Create a Balanced, Healthy Lifestyle as an RMT

Work-life balance is high on the list of career must-haves for almost everyone. Looking to break free of the 9-5 and the culture of being constantly connected to the office by text, phone, or email? A career as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) can help you achieve this dream. 

As a massage therapist, you’ll never be tied to a desk again. Working directly with your clients to help them heal, you’ll have the satisfaction of being a health care professional—without the shift work and high stress. According to job website Monster.com, being a massage therapist is among the top 7 most relaxing jobs. And most MH Vicars School graduates are entrepreneurs, which means they set their own hours and design their own workspaces. 

That doesn’t mean that being a massage therapist is easy, of course! Massage therapists use both their muscles and their minds to help their clients heal. You will need to be fully engaged and present for each treatment. And being your own boss isn’t a walk in the park; you’ll be responsible for managing the business side of your practice. 

But for massage therapists, those challenges pale in comparison to the benefits of this fulfilling and flexible career. You will have the knowledge and skills to change their clients’ lives—and you’ll get to live the life you want, too. 

Can I have a satisfying career and still have time for myself and my family? 

As educators, we know that one of the reasons that our students choose MH Vicars School is because our blended-learning schedules allow them to balance their education with their other responsibilities. And as RMTs, we know that one of the attractions of a career in massage therapy is the ability to achieve a healthy work-life balance. 

What that balance looks like is different for everyone and will change over time as your needs change. That’s why it’s so important to choose a career that lets you be in control of your professional life and that can grow and evolve alongside you. 

Most of our students want their career to be flexible enough to fit around their demanding family life. For some of them, that means being able to work around their kids’ school and activity schedule.  

What Kind of Schedule Does an RMT Work? 

RMTs can work whatever hours and schedules they and their clients prefer. 

Massage therapists see their clients by appointment, so you can set your availability to whatever works best for you and your family. This can make it easier to manage family or other non-work activities, and you won’t need to ask anyone’s permission to take a holiday. 

As an RMT, you can work evenings and weekends if you need to be around for your toddler during the day, or to make sure that your last massage of the day is done in time to drive your teens to hockey practice.  By planning ahead, you can work part-time or casual hours when your schedule demands it. 

It’s not just parents who dream of having control over their own schedule. Vicars students range in age from their early 20s to the late 50s. For some of our younger students, becoming a massage therapist is an opportunity to work and travel. A lot of our older students are excited to become RMTs in order to set their own full-time hours now, and also to have the option to switch to part-time later on. 

Can I make a living as an RMT? 

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada. Canadians are increasingly relying on massage therapy, and doctors are referring patients to RMTs for treatment more than ever before. Also, many health plans now also cover massage therapy services, making it easier than ever for clients to receive massage to supplement their mainstream medical care.  This widespread popularity means that registered massage therapy is an in-demand career. In fact, many Vicars grads are so busy that they have a steady client base booking months in advance, plus a constantly filled waiting list. 

A well-trained massage therapist can earn a very comfortable income, but exactly how much money you make will depend on your type of practice, where you are, and how much you work. 

Massage therapists can work in a wide variety of settings, including: 

  • Dedicated massage therapy clinics 
  • Home-based massage clinics 
  • Chiropractic clinics 
  • Acupuncture clinics 
  • Physiotherapy clinics 
  • Rehabilitation centres 
  • Spas and hotels 
  • Fitness centres 

Most registered massage therapists charge between $80-$110 for a 60-minute massage. Of course, that’s not all income. If you’re running your own clinic, you will have to cover rent, supplies, laundry, marketing, and other expenses. If you work as a contractor in someone else’s clinic, you will either have a fee-splitting agreement (60% to the therapist is a common arrangement) or pay the clinic a fixed monthly fee. In exchange, some of your business expenses and tasks will be covered by the clinic. 

A sustainable full-time workload for a well-trained massage therapist is between 20 and 25 massages per week. In addition to that hands-on time with your clients, your responsibilities will include charting, doing laundry, booking and confirming clients, marketing, and other administrative tasks. If you work as a contractor or as an employee, the clinic might handle some or all those duties for you (except your treatment paperwork, of course). 

