by Ariana Vincent, CEO of the Ariana Institute
What to Look for in a Massage Therapy Instructor’s Course
The first step would be to research and decide whether you prefer an online MTI course or a course that is offered in a classroom environment. Many people prefer an online course since the information presented in an MTI course is cognitive in nature and the online format lends itself well to cognitive classes, while other students prefer personal interactions in a classroom setting. There are also financial considerations to be contemplated; the tuition for an online course is usually less expensive than a classroom course. Online courses also take less time away from income producing activities while accomplishing the goal of successfully completing an MTI course and beginning a career as an MTI. Here is a testimonial from a student, “I was fully challenged to retain and learn new information. This course was accessible to me online which I love because I don’t have the time for traveling for CEs. Thank you so much giving LMTs like me the opportunity to excel in business and in life. Completing this course makes me feel self-sufficient. Thank you!” – Sabrina Quebe, LMT, MTI
Once the choice has been made regarding the online vs. classroom option, the next step would be to research instructors and review their qualifications and certifications in order to verify the course is being offered by someone who is well qualified to teach. Visit the instructor’s website, read his or her biography and confirm whether or not the instructor is nationally approved and approved in states that mandate MTI education. Look at the instructor’s educational background and see how long he or she has been teaching. Review testimonials from previous students and colleagues. If, after reviewing this information, you find that there are still unanswered questions regarding the instructor’s qualifications, send an e-mail or make a phone call and interview the instructor prior to registering for the MTI course.
Once you’ve determined that the instructor is well qualified and properly credentialed, the next phase in researching the MTI course would be to verify that the content of the course is centered on what you find meaningful, which might include the teaching process, classroom activities, lesson planning, technology in the classroom, developing assessments, learning strategies and theories, and marketing strategies. After researching the MTI course information on the website, if you have any unanswered questions regarding course content, contact the instructor and ask for a copy of the table of contents or an overview of the materials covered.
If you are looking for an in-depth MTI course, determine whether or not the MTI course you are considering is designed for massage therapy professionals who desire to become effective massage therapy instructors as well as for current massage therapy instructors who desires to enhance and improve their skills. If you prefer an in-depth course rather than one that just fulfills the mandated requirements and offers an acceptable certificate of completion, choose the more comprehensive course. Here is a testimonial from an MTI student, “I thought the course was organized well. It certainly was challenging, at times, which I appreciate, but not to the point of discouragement. I feel as though Ariana Institute gave me the tools to expand my knowledge and skills. I am proud to have been a part of this program and will enjoy passing on my passion of massage therapy to the new generation of professional massage therapists. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.” – Denise J. Glabau, LMT, MTI.
Choosing an MTI course is a multifactorial process that can be determined by contemplating your preferred learning style, your budget, your professional goals, your instructor’s qualifications, the value of the course content, and your anticipated return on investment of time and money. Many of my MTI students love being able to stay in the same profession in a different role, and they enjoy the balance they find in their lives as they focus on offering massage therapy to their clients and offering massage classes to their students.
My suggestion at this point in the decision to extend your education as an MTI is to project into the future and contemplate the images you have about your life once your have completed your MTI course. Visualize yourself teaching, imagine your classrooms, the students who are drawn to you, the subjects you will be teaching, the changes in your income stream, and think about your own feelings of self-worth as you let your light shine and contribute to the world in a meaningful way through your new role as an educator.
Now that the groundwork has been laid, we will next explore the requirements for becoming an MTI in some of the states that have rules and regulations for massage educators.
Requirements for Becoming a Massage Therapy Instructor
The requirements for becoming a MTI vary from state to state throughout the U.S. The majority of states have no requirements for MTIs. Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana do have specific regulations regarding MTI qualifications. New York will only recognize CE from sponsors or instructors who are sponsored by an approved entity, such as NCBTMB.
Texas is one of the few states that mandates specific guidelines for becoming an MTI. In Texas, in order to offer technique classes outside of the umbrella of a massage school, the MTI must also be an approved Continuing Education Provider and that requires a separate application and additional fees. 2014 statistics show that there are approximately 325,000 Licensed Massage Therapists in the U.S. and there are approximately 28,000 Licensed Massage Therapists in Texas. There are approximately 1,311 Massage Therapy Instructors in Texas. Unfortunately, Texas, and many other states, do not require mandatory reporting of CE credits by providers or by massage therapists and this has a significant negative influence on the level of advanced education in the massage community.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Massage Therapy Division, lists the requirements for becoming an MTI in Texas at: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/massage/mt_ainstructor.shtm.
