Being a massage therapist is becoming a popular career choice for many. People are drawn to the field for many reasons- wanting to help people is one of the main reasons and wanting to have a career where you can make a difference compared to having a corporate job where you often feel like a prisoner at your desk.
The massage school admissions people seem to forget the details though and most do not even know to ask about these kind of things and many of it won’t really matter to most – it is just part of ‘the job’. People want to know if you can make a good living and things like that. Just like any career, the answers depend really more on YOU and your abilities to put everything you learn in massage school together into something that creates a successful massage career.
So here goes: things that they don’t tell you about when thinking about a career in massage
- You will be doing a lot of laundry. Each client requires a fresh set of very clean and sanitized sheets, face covers, bolster covers, pillow cases/covers. 5 clients a day – 5 days a week.
- You will need to know how to fold a fitted sheet (if that is what you choose for your massage sheets- most do)
- There are some really hairy guys out there that will challenge your use of oil/lotion and application methods in order to give an effective massage.
- Yes, You will need to trim your nails really, really short or you will be scratching the client. They will need to be filed smooth and kept that way. Forget long nails, fake nails or fancy nail polish.
- Yes, the big E (erection) happens. Men do weird things – ejaculate on tables, into towels, ask for happy endings, mess up your sheets and will challenge your boundaries.
- You will get clients that have crushes on you, want to date you, want to give you expensive gifts. (Dating clients is illegal in many states and is against the code of ethics of most associations.)
- No you don’t have to take math, but you have to take basic college level anatomy and physiology – science! You need math to do your bookkeeping, taxes and such.
- Clients may come in sick, with runny noses, icky skin conditions, smelly feet, dirty hair and will come in right from the gym/workout sweaty from head to toe and expect you to touch them.
- You will glide through massage school easily and graduate with honors and get a high paying ($45 an hour or more) right away – NOT. Massage school often brings up peoples issues around touch and will often be a big growth process. You will learn more about yourself.
- You want to be a massage therapist because you want to help others. They don’t tell you that helping others is the surest way to end up in burnout and that there are many deeper issues around helping others that are more about you than anything else.
What do you wish someone told you about becoming a MT? What did they tell you in the admissions department or during school that you wished you had known about before deciding on a career in massage?