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How to Work as a Massage Therapist in Georgia

October 2, 2014 SBC-Atlanta, Massage Therapy 0 Comments

If you have a healing spirit, communicate well with practically anybody and have strong hands, you might enjoy working as a massage therapist in Georgia. Between sunny, historic Savannah and the Appalachian Mountains set just beyond urbanized Atlanta, the Peach State has plenty to offer.

How to Work as a Massage Therapist in GeorgiaMassage Therapy

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), massage therapists "relieve pain, help rehabilitate injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation and aid in the general wellness of clients." An ancient art, massage has achieved professional status fairly recently in the United States, partly driven by its increased popularity among professional athletes. Having evolved into a highly professional therapeutic practice, massage can be a release from stressful lifestyles.

Georgia employs a significant number of massage therapists. Atlanta has the 10th-highest employment level for these professionals. From day spas, corporate wellness centers and health clubs to hospitals, medical practices and chiropractors, massage therapists serve an ever-growing number of people throughout the state. According to the BLS, most therapists work part time and nearly half work independently.

Holistic massage therapy is especially popular. Recognizing that when people are unhealthy in one aspect of their life — whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual — all others are affected, holistic therapists employ a combination of modalities to achieve wellness. These include therapeutic massage, breathing, relaxation, listening and counseling, with the ultimate goal of restoring balance among and between these different domains.

A therapist's approach to a particular problem can vary between practitioners depending on the individual and the condition being treated. In nearly every case, a thorough assessment is conducted before a treatment plan is discussed and decided upon.

Professional Massage Therapy in Georgia

Massage therapy education is increasing in Georgia schools, with over two dozen approved programs. Beyond basic requirements in classes such as math and English, curricula vary. Coursework focuses on anatomy and physiology, pathology, professional standards, business and ethics, theory, technique and massage practice, documentation, legal issues and contraindications (when massage shouldn't be used). The main goal of any program is to prepare students for licensure examination.

For the latest information on licensure, contact the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy. Georgia massage therapists must have a license to practice, and licensure requires a minimum of 500 hours of education from a state-recognized program. Applicants must also have to pass either the National Certification Exam for Massage Therapy and Bodywork or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination.

The license fee is $125 and must be renewed every two years. During this two-year period, therapists must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education credits — 12 hours of hands-on experience and 12 hours of home or online study. Licensure establishes a massage therapist in Georgia as a healthcare professional and ensures all therapists in the state meet certain standards while recognizing the individualistic nature of massage therapy.

If you already live in the state or would like to study there, look into the different massage therapy training programs in Georgia.

Photo credit: Flickr

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