in a research study aimed at helping massage therapists educate clients about skin cancer risk (https://www.nursing.arizona.edu/news).
The Arizona Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is a professional resource (http://az.wp.amtamassage.org/). The InTouch newsletter has profiled Tucson massage therapists on multiple occasions; the Winter 2018 edition profiles a Tucson LMT who attended and graduated from the Cortiva Institute after losing an arm to a drunk driver.