“To qualify for licensure as a massage therapy instructor, a person shall:
(1) be a licensed massage therapist;
(2) have a high school diploma, a general equivalence diploma or a transcript from an accredited college or university showing successful completion of at least 12 semester hours;
(3) submit a statement of assurance that the licensee has been engaged in the practice of massage therapy for at least one-year and has conducted 500 hours of hands-on experience (does not include internship hours). Hours accumulated while holding a provisional license can be applied to the requirements of this paragraph; and
(4) complete a 30-hour course on teaching adult learners. Courses attended may include an instructional certification program, a college level course in teaching adult learners, a continuing education course in teaching adult learners, or an advanced program approved by the department in teaching the course of instruction.”
The provisional license referred to in item 3 above is described by the Texas Department of State Health Services as follows:
Sec. 455.1572. PROVISIONAL LICENSE.
(a) The department may issue a provisional license to an applicant for licensing as a massage therapist or massage therapy instructor currently licensed or registered in another jurisdiction who seeks a license in this state and who:
(1) has been licensed or registered in good standing as a massage therapist or massage therapy instructor, as applicable, for at least two years in another jurisdiction, including a foreign country, that has licensing or registration requirements substantially equivalent to the requirements of this chapter;
(2) has passed a national or other examination recognized by the department relating to the practice of massage therapy; and
(3) is sponsored by a person licensed by the department under this chapter with whom the provisional license holder will practice during the time the person holds a provisional license.
(b) The department may waive the requirement of Subsection (a)(3) for an applicant if the department determines that compliance with that subsection would be a hardship to the applicant.
(c) A provisional license is valid until the date the department approves or denies the provisional license holder’s application for licensing.
The department shall issue a license under this chapter to the provisionally licensed person if the person:
(1) is eligible for a license under Section 455.1571; or
(2) passes the part of the examination under Section 455.101 that relates to the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the laws and rules relating to the practice of massage therapy in this state and:
(A) the department verifies that the person meets the academic and experience requirements for licensing under this chapter; and
(B) the person satisfies any other licensing requirements under this chapter.
(d) The department must approve or deny a provisionally licensed person’s application for a license not later than the 180th day after the date the provisional license is issued. The department may extend the 180-day period if the results of an examination have not been received by the department before the end of that period.
(e) The department may establish a fee for a provisional license in an amount reasonable and necessary to cover the cost of issuing the license.
Arkansas regulates Massage Therapy Instructors. The following information is listed as part of the Arkansas Massage Therapy Laws, 2013, at: http://www.arkansasmassagetherapy.com/documents/Arkansas%20Massage%20Therapy%20Law%2011%2019%2013.pdf.
“(6)(A) ‘Massage therapy instructor’ means a person who:
(i) Before July 1, 2010, has completed no less than two hundred fifty (250) hours of practical experience as a master massage therapist, which may be gained, in part or in whole, as an assistant to an instructor in a massage school or may be gained, in part or in whole, as a directed instructor in a massage school and has completed no less than two hundred fifty (250) continuing education hours as approved by the board;
(ii) On or after July 1, 2010, has been an active and practicing licensee and registered as a master massage therapist for a period of not less than three (3) years preceding the application for an upgrade to massage therapy instructor;
(iii) On or after July 1, 2010, in addition to the experience under subdivision (6)(A)(i) of this section, has completed no less than two hundred fifty (250) continuing education hours as approved by the board as a licensed master massage therapist; and
(iv) Is determined by the board to be qualified to be licensed and registered to practice massage therapy.
(B) “Massage therapy instructor” includes a person who has previously obtained the massage therapy instructor license under prior state law.
(C) Massage therapy instructors may:
(i) Instruct board-approved continuing education programs;
(ii) Instruct any of the procedures in subdivision (5) of this section; and
(iii) Instruct basic curricula in a board-registered massage therapy school as required by § 17-86-306(e).”
Louisiana’s regulations for MTIs can be found at the following site: https://www.labmt.org/site312.php. The following qualifications are for persons who wish to teach at a massage therapy school in Louisiana.
