Massage Therapy Schools in Vermont: Selecting the right school
Vermont boasts multiple massage therapy schools that meet generally accepted standards. The state has a rich tradition of training practitioners in Asian bodywork as well as Western massage. It does not have as many regulatory controls in place as the average state, but there are multiple organizations that can guide students in selecting schools such as this.
Select a Vermont Massage Therapy School Topic:
- The Massage School Curriculum
- State and National Resources
- Other Massage Therapy Program Considerations
- Massage Therapy License Requirements in Vermont
- Beyond Massage School: Salary and Career Development
The Massage School Curriculum
There are some general expectations around the nation. Students can expect a grounding in relevant human sciences, including anatomy and physiology and pathology.
Practical application is taught live and in-person. It typically begins with basic manipulative techniques. Swedish massage is often considered the foundation of Western practice; it is a very common offering. Programs may also teach students to use energy systems and specific points in the body. This could be anything from acupressure to modern trigger point therapy. The school may teach a variety of modalities, including those that have been developed for different types of modern setting and lifestyle. Examples include sports massage and chair massage; the latter makes massage possible at special events and in corporate settings.
Massage students should also receive some instruction in caring for themselves as practitioners. While some forms of bodywork rely on light touch, traditional massage can be physically grueling for a practitioner; personal body mechanics can help make a long career possible.
A massage therapy student will learn how to be a responsible practitioner, recognizing massage contraindications, maintaining adequate records, employing hygienic practices, ensuring modesty, and resolving the ethics and boundary issues that sometimes come up in massage.
The program may include student clinic and/ or internship experiences out in the community. Some institutions are thought of primarily as massage practices, though they have a secondary function of providing schooling.
500 hours is generally regarded as a minimum standard. Vermont programs are often 600 or more hours. Programs can be organized in different ways. There may be electives. The school may utilize a modular approach.
State and National Resources
There are multiple resources to help students find appropriate schools.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation has provided general information about short-term non-credit programs (http://www.vsac.org/plan/searching-for-a-college/career-training-certificates). If a school website has a badge denoting the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, students may qualify for state financial assistance.
While not the same as accreditation, participation in professional associations confers a certain legitimacy. Professional associations have some standards for members, though they do not carry out the extensive site reviews that accrediting agencies do. Possibly the best known is the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Vermont has two schools that are AMTA members. One Vermont school boasts membership in the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA).
Some Vermont employers look for massage therapists who hold board certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. A massage therapist who seeks this credential will need to meet several beyond entry-level standards; among these is accrual of 750 total educational hours. Vermont has NCBTMB-approved programs that include fewer than 750 hours. This is also the case in other jurisdictions. The difference can be made up through college coursework or approved continuing education credits. Vermont has a number of approved providers, including some that are not schools in the traditional sense. Massage therapists can learn techniques like Thai massage or acupressure or target their learning to specific parts of the body; they can do substantial blocks of CEs in areas such as shen or reiki.
Other Massage Therapy Program Considerations
Vermont boasts multiple hybrid programs that include some coursework that is conducted online. Hybrid programs can be a convenience; the student will still get plenty of in-person instruction in the actual techniques. Prospective massage therapy students who will be seeking licensure in states other than Vermont, though, may want to consider how the school measures up to the other state’s standards. Some are very specific about the number of in-person classroom hours that students receive.
By the same token, very specialized training programs — shiatsu – may not be license-qualifying in all jurisdictions. Those who will be staying close to home, though, can enjoy the diverse and flexible options — and flaunt that certificate. Vermont employers often do specify that massage therapists have graduated from massage school.
Some prospective practitioners live closer to schools in other states. So long as the program is legitimate – that is, qualifying in its own jurisdiction – it will likely be adequate. (Practitioners should be aware that local municipalities, though, can set their own requirements.)
After Graduation: Job Outlook and Average Salary
The prediction is for Vermont massage therapist employment levels to increase 12.3% across the 2014 to 2024 decade. The Northern Vermont metropolitan area is among the highest in the nation for both job concentration and employment levels; this is when measured against other nonmetropolitan areas (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319011.htm).
With a mean hourly wage of $27.53, Vermont massage therapists have the third highest pay in the nation. Job concentration is well above the national average, though total employment levels are of course lower than in many states.
There is relative parity of wages in different parts of the state, though the Southern nonmetropolitan area posts a slightly lower average. The median is $24.81 here. In the Burlington/ South Burlington area, it is $27.55 and in the Northern nonmetropolitan area, it is $28.33. Massage therapists at the 10th percentile, salary-wise, make between $16.50 and $17.50 an hour in each reporting district; those at the 90th percentile make between $38 and $39.