Becoming a Clinical Massage Therapist
Clinical Massage Therapists use hands-on techniques to help in healing injuries, improve muscle function, promote relaxation and increase circulation in the body’s soft tissues. They help people suffering from ailments relating to sports injuries, arthritis, muscle pain or circulatory problems. They may apply medicated liquid on the skin while performing hands-on manipulation of muscle and tissues to provide relief to the people ranging from infants to the elderly. Apart from the manual manipulations, they also give instructions on lifestyle changes and physical exercise for better health. In some cases, they refer the clients to other health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment, if required.
Clinical Massage Therapists may choose to practice independently or work closely with other health care professionals such as physicians, rehabilitation counselors, chiropractors and acupuncturists, among others. These skilled professionals are employed in variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation facilities etc. They work full time.
In order to become a Clinical Massage Therapist, the aspiring candidates need to earn a two-year associate’s degrees in massage therapy. The job aspirants can also get training on therapeutic massage techniques typically ranging from 500 to 800 hours after completing a high school diploma or GED. However, candidates can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree program in massage therapy or any related discipline for better job prospects in this field.
The common syllabus includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, medical terminology, hands-on technique, massage assessment etc.
Certification and Licensure
Since Clinical Massage Therapists are required to be licensed in many states in the USA, the aspiring candidates need to complete a training program and pass an examination. The candidates can also obtain exam-based certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
Besides clinical knowledge, Clinical Massage Therapists possess various traits such as excellent manual skills, empathy towards patient, ability to maintain a proactive approach to work activities, motivating abilities, high medical ethics, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, high level of stamina to stand for long period of time, basic computer knowledge etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Clinical Massage Therapist remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 23% during 2012-2022, higher than average for all occupations. The average annual salary of a Clinical Massage Therapist was $35,920 in May 2012.