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Hey guys, 

I am thinking about going back to school to get licensed in massage therapy. I have worked as a personal trainer for several years now and will be opening my own private personal training studio in the next year or two.

I have been very interested in massage therapy for the 4-5 years and think having that service available for clients would be very beneficial as well.

I am not concerned with the academic portion of massage schooling, as I already have an extensive background in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology ext. (from a bachelors in Exercise Phys). I would definitely say that I am passionate about this kind of work as well, so that isn't a concern either.

A few concerns I do have are:

1. I am a guy and I know many clients prefer female therapists.

2. Time. It takes about a year of full time schooling to get licensed and with my busy schedule it would be tough to accommodate that.  

3. Money. Not only would I be making less money while getting licensed but I would have to pay off the 11,000 after completing the program. I am not sure that the amount of money I would make from offering massage therapy would even cover the cost of the loans after the program completion. 

So... what do you guys think? Does anyone have experience doing both massage therapy and personal training? 

I am leaning towards getting licensed but I am still not 100 percent sure. 

Thanks guys

Btw. My PT website is commencefitness.com if anyone is curious 

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Hi Jeff,

I had similar thoughts at one time but in reverse. I am already a massage therapist and was looking at personal training. While it's true that male therapists typically have to face gender bias I know several male therapists that have a loyal clientele. The time commitment and expense is large but I think if you go into it with an eye toward carving out a niche you would do fine. For example I am a medical massage therapist (I can do relaxation as well) and my personal training focus would have been with those clients that are mobility challenged in some way. There are about 250 different massage modalities you just need to decide how you want to add to your training and find the modalities that would work for you. Look at your current clients as a starting point or think about the type of client you want to attract. If you work on athletes then sports massage and similar specialties would be your focus. Massage school gives you the basics after that your CE courses are up to you. Building massage clients is the same as building training clients.....takes some time.

Jeff, I became a CPT in '82 while training for and competing in bodybuilding competitions. With poor genetics as a base (at 32 I weighed a whopping 112#), I needed to learn everything I could about human anatomy. When I wasn't in the gym working out or earning a living, I studied: for entertainment because I enjoy learning, to satisfy my curiosity about the human life form, to build the best physique my body could produce.   Because it was a natural step in my progression, I took the test and became a CPT.  Never earned a lot with the certification-- i was too busy building my own body to pursue it as a career: Mostly, I gave the hard-earned expertise away to anyone who asked me for advice.

In a decade of competing I won numerous local titles; at 40 I won the Mr Georgia, the Southeastern Mr America and IFBB South American Bodybuilding Championship, Masters class.  Having to care for children and wife and buy expensive supplements to become all I could be, also at 40 I became an OTR trucker.  Can't train for competition when you're home for only two days per week.  I never earned with it, but maintained my CPT for 20 of the 25 years I trucked for a living.

When I retired from commercial semi trucking, I fulfilled a life-long dream and enrolled in a degree program in massage therapy-- not one year but two, not $11k but $34k in student loans.  I enjoyed every moment of my classes and graduated summa cum laude (GPA 4.0. actual grade 98.9). 

The benefits my professional massage therapist license has given me far transcend the dollars and cents earned.  Buddy, when a client comes stiffly in the door, pain reflected in their eyes, and leaves an hour later the smile on their lips and appreciation in their eyes is worth their weight in platinum.

Don't enroll in massage school thinking you might earn barrels of money.  A small percentage do achieve great wealth.  But the average independent LMT earns under $20k per year giving massage.  Working for others, the income value of the license varies greatly, from a Massage Envy's $15 commissions to their LMTs, to the $100+ commissions per session paid by casino spas.  A close friend of mine, Gordon Wallis, exceptionally skilled, highly educated after more than 30 years of studying and treating muscular dysfunction, has not become a wealthy massage therapist, but he earns a good living.  Me? I was already a senior citizen when I became a professional, saddled with a huge student debt.  The damage I did to my body during my decade of competitive bodybuilding is making itself known: arthritis in hands and knees and aching shoulders, and the natural ravages of time on endocrine glands is not yet limiting my abilities, but is impacting the volume of work I can do.

You're considerably younger, and your loan will be 1/3 of the nut hanging over my head.  So, if you have a yearning desire to serve people...to relieve pain and suffering, to, as CPT, to help people achieve healthy bodies through exercise, then, please GO FOR IT.  If, however, you are unsure whether you have the desire to do this even if you had to do it for free, then, please don't.  Nothing wrong with wanting to earn a respectable income; it's a necessity in today's world. 

As a skilled CPT also licensed in therapeutic massage, buddy, you would be a valuable addition to both  professions.  So, I hope you do.

P.S.:  On Facebook, my professional page (Gary W Addis, LMT) you can see photos of me in competitive shape in '85.  My friend and mentor, Gordon Wallis has a running thread in Massage Professionals' forum called "A Typical Experience". 

Some really good advice here guys. I appreciate the help. Like I said before, I most likely will aim to get licensed in the near future. 

Does anyone know the approximate cost of what it takes to stay licensed and and insured year to year?  

Jeff, there is no national licensing, it is regulated by the states individually.  In some, renewal is less than the initial licensing, but almost all then tack on the necessity of obtaining CEUs-- MS, GA, FL, we're required to earn 24 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 2 year license period.  Depending on the CEU provider and subject studied, this can cost from a couple of hundred to a thousand or so.  But by then you will have been earning with your license, and the new skills earned will increase your value monetarily to yourself and to your clients' health.

It depends on your state. Some do not require any CEs and others do. In some states you are required to be a member of a massage association to keep your license. ABMP runs about $200 per year and gives you all kinds of advice, info and marketing things. I only have to renew my state license every four years and it's about $100. You can get on your state's website and find the info for where you are in their licensing section.

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