If you are considering becoming a massage therapist in Texas, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before you take the leap into this career.
While many people believe that all massage therapists offer the same services, and there are few licenses and certifications required, that’s not exactly true.
It’s important to know what you’re getting into before choosing this career path, and our guide on how to become a massage therapist in Texas can help you with everything from school options to certification exams to job outlooks.
1) Call The Austin Independent School District (AISD)
The Austin Independent School District is one of the largest school districts in Texas. For more information about education requirements for becoming a massage therapist, we recommend starting by calling an Austin ISD counselor at 512-414-6600.
You can also call their main number at 512-414-6400. NOTE: It may be best to make an appointment before calling them, as they will have very limited time to spend on any given call and likely won’t have time to talk to you until after all walk-ins are taken care of.
2) Take Additional Courses Or Classes At Your College/University
As a massage therapy student, you’ll want to seek out professional help and support. Talk to your professors, get recommendations from alumni in your area of interest and use these connections to find additional courses or classes you can take while pursuing your degree.
In doing so, you can learn everything from marketing to business and sales techniques, which will all be valuable assets when you’re ready to launch your own business.
Not only that, but taking courses in areas outside of what’s required for your degree will also show future clients that you have a wide range of interests and skills—which is important because part of getting into medical school (for example) is proving that you are knowledgeable about more than just massage therapy.
3) Find A Job That Will Help Pay For Your Education
If you’re considering massage therapy school, and want to become a massage therapist in TX, you’ll need to look for a job. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Remember that some of the most successful people never finished college.
Look for a part-time job that will allow you to help pay for your education. This will also give you a chance to practice your skills and see if massage therapy is something you really want to do.
Some places even offer full scholarships or grants so they can attract more qualified candidates. There are many ways out there – use them!
4) Research Programs And Schools That Will Qualify You For Licensure
If you want to become a massage therapist in Texas, you’ll need to complete a state-approved training program that covers all of your bases. The first step to doing so is research. Find out which programs meet state and national standards, as well as what requirements are needed for licensure.
If you’re looking for an easy way to start your search, reach out to schools like the Western Institute of Health Sciences (WIHS) with experienced trainers who will make sure that you have everything it takes from start to finish.
5) Get All Required Paperwork Ready
Be sure to gather all of your paperwork and information together ahead of time. You’ll need your official transcripts, copies of any licenses or certificates that you hold from other states, scores from standardized exams (like Praxis), proof of citizenship/legal presence, and references.
Find out which credentials are accepted by each board—just because you’ve had a license in another state doesn’t mean it will transfer over. For example, California requires at least 2 years experience as a massage therapist to get licensed but New York only requires 1 year of experience.
6) Register With The State Board Of Massage Therapy Examiners (SBOTE)
The SBOTE is a state-level agency that’s responsible for granting licenses to massage therapists. All you need to do is register and pay a fee, which varies depending on your type of license. For instance, if you get a salesperson’s permit, it costs $150.
But if you want to perform therapeutic massage, such as deep tissue work or hot stone massages, it costs $300—and that registration lasts for five years.
Once you complete your application and are approved by a SBOTE official—which can take less than 24 hours in some cases—you can practice legally. So start collecting paperwork and keep reading…
7) Get Certified By The National Certification Board For Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
Many states require massage therapists to be licensed, certified or registered. The NCBTMB is a recognized board that offers education and training on these criteria.
Ask your state’s governing body for a list of approved classes and other relevant information about getting started as a massage therapist in your state.
You may also want to contact schools offering certificates or associate’s degrees in massage therapy that are accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by NCBTMB.
8) Register With The Texas Department Of Licensing And Regulation (TDLR)
After you’ve decided to pursue becoming a massage therapist in Texas, it’s time to register with TDLR. All individuals who perform massage therapy services for compensation within Texas must obtain a license from TDLR.
Licensed massage therapists in Texas must renew their licenses every two years, and can do so at any time before expiration.
Licenses are renewed without taking an exam provided you submit all of your renewal paperwork prior to expiration. If you fail to renew your license within one year after it expires, then you must retake and pass both parts of the licensing exam in order to be relicensed by TDLR.
9) Don’t Forget Liability Insurance… Maybe…
Insurance is important, but if you’re just starting out, you don’t want to get bogged down in coverage and deductibles. Since massage therapists often work independently in clinics or salons, general liability insurance may be enough to protect your assets.
If you offer advanced modalities such as reflexology or sports massage—which can both include special risks—you may want more comprehensive coverage. Just remember that policies vary by state and insurer, so shop around to make sure you get what’s right for your practice.
Whether you go with a reputable carrier directly through your local chapter of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) or find an independent agent online, consider asking friends who are also business owners for their recommendations before settling on a company.
If you love helping people and want to grow a truly unique skill set, massage therapy might be a great career choice for you. Although it requires quite a bit of schooling and professional certification, massage therapists make well over $50,000 per year.
Many states are struggling with workforce shortages in specific professions, which makes opportunities for new practitioners bright. With proper training and certification as a licensed massage therapist (LMT), there’s no reason why you can’t find steady work at places like hospitals or spas.
You might even open your own private practice one day! LMT jobs are predicted to increase by 30% over the next decade or so—and demand is expected to outpace supply by 2020.