How to Choose the Best Massage School for You: 4 Ways to Evaluate Massage School Culture and Values

Massage Students group shot funProfessional massage therapy draws all types of individuals, and as a result, the culture and values of individual massage schools are usually very different from one another. So how do you choose the best massage school for you?

It is important to evaluate a massage school’s culture carefully before enrolling to discern what it values.

Here’s how:

1. Do All the Things

Do all the things the school recommends you do. Typically, “all the things” includes some variation of the following:

Research the origin story of the massage school. What about the bios of its founders? Do either resonate with you?
Meet with the admissions counselor. Are they knowledgeable? Helpful? Encouraging but realistic?
Attend an open house, and take a school tour. Getting in the school building itself is arguably the most important culture test, so don’t skip it.
Then go beyond “all the things.” When you visit, talk to the front desk staff. Are they friendly? Visit the student bathroom and lounge.  And read postings on the student job board. Are they current? Does the school have connections in the community? (If they don’t have one…Red flag. You do want a job, don’t you?)

A school that runs a student-centric facility values serving its students.


2. Get a Massage in the Student Clinic

The massage clinic is where it all comes together in a massage school. The students have gone through some number of hours of training, depending on the school, and are ready to try their hands on real clients.

The clinic is arguably the most important part of a massage student’s education.

When you receive a massage in the school’s clinic, focus less on the quality of the work – though that is important – and more on what is happening around you.

Do the massage tables have bolsters? Are students and staff generally calm? Is the intake process efficient and well-supported?

A school that runs a thoughtful clinic values its students’ professional success.


3. An Interview Under the Hands

In the massage school clinic, it is unlikely the student will talk with you about their massage school experience. That’s why, as a final step, you should find an alumni outside the school walls, and book a massage.

In addition to sampling more of the bodywork that the school produced, you can get candid answers about the school during your session.

Do they like their work? Are they competent? Do they ever return to the school for continuing education? (Satisfied students always go back.) Do they still have positive feelings about their school experience?

A school that produces alumni who are fond of their school values community.

4. Attend an Intro Night or Public Course

Because many people aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy a massage career, some massage schools offer a sample or public class to non-massage therapists. If they do, take one!

The single best way to find out what the massage school values and if you will feel comfortable with its culture is to try it out first-hand, pun intended.

A massage school that helps people find their way – even if it doesn’t lead to a career in massage therapy – is a school that values people.

And that’s probably one you want to attend.