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Massage Therapy Degree or Diploma?

Choosing the right certification can make all the difference to a massage therapist's career. Check out what our readers have to say about the pros and cons of a massage therapy degree as compared to a diploma/certificate.

First...the Massage Therapy Degree

A massage therapy degree has many advantages over a diploma/certificate. A degree course covers the subject of massage therapy in depth and from all possible angles – anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, nutrition, etc. Moreover, massage colleges scrutinize applications to determine if a student really has it in him (caring attitude towards others, dexterous hands, patience, etc.) to become a quality massage therapist. This could save inapt students a lot of time and money. Imagine realizing midway that massage therapy is not really your cup of tea!

massage therapy degreeA massage therapy degree also enables a student to transfer to a university if he wants to study further for a higher degree. And we all know that a degree is far more prestigious than a massage therapy diploma/certificate.

A massage therapy degree makes a massage therapist more marketable to employers because the therapist knows more and has practiced massage therapy at clinics during his internship for a longer duration. A degree enables him to tackle complex massage situations in settings such as hospitals and high-tech spas. A therapist holding a massage therapy degree can, therefore, expect to land a job faster and start with a higher salary than one holding a diploma/certificate.

A massage therapy degree readies a student for business too. A quality massage college will coach a degree student on how to set up a massage therapy business, obtain finances for running the show, and retain clients as well. In addition, quality massage colleges provide internship programs and mentor programs supervised by experts. It thus becomes easier for a fresh graduate with a massage therapy degree to set up his own business – he is ready not just to open shop, but even to run it well and make a huge success out of it. In fact, statistics show that majority of the massage therapy degree holders run their own massage therapy business.

The only drawback of a massage therapy degree is that it costs much more and takes much more time to obtain than a diploma/certificate. But in the long run these might not be significant factors.

Compared to... the Massage therapy Diploma

massage therapist coursesThe most advantageous features of a massage therapy diploma/certificate course are the time and cost factors. A student can finish a reasonably good massage therapy diploma course in as little as ten months. This saved time can provide the much-needed head start a desperate student may be looking for. The diploma allows you to turn your training into income much quicker that a degree.

A diploma/certificate course is also way cheaper than a degree course – another important factor for a needy student who wants to take up a job and start earning fast. With hands-on experience in a job, a good student would sooner or later be able to learn what he missed learning from a degree course.

Since the selection criteria for a massage diploma course are not very rigid, a genuine aspiring student who for some reason could not get admission into a degree program can get into a diploma course provided he is backed by good basic education.

massage collegesEven though a massage diploma course is for a much shorter duration, it does touch upon all the important subjects covered by a degree course including the in-vogue massage techniques, such as on-site chair relaxation massage for corporate clients. Moreover, a quality massage college will have an expert faculty and may provide internship/mentor programs even for diploma course students.

A certificate course in massage therapy is of still shorter duration (some only for a week or two) is ideal for someone who is a massage hobbyist or wants to learn just the basics of massage therapy without getting deeper into it. This type of course is not suitable preparation for massage licensing and employment.

Step 2 Index
 

However, diploma and certificate courses have their own limitations. These courses will not enable a student to transfer to a university for a higher degree. A diploma's curriculum is not as rich as that of a degree course. Consequently, a diploma student cannot be expected to have the level of expertise a degree offers, and a certificate student even less. A massage therapist with a diploma cannot, therefore, expect to draw the starting high salary that a massage therapy degree holder commands. Moreover, clients and employers prefer massage therapists with degrees to those with diplomas or certificates.

In conclusion, if one seriously wants to pursue massage therapy as a career or turn it into a moneymaking business, then he must invest the initial time and money, and opt for a degree course rather than a diploma/certificate course.

Which is better: a Massage Therapy Degree or Diploma?

What choice did you make? Why did you choose a massage degree or diploma? Would you do anything differently?

Enter a Title for your Comment

Massage Diploma or Degree Discussions

See what other massage therapists are saying about the decision to pursue a massage degree or a massage diploma.

Massage Degrees Don't Matter 
Unless you are maybe going for a medical specialty or affiliation, I really think, having been practicing for about 3 years now, that to go with a typical …

Flexibility of a Massage degree 
I chose to get a massage degree over a traditional college degree due to the flexibility it offers. I work for myself and set my own hours. I get to travel …

I chose diploma Not rated yet
I chose a diploma program 13 years ago because I already had an AA and a BAS degree and I had just completed all the work for an MS degree. I certainly …

Diploma Not rated yet
I found working in the medical field for many years the Diploma was the correct choice. Hands on started the first day of school. I attended the International …

Massage as a career Not rated yet
I chose a degree in massage as I needed a change. Just the idea of knowing that I could someday get away from the "daily grind" was all the push I needed …

Massage Certificate / Diploma Not rated yet
I was faced with this choice 36 months ago and decided against a massage degree at that time. I had little money and wanted to be in the training (and …

Massage Diplomas are great Not rated yet
I have a 2200 hour massage diploma from a private college. I would recommend a diploma from a private college as the classes are small and the teachers …

Degree, Degree, Degree! Not rated yet
Here in the UK there are hundreds of courses run both during the day and at night school all offering a diploma in massage, I first completed one of these …

Massage Experience Counts Not rated yet
Neither the degree nor diploma will make you a great massage therapist without experience. It is important to practice your craft in various settings. …

Massage Therapy Degree is Better Not rated yet
Massage Therapy Degree is Better in that the degree holder has more credibility, in my opinion, than a diploma holder. The fact that completing a degree …

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