“A. A person desiring to be approved as a massage therapy instructor of a specific massage therapy technique or clinical practicum-related modality shall submit evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the applicant has met one of the following:
- that the person is a currently licensed therapist in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy; and
- that the person has lawfully practiced massage therapy for at least four years, or has grandfathered in as stated in Subsection B below; and
- that the person has completed at least two times the hours of training in which he/she is responsible in the specific module, except that this Subparagraph shall not apply to instruction of basic Swedish and/or relaxation massage therapy.
B. A person may be grandfathered in as an instructor, if the person has:
- applied for and paid for a license as an instructor on board approved applications within 45 days of promulgation of rule;
- is currently approved by the Board of Regents; and
- is a licensed massage therapist currently in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy.
C. A person desiring to be approved as an instructor of anatomy lecture, physiology lecture, or kinesiology lecture shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual either:
- is a licensed massage therapist in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy and has lawfully practiced massage therapy for at least four years; or
- has a minimum of an associates or bachelor’s degree from a college or university which is accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in one of the following: anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, sports medicine, exercise physiology, nursing, education with a concentration in biology or a substantially equivalent major; or
- is a licensed physician (MD), osteopath, chiropractor, or registered nurse.
D. A person desiring to be certified as an instructor of business practices and marketing shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual either:
- has a least four years of experience as a full-time practicing massage therapist and owner/operator of a valid massage therapy establishment; or
- has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university which is accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in business, marketing, or a substantially equivalent major.
E. A person desiring to be certified as an instructor of Louisiana Law, and Rules and Regulations, Ethics, pertaining to massage therapy shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual either:
- is a licensed massage therapist in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy and has lawfully practiced massage therapy for a least four years; or
- holds a valid license to practice law in Louisiana as evidence by a certificate from the Supreme Court of Louisiana that the individual is a member in good standing of a bar of that court.
F. A person desiring to be approved as an instructor of first aid, safety, hygiene or sanitary practices shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual either:
- is a licensed massage therapist in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy and has lawfully practiced massage therapy for at least four years; or
- is licensed as a registered nurse; or
- has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university which is accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in nursing, or a substantially equivalent major.
G. A person desiring to be certified as an instructor of hydrotherapy shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual is a licensed massage therapist in good standing with the Board of Massage Therapy and has lawfully practiced massage therapy for at least four years.
H. A person desiring to be approved as an instructor of CPR shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Board of Massage Therapy that the individual has been certified by the American Red Cross or The American Heart Association as an instructor in these topics.
I. A person desiring to be approved as an instructor of AIDS/HIV and infectious disease awareness shall produce evidence satisfactory to the board that the individual has been certified by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an AIDS/HIV counselor.”
New York Requirements
New York has its own requirements for being approved as a Continuing Education Provider. NCBTMB is approved as New York CE sponsor, and can help navigate the application process. The New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, has instituted new requirements for continuing education (CE) and CE instructors. New York will only recognize CE from sponsors or instructors who are sponsored by an approved entity. NCBTMB is pleased to be an approved sponsor for continuing education in New York. If you wish to be sponsored by NCBTMB and are not a current Board-Approved Continuing Education Provider, complete and submit the Board-Approved Continuing Education Provider Application and the NCBTMB New York Sponsor Approved Provider Agreement.
The other end of the spectrum is California. According to the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), “We don’t require or regulate continuing education. So, essentially anybody could teach that if he or she wanted. There really is no such thing in California as independent massage instructor. It would be up to the organization accepting the hours on whether they approved them or not. All hours for CAMTC certification must come from approved schools, so we only oversee instructors at those schools.” This lack of regulation of continuing education is noteworthy in a state that continues to lead the pack in the number of massage therapists, with an estimated 42,000 massage therapists in California in 2010, out of approximately 300,000 massage therapists nationwide that year.
Now that we have explored regulations and requirements in several states, consideration will be given to the steps you can take to develop your career as an MTI. In my next blog post, we will continue our conversation on starting your career as a massage therapy instructor as well as the opportunities available to you after the completion of your certification and training.
The information above includes excerpts for an article “Positive Influence: Become a Massage Therapy Instructor,” by Ariana Vincent, originally published in the June 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
See more at: http://www.massagemag.com/my-path-to-becoming-a-massage-therapy-instructor-30192/
To learn more about an MTI course and to register for the Ariana Institute’s online MTI course, visit: http://www.arianainstitute.com/CE/mti.htm