Some RMTs work as employees in clinics or spas and earn an hourly wage. They’ll usually work assigned shifts, and they get paid the same amount no matter how many clients they see. They are also paid for the time that they put into their non-massage duties. Compared to working as a contractor or running your own clinic, the hours and income are more predictable and there’s usually less responsibility. For some people, that’s exactly what they need to achieve the work-life balance that they’re looking for. 

There are disadvantages to working for an hourly wage, however. Therapists working for an hourly wage typically make less overall than other therapists. They don’t get to set their own hours, and also have less control over how many massages they perform in a day. So if your version of work-life balance involves flexibility and setting your own pace, you’re better off working for yourself. Fortunately, the Vicars curriculum involves business training and hands-on experience at our fully functional public clinic. You’ll be prepared to launch your own career as soon as you graduate. 

A healthy and relaxing work environment 

Massage is an inherently relaxing experience, even if you’re the one giving the massage treatment. All around you, calming music is playing, gentle scents are wafting through the air and everyone is speaking softly. The best part is that even if that client comes in flustered and stressed, they will be completely relaxed by the end of the treatment. 

After your client leaves, you’ll clean the treatment room, replace the linens, and get set for your next treatment. Experienced RMTs make sure that they allow enough time between appointments not only to get the space ready for the next client, but to perform essential self-care rituals: having some water and a snack, stretching, and doing breathing exercises or even some light meditation to refocus your energies. 

There are a lot of things to love about a career in massage. And the best of them is that your clients are actually happy to see you. Even if they arrive stressed out or in pain, they’ll be looking forward to your treatment, and completely relaxed by the end of it. 

Being a massage therapist is hard work and has its frustrations and annoyances like every other job. We can’t promise that you’ll never be tired at the end of the day, or never get tired of folding laundry!  

But you’ll also finish every workday knowing that you have made a difference, and that you are valued for your knowledge and your skills. And that’s the key to real work-life balance: having a career that brings you as much joy and satisfaction as the other parts of your life do. 

Find Your Work-Life Balance as a Massage Therapist and Start Living the Life You’ve Imagined 

Massage therapy training at MH Vicars can open doors to the rest of your life, starting with our unique blended learning format. Set your own schedule for your online learning, spend four days a month on campus with us and then choose the days and hours you’d like to practice as a full-fledged RMT.  

For more information about our exciting program, call our friendly admissions team toll-free at 1-866-491-0574 today or attend an online open house! 

 

massage therapy classes at MH Vicars

A Career in Massage Therapy Can Provide Many Ideal Job Options

Have you ever said to yourself “one day, I’ll have more time for myself?” If you’re a shift worker or you’ve been stuck in the 9-5 rat race for too many years, it may be time to consider all the benefits of a career in massage therapy. Whether you dream of owning your own business or want to work flexible hours in a clinic, being a massage therapist can take you there. Go to massage therapy school, and you can build the career and the life that you’ve always wanted.

With Massage Therapy Education at Vicars, Your New Lifestyle Can Start Right Away

The right massage therapy training will not only prepare you for a flexible career – it will allow you to balance your work, life, and education while you’re a student. At Vicars School, you’ll be in control of your own schedule as soon as you register to be a student at either our Edmonton or Calgary campuses. Our full-time program is delivered through an accessible blended learning format. This means you don’t need to give up all your other responsibilities while you train with us.

You will have four full in-class days per month (you can choose the schedule that will work best for you). When you’re on campus, you’ll work closely with your instructors and classmates as you learn hands-on skills in the lab and hone all the skills you’ll need to become a successful RMT. Then you’ll spend an average of 30 hours per week on your independent-study work from the comfort of your own hoome. You’ll still be connected to your classmates and our expert instructors, but you’ll have complete control of your schedule.massage therapy classes at MH Vicars

You can even get a head start on your education, to give yourself extra time during the school year. As soon as you register for classes, you can start work on our core science courses online.

Massage Therapy School Provides a Variety of Career Opportunities

Our therapists choose Vicars because they want a career where they can truly help others, while working in an environment that suits their needs. Many of our graduates work in dedicated massage therapy clinics, either by themselves or with a team of other RMTs. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: you will find our graduates in a variety of settings across Canada and the world. Here are some massage therapy settings you might not have considered:

Home-based business

Say goodbye to rush hour traffic – your new commute to work could be walking down your hallway! When you consider the advantages of a home-based massage therapy business, it’s no surprise that so many Vicars graduates choose to set up a clinic in their own home.

