Requirements to become a professional massage therapist include getting training at an accredited school that teaches massage therapy techniques, earning a certificate or bachelor's degree, and passing a state licensing exam. Most states require massage licensing applicants to complete a certain number of training hours to be eligible for licensing.
To become a massage therapist, research various private massage therapy schools and public massage therapy programs, and apply for enrollment. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or general education development certificate. After acceptance, take courses to learn common massage techniques such as kneading strokes, friction slides, deep muscle massage and body tapping. Programs often include lessons about human anatomy and physiology. Students can take optional courses to learn specialized massage such as stone massage or sports message.
Additionally, massage practitioners require good communication skills to work on clients from different backgrounds and some business savvy, if working independently. A majority of states require new massage therapists to demonstrate competency through the certification process. Massage therapists can obtain further credibility through board certification. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork offers the highest level of board certification in the industry.
Professionally trained and licensed massage therapists can work at a massage therapist office, medical clinics, hospitals, chiropractic offices and nursing homes. Businesses that often use massage therapists include spas, resorts and fitness centers.