How to Choose the Right Massage School For You

When I interview potential students, I ask what their goals are with a massage career – and then I listen to their answers.  Before I explain more about our program, I’m curious what their long-term goals are when they graduate from Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage.  Trust me, there are many goals out there.  Knowing how to choose the right massage school for you and your goals is as important as getting the education.

When I went to massage school in 2005, I had two primary goals – I wanted to become a massage therapist and I knew I never wanted another boss.  That’s it.

My background was one of an overworked IT Director – supporting 150 computers and 7 servers inShari Aldrich, LMP creator of Stretching for Success 10 offices and 2 states by myself.  I was stressed to the max, and I relished the idea of being my own boss and dealing with 1 person at a time in a quiet  room.

If I was to dig deeper back in 2005, I would have loved the idea of an advanced sports massage program.  I had played sports my whole life – and it was training for the 2004 Seattle Marathon that led me to getting my first massage.

Today, I dig deep to understand why students want to enter this most noble profession.

I also dig deeper to see if potential students of Bodymechanics will be a good fit for our advanced massage program.  Why?  I’ve seen many students who choose a massage school that isn’t a good fit for their goals.  Choosing a school for the wrong reasons leads to dissatisfaction with the program – and students are miserable.

Choose the Right Massage School For You
Questions to ask yourself

When deciding on how to choose the right massage school for you, consider the following questions:

  1. What are your long term goals?
    Do you see yourself working for yourself?
    Do you see yourself as an employee?
    Do you want employees someday?If your long-term goal is to be an employee or to work for a chiropractor/clinic/spa as an employee, consider a school that puts a strong emphasis on being an employee.  A school that doesn’t spend a lot of time on business management tips and tricks would benefit this person.

    The ideal student to choose Bodymechanics School has a strong desire to own their own clinic.  Like me in 2005, they see themselves as their own boss and helping clients get relief.  Their someday goal may – or may not – include a larger clinic with employees.

    In Bodymechanics School, we go through an exercise called “BHAG” – or Big, Hairy Audacious Goal.  Students are encouraged to think BIG 5-10 years from today.  What is their vision for their massage practice?  What does the road look like as you navigate your way to your BHAG?

  2. What type of massage do you want to provide?
    Do you enjoy getting a relaxation massage?
    Do you feel frustrated when you tell your massage therapist that you have pain, but it isn’t addressed during the session?
    Do you receive hot stone massage?
    Are you intrigued by Eastern Medicine?Think of your personal practices with getting massaged.  Do you enjoy a quiet, relaxing massage with little to no emphasis on treating conditions?  If your goal is to give a relaxing massage where there isn’t emphasis on treatment work, then consider a school that will help you reach this goal. A school with a strong emphasis on spa modalities – aroma therapies, hot stone, body wraps, etc would be a good school for you.

    Have you received a massage for a chronic condition (say neck pain) and left feeling unsatisfied with a neck that is still in pain?  Do you enjoy getting questions answered about your body?  Do you like feeling relief from your chronic condition for weeks, rather than the hour that you’re on the table?  If this is the case, consider a school that places emphasis on treatment work.

    Do you enjoy learning about Eastern Medicine and energy modalities?  Is this an important thing for you to learn while going through massage school?  If this is the case, find a school that will incorporate this training while in massage school.

    The ideal student to choose Bodymechanics School has a strong desire to understand complex conditions that their friends and family suffer from.  They are curious about the body.  They enjoy learning the “why” something happens.

    The ideal student of Bodymechanics School will invest their time in learning and understanding complex theories and practice them while a student – and long into their professional careers.

    Bodymechanics School places a strong emphasis on advanced theory based on structure and posture – and how these play a role in client conditions.  Much time is spent studying advanced theories and applying these to treatment protocols.  Many students have “ah-ha” moments for their own painful conditions – as well as their family.  Students leave confident in treatment protocols.

  3. Do you need a regular paycheck?
    An important question to ask as it addresses your risk aversion.  If you see yourself requiring a regular paycheck for peace of mind – then consider a school that prepares you for an entry level massage position.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand this need.  For me, having a solid plan helped me with my goal to “not have a boss ever again” and still earn a livable wage to support my family.However, if the idea of creating your own economy excites you, attending a school like Bodymechanics School that places strong emphasis on running your own business would be a good choice.

    The Bodymechanics Training Center is designed to offer additional training for those who desire the training to run their own business.  We often have students come through our program that want to provide clinical massage and be an employee – and we can help them be prepared for this as well.

    Many come through our program and find that a hybrid situation works for them – plan to work for themselves someday, and be an employee today.  So the business preparation material helps them as well.


  4. Are you entrepreneurial minded?
    Again, look at your risk aversion.  If you never see yourself running your own business – and a Big, Hairy Audacious Goal scares the daylight out of you, you are probably not entrepreneurial minded.  Finding the massage school that will help you reach your goals as an employee is a good idea.  Research schools and see which one has a good program to help you reach your career goals.Bodymechanics School offers many additional classes and mentoring sessions for students and graduates to hone their ideas – to massage them into reality.  Different networking opportunities and community events help students find their audience.

    Our focus on marketing far exceeds requirements with the State of Washington.  We focus on marketing in today’s world – with social media, web site SEO, and other ninja ideas.

    For the student who enjoys building a career that they love, helping people feel better with science based modalities, and an entrepreneurial focus, Bodymechanics School answers the question “how to choose the right massage school for you.”


  5. Do you learn better in larger or smaller class sizes?
    Some schools will enroll many students into their massage program – often adding new students each quarter.  This can lead to large classes of 20-50 (or more) students per class.  When considering a school, ask about class sizes.  With massage therapy, class size is important when students pair up and give and receive massage during class.  Ask how many instructors are in the larger class size.  Will you get the training that you need to be successful?  Will your questions be answered?Bodymechanics School limits class size to 16-18 students.  It is hard to turn students away – but we will not waver from our mission to maintain small classes to ensure students get the best education we can offer.

    Graduate Teacher Assistants are often seen in the Bodymechanics classroom, helping current students while honing their understanding of the information.  Students are able to interact with instructors as much as needed.

The key to knowing how to choose the right massage school for you is far more than choosing the school that is closest to you.  Future goals play a large role in ensuring that you get the best education for YOU.

What is the single most important question that you have regarding Bodymechanics School or the massage profession?  It should be “how to choose the right massage school for you.”
Find your perfect school, find your perfect career – and as they say, you’ll never work another day.

If I can be of assistance – please call or email me.
Committed  to your success

Shari Aldrich, LMP
Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage
Tumwater | Vancouver
(360) 350-0015