Choosing the right school is one of the most critical factors in the ultimate success of your massage practice. It determines not only what and how you learn the fundamentals and techniques of massage but also how you operate your practice and whom you network with along the way.
You also have to be cautious to avoid the all-too-often, too-good-to-be-true sales pitches that some schools offer. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the best school for you:
There’s more to a successful massage institute than merely teaching classes. A school is, after all, a business and it needs to be run like one. It must be fiscally responsible, appropriately staffed, attentive to student needs, and responsible in meeting state and industry-related compliance requirements. There is a whole hidden understructure to schools that most students don’t see.
Many schools, though sound in instruction, have been forced to close because they weren’t managed efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, graduates, who may need the school for credentials and support after graduation, have experienced costly and negative consequences because they can no longer rely on an institution that was mismanaged.
Some schools feature staff who just recently obtained their licensing. While they may be adequate to teach in most areas, we all know there is much more to an outstanding instructor than just knowledge and a basic understanding of terms and techniques.
Familiarity over time and real-world experience make the difference between an average instructor and an exceptional instructor — not only knowing the “what” and “how” of massage, but also the “why” and “what if.” Who do you think will provide the better training: someone who just learned the skill or someone who has taught techniques for several years and is continuing to learn more and more?
Does the school you’re considering do everything it can to accommodate the busy work schedules of its students or does it merely offer a standard, one-size-fits-all curriculum? Some students, who are required to work in addition to taking classes, must maneuver their lives between work, home, and school. Others, who have chosen to take time off of work to obtain their license, still find it a challenge to balance classes with their busy schedules.
The best schools offer a flexible schedule of classes and times that include the widest selection of courses. Schools with rigid class schedules and limited curriculum either don’t have the resources to accommodate these benefits for students or don’t consider them a priority.
The wise prospective student will know the fair price for quality education. You get what you pay for, right? They will also know that it’s the total cost that really matters to students and that some schools tack on hidden fees, which make the overall price tag balloon over time.
Not only are the best schools transparent and open with all tuition and costs, many also offer programs and incentives that cut costs and ease the financial burden for students. Programs such as cash incentives for referring students are excellent ways to minimize costs and monetarily motivate students.
The objective of a school shouldn’t be to merely collect tuition and teach classes. The exceptional school makes sure that students are not only equipped to be a massage professional but also a successful business person.
A school that truly invests in its students is willing to work with them during their studies and beyond, including post-graduate business experience in how to start and run a massage practice.
It also includes being able to seek advice from school staff on challenging and unusual client issues that weren’t discussed in class. Massage is an ongoing process and industry. Having a network of professionals experienced and knowledgeable in business and the massage industry is a great resource for alumni.
The massage school you select for your training and post-graduate partnering will play a large role in your education and success as a massage specialist. The best choice is an institution that is time tested, professionally run, talent-rich, and responsive to students.
Andrew Alexander is the owner and CEO of Healing Hands Massage Institute (HHMI), located in Dallas, Texas. Established in 2013, HHMI is a premier massage therapy school where students can receive hands-on instruction in the art and science of massage from experienced and skilled staff while also learning the pragmatics of how to establish and sustain a successful massage practice. You can learn more about them at www.myhhmi.com.