When you have a clinic in your home, you have complete control over your schedule and your space and reduce your overhead costs. Your clients will appreciate the calm atmosphere, privacy, and convenience. And because you can offer appointments outside of standard office hours, you can attract clients who work shifts or have 9-5 jobs and struggle to find a massage clinic open when they need it.

Of course, this option doesn’t work for everyone, or for every home. In order to have a successful clinic from your home, you need to have a dedicated treatment space and appropriate bathroom and laundry facilities.

A mobile massage clinic

The only thing better than a massage, is a massage that comes to you! If you want to be able to treat a wide variety of clients in diverse settings, being a mobile massage therapist could be the answer. As a mobile RMT, you pack up your massage table or massage chair and treat your clients where they are. The options are endless: you could set up a clinic room at an extended care facility once a week, visit your clients in their homes, or be hired by a business to give chair massages to their employees. And because it’s so flexible, you can offer mobile massage therapy services and still have a regular clinic space for your clients to visit.

Physiotherapy clinics

Physiotherapy and massage therapy are both incredibly effective pain management and recovery practices. The two therapies have a lot in common. Both massage therapists and physiotherapists have an in-depth knowledge of the body and its systems, and use specialized hands-on techniques to treat their clients. But there are also some big differences between physio and massage, and they aren’t interchangeable. The two professions have different training, and use different techniques – which is why they complement each other so well when combined in the same clinic! By partnering up with a physiotherapist in a shared clinic or wellness centre, you will be able to provide your clients with comprehensive care to help them prevent and treat injuries, and maintain peak physical and mental health.

Chiropractic clinics

Chiropractors and RMTs frequently work side-by-side assisting clients with recovery from physical strain and injuries resulting from auto accidents, postural dysfunction, and more. A chiropractor performs the physical adjustments, and the massage therapist works on the soft tissues that have been working overtime to compensate for any misalignment.

Multi-disciplinary wellness clinics

Chiros and physios aren’t the only professions that sync up well with massage therapy. One way that many massage therapists find success is by working out of a multi-disciplinary clinic that offers a wide variety of therapeutic services. Practitioners that partner well with massage therapy include doctors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, midwives and doulas, osteopaths, and more.

Your clients will appreciate the opportunity to have so many of their health need met under one roof. And for you and your colleagues, having shared practices means that you’ll have a constant source of referrals, plenty of professional support, and the ability to share the space and equipment costs.

Long-term care homes and extended care facilities

A lifetime of wear and tear takes a toll on the human body. So it’s no surprise massage therapy is in high demand with older adults. Geriatric massage is an adaptation of relaxation and therapeutic massage techniques to meet the specialized needs of elderly clients. It lowers stress, improves sleep, reduces the symptoms of arthritis and chronic pain, improves circulation, and more. Massage has even been shown to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Not all of your elderly clients will be able to visit you at your own clinic. But you can go to them. Many long-term care homes and seniors residences will have an in-house massage therapist, or have a mobile massage therapist visit regularly.

Hospice facilities

Hospice care isn’t always at the top of mind for potential RMTs. However, when you consider the long list of positive effects of a professional-quality massage, it makes perfect sense. In a hospice, the goal is to provide comfort and serenity as the patient transitions into end-of-life stages: providing a gentle soothing massage to complement any pain medications, keep the muscles relaxed and help to reduce physical and mental suffering.

Rehabilitation Centres

Massage therapy has been gaining attention for the role it could potentially play in assisting with detox and addiction programs. Remarkably effective in calming the mind and relieving tension, massage stimulates the skin, which results in the body’s central nervous system sending out dopamine (the happiness hormone). This dopamine release can help with stress and anxiety for a patient who has been admitted to a rehabilitation centre, provide an increase in self-awareness and allow the person who is working on kicking their addiction a peaceful time where they can passively receive positive stimulation.

Massage therapy training at Vicars can open so many doors, no matter where and when you’d like to practice. For more information about, call our friendly admissions team toll-free at 1-866-491-0574 or book a campus tour today!

