There was a time when getting a massage was considered a luxury, something to experience only for special occasions or reserved for those with the means to indulge. Times are changing. Massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted as part of sports performance programs, ageing care, general health and wellness, and preventative care. Massage therapy is now offered, recommended and sometimes prescribed by doctors’ offices, chiropractors and widely available at health clubs and over 55 communities. And affordable options at massage therapy chains have made the service in very high demand.
While this growth in availability and affordability seems great for clients, the bad news is the number of licensed massage therapists are decreasing. There are a few reasons, including the natural cycle of any profession. The career of a massage therapist has a life span and so maturing therapists are retiring and no longer in the workforce. The second reason the number of therapists has decreased is that the number of massage therapy training programs are at the lowest point since 2000. Unfortunately, many massage schools are shutting down because most students find it difficult to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get a massage education. Today’s demands on our everyday lives makes it really difficult for anyone to looking to get into the industry to stop everything and dedicate 9 – 12 months and 6 hours a day to attend a brick-and-mortar massage therapy school. The old model of training just isn’t working to fill the urgent need for new massage therapists.
The combination of an increased demand for trained and licensed massage therapists AND the declining number of current therapists means it is a great time to enter into the industry. Almost any spa, clinic, doctor’s office, in an employment opportunity, many needing to fill 5 – 7 positions immediately. This situation has created a great environment for those interested in the massage therapist position with many businesses offering great benefits like scholarships, signing bonuses, benefits, and job security. And potential therapists have even more work environments to choose from as massage therapy has expanded to so many different sectors.
But as long as the older training models remain, it will be difficult to fill those positions. The trend may continue in the wrong direction, with those leaving the industry not being replaced by new therapists that can meet the growing demand.
We believe Massage Therapy Online will make a big difference for the entire industry, both businesses and therapists. The major way we can alleviate the gap between the positions and potential employees is to make the education more affordable and accessible using our model of technology and apprenticeship/in-facility training. By offering our flexible, streamlined online training at an affordable price, we are giving people an opportunity to enter into a profession with a strong demand.