A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Wyoming: No School Required, But....

’Om on the Range’: That's what one Casper entrepreneur calls her therapeutic massage and yoga business (http://omontherangewyo.com/massage/alaina-binfet-cmt/). It’s a name that sticks with a person, but success in the massage therapy world isn’t just about marketing and clever phrases -- this particular practitioner has significant education, having completed a 650-hour massage therapy course, a 200-hour yoga training course, and a degree in health science. This may be more than the norm for a career in massage therapy -- but there is indeed a norm, even in a rural part of the nation.

Select a Wyoming Massage Therapy School Topic:

Massage Licensure Not Required in WY

Wyoming is one of the few states that doesn't license massage therapists and doesn't set minimum standards (at least at the state level). In Wyoming, one can sometimes work their way into the massage therapy industry without formal credentials, but employers often do ask for them. Sometimes they even want third party certification.

Massage Therapy Education Standards to Become a Massage Therapist

Standard setters almost invariably place the minimum program length at at least 500 hours. Some, though, recommend 625 or more. The two states with the highest requirements, New York and Nebraska, actually set their standards at 1,000 hours. Unless one plans to pack up and head to one of those states, one generally doesn’t need that much schooling, at least not at the start. Massage therapists continue to build their professional expertise through advanced certificate programs or other continuing education. There can be a blurry line between initial and continuing education -- more so in massage therapy than in degreed professions. Students will need to complete an initial program that is clearly labeled as such, but additional courses can come from any of many sources.

What does one need to know to become a massage therapist? The basics include the fundamentals of human body systems, general massage and bodywork techniques, common modalities, and various concepts related to professional practice and professional standards. A practitioner will need an understanding of sanitation and infection control and will need to be competent with draping (unless he or she is practicing only forms of massage where clients are fully clothed). Other important concepts include contraindications (knowing when massage or bodywork techniques wouldn't be safe or useful) and body mechanics (being able to work other people's bodies without throwing one's own body out of whack). A prospective therapist will need to practice on others -- at minimum, on fellow students -- under appropriate supervision and guidance. A student may have the opportunity to practice on more than just fellow students. Student clinics are common. Members of the public are often very willing to let students give them their massages when they can pay less than the going rate!

Coursework in the above content areas will go a long way toward ensuring competent practice. There is a lot more than one may one need to know, though, to build a successful career. Practitioners may want to develop expertise in a variety of bodywork modalities including those that are effective with special populations. People may benefit from specialized techniques for a variety of reasons: They may be medically fragile or close to delivery, may suffer from complex and difficult-to-treat medical conditions, or may be trying to excel in the world of sports.

Therapists may want advanced knowledge of different body systems, for example fascia. They may also seek expertise in closely related modalities such as hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and superficial warming. They may want to know the ins and outs of how to create a luxurious spa experience, how to build relationships in the healthcare world, how to make it as a self-proprietor, and/ or how to convince the community (and the world beyond) that massage is research-backed healthcare. The list goes on and on.

Selecting a Therapeutic Massage Program

A student will need to ensure that a school is legitimate. Wyoming licenses post-secondary schools, including vocational schools and proprietary schools that don't offer traditional academic credit. The Department of Education website includes contact information for ‘Private School Licensing’ (https://edu.wyoming.gov/beyond-the-classroom/school-programs/private-school-licensing).

Accreditation can confer advantages. Institutional membership in organizations such as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is not the same as accreditation, but professional organizations have some standards.

Voluntary board certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork can be a boon for one’s career. Wyoming has one assigned school, housed in a state school. Completion of an assigned program is the only standard pathway. A student who does not attend an assigned program may eventually have the opportunity to test for certification, following portfolio review.

A therapeutic massage student may come away with a degree, though it is not mandatory. Three are diploma, certificate and AAS options in Wyoming. A person who chooses the community college option can spend two semesters earning a certificate or four semesters earning an associate’s degree.

Sometimes it is necessary to go away to school, but, for therapeutic massage, the timeframe is shorter than it is for many healthcare careers. A person may choose to go in-state or out-of-state. It is common for schools to have evening classes, but some also offer weekend options.

Career Outlook and Average Salary

Wyoming massage therapists make a median $19.53 an hour, accordingly to the BLS. Those at the 10th percentile make $8.21; those at the 90th percentile, $38.69. The median salary for the Southwest Wyoming nonmetropolitan area is significantly lower than that of the state as a whole, but those at the high end of the wage scale are apparently earning good money; both the 75th percentile wage and the 90th percentile wage are very slightly above those of the state as a whole.

Wyoming massage therapy employment has been projected to increase by 12.6% over the course of the 2014 to 2024 decade.