RMT career in massage therapy

Train for a Career in Massage Therapy and Begin a Successful, Rewarding Career

A career in massage therapy can change your entire life. If you’ve ever felt trapped in a dead-end job, wishing you could work in a real career where you could help others, be paid well, and work flexible hours, becoming an RMT could be the ideal career for you. At MH Vicars, our industry-recognized two-year program can provide you the confidence and knowledge needed to build a reliable, truly satisfying career.

Here are nine reasons why a career in massage therapy just might be the career you’ve always been looking for.

  1. Graduate with the skills needed to start practicing right awayRMT career in massage therapy

With training from MH Vicars, you’ll graduate with the experience and high level of skills you need to start working immediately. You’ll have spent two years working with some of the best massage educators and RMTs in the province and gaining real experience in our massage clinic. With hundreds of hours of hands-on experience in the classroom and at our supervised student clinics, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge to enter the profession and start right away. In many provinces, you can even start working part time as a student while you’re in your second year of the program.

  1. Make a difference in others’ lives

When you know that what you’re doing is making a positive difference in the world, you’ll always be excited to get up for work in the morning.  Being a massage therapist can provide you with a great sense of purpose, since you’ll spend your days helping to make others feel better. By promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension and pain, and even treating specific medical conditions that affect your client’s quality of life, you can help your clients live their best lives.

“Even after a busy day, I leave work really happy because I know that I’m helping so many people. I also learned so much about myself while I was at MH Vicars. Between when I started school and when I finished, I gained so much more confidence: not only in my work, but in myself.”

Emma Johannesson, 2017 graduate

Whether your clients are looking for relief from physical pain, emotional ailments like anxiety, stress, or low energy levels, you’ll be able to help them using your comprehensive training and knowledge.

  1. Become a licensed health care professional

As an RMT, you’ll experience the real sense of pride that comes with being a recognized health care professional. MH Vicars School is an MTAA Approved Program and our thoughtfully designed curriculum meets the highest Canadian massage therapy education standards. This means that after graduation, you’ll be a trusted practitioner with the skills and knowledge to work anywhere in Canada.

If you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or the Territories,  you’ll be able to become a valued member of one of your local professional associations, like the Massage Therapists Association of Alberta or the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada, right away. If you live in a regulated province like BC, you’ll be able to apply to take the exams set by their regulatory College.

You’ll also get to develop a strong network of like-minded colleagues in other medical and wellness professions. Even when you’ve already landed a great job or opened your own business, this network will help you build your practice, develop your skills, and provide well-rounded care for your clients.

  1.  Be your own boss

According to Statistics Canada, 62% of massage therapists are self-employed. (That number is even higher for MH Vicars graduates: 66% of our 2020 graduates work for themselves).

As part of our extensive curriculum, we explore all aspects of opening your own business. If you choose this path, you’ll be ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship and create total career flexibility. Work for yourself, set your own hours, and enjoy the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. You can work full time, part time or casual hours — whichever you prefer.

You can even work from home or as a mobile massage therapist and go to your clients. The possibilities are endless. With your comprehensive training from MH Vicars, you’ll be able to realize your dream of leaving the 9-5 behind, set your own schedule, and be your own boss.

  1. Massage therapy is a respected and valued profession

We often joke that massage therapists are the only health care professionals that people actually look forward to spending an hour with! Your clients will come to your clinic excited for their appointment, and they’ll leave feeling calm, happy, and in less pain. You’ll get the professional satisfaction of knowing that you’re improving their health and quality of life, and the personal enjoyment that comes from working with happy and enthusiastic clients.

Gone are the days when getting a massage was a treat reserved for a Mother’s Day pampering session or the only enjoyable part of an otherwise painful physiotherapy appointment. Today, clients from all walks of life seek out RMTs who have extensive therapeutic training, for everything from reducing stress and anxiety to treating TMJD and fibromyalgia. The two years of training at MH Vicars covers everything from anatomy to treatment planning to ethics, with hundreds of hours of hands-on training in class and at the supervised practicum clinic.

  1. You can combine your passions to build your dream career

Massage therapy is an extremely flexible career – and we don’t just mean the work hours. With a well-rounded massage therapy education, you can build a career that reflects your interests.

Once you’re an RMT, you will keep learning in order to keep up with the latest research and techniques. You can add to your RMT skills by learning related modalities and treatments, like cupping or advanced manual lymphatic draining techniques.

But your career options aren’t limited to just hands-on treatments. Massage is a wonderful career upgrade for personal trainers, yoga teachers, and anyone else who already works with the body. There are so many ways to combine your skills and passions under one roof!

  1. Massage therapists are always in demand

From runners to ranchers to teachers, more and more people are relying on massage therapists to keep their bodies working at their peak. The profession has shown steady growth in the past two decades, with no signs of slowing down. At the same time, massage therapy benefits have become a standard feature in most health care plans. So while demand for well-trained RMTs has increased, regular massage treatments have become more accessible.

This means that there are many opportunities for massage therapists to work in many different settings, including chiropractic clinics, rehab clinics, fitness centres and even in mobile settings.

“When I applied for jobs after graduation, I got several phone calls from employers just because they liked that I went to MH Vicars. Graduates have a good reputation among clients, and with other therapists. I am proud to be a MH Vicars graduate. Thank you!”

Ryan Kim, 2018 graduate

  1. Work locally or globally

Do you want to work halfway around the world, or do you want to count your commute in steps rather than kilometres? No matter your preference, massage therapy can take you there.

Massage therapists are as essential in small rural communities as they are in big cities. Because wherever there are people who are stressed and sore, there will be a need for massage therapists. With the right massage education, you’re able to set up shop in your own neighbourhood or in another country. RMTs can choose to work in clinics, from their own homes, in resorts, spas, and everywhere in between.

  1. Say goodbye to the desk job

We’ve all heard the experts say that sitting is the new smoking. The typical desk job would have you sitting more than seven hours a day. Multiply that by five days a week, and that’s a lot of inactivity.

Once you’re a massage therapist, the days of sitting hunched at a keyboard for hours on end will be behind you. Giving a massage engages all of the muscle groups in your body. Since massage therapy is a very physical job, we’ll teach you the proper body mechanics and self-care methods for this hands-on career. This will keep your body healthy and strong as you provide care to others.

 

Massage Therapy is a truly rewarding and valued career. At MH Vicars, we’re proud to offer the highest quality education in massage, while offering small class sizes so students receive plenty of one-on-one attention and education. Recognized by industry experts, we meet the national standards for massage therapy education, and are dedicated to the success of our students. Are you considering a career in massage therapy? Our admissions team would love to hear from you. Call 1-866-491-0574, send us an email, or learn more at a virtual open house.

Move over, Oscars. Take a seat, Golden Globes. This awards season, we’re only interested in the Best of YEG Fitness awards – because three of the nominees for “Best Massage Therapist” are Vicars graduates!

Kory Ring, Andrea Yacyshyn, and Dustin Ring (no relation to Kory) are among the top five finalists for the award, which is determined entirely by public votes.

The awards are presented by YEG Fitness magazine, a local publication that highlights all areas of the local fitness and wellness community.

“We view fitness as healthy living, and it’s all about balance. It’s about taking care of your body: nutrition, different kinds of activity and training, and having physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists working with you to both prevent and treat injury if you need it,” explained TJ Sadler, the magazine’s editor. “The awards are a way for us to showcase those people who are doing great things.”

Discovering that so many of their clients considered them among the city’s massage elite was a great feeling for the three Vicars grads.

“I’m so grateful to all of my clients and everyone who voted for me for this,” said Dustin, who graduated in 2017. “I never thought that I would make a list like this so close to coming out of school.”

“I was so honoured that enough people typed my name – and I have a hard-to-spell last name! It was incredibly validating as I love this work so much,” said Andrea.

Being included on lists does more than just boost a therapist’s confidence. It can have a significant impact on future business. So what can fellow Vicars graduates learn from Andrea, Dustin, and Kory’s success?

A good massage begins before the client is on the table

I asked all three of the nominees to try to identify what it was about their treatments that made clients so excited that they’d go online and vote. I expected to hear about their hands-on expertise and specialized techniques – and I did – but the first thing that each therapist highlighted about themselves was how they try to listen to and relate to their clients off the table.

“The thing my clients have consistently said to me is that they feel like I listen to them, I care, and I don’t rush them,” Andrea said.

“I’ve been told by a lot of clients that they like that I actually take the time to listen and do a proper assessment and address their concerns – just like we were taught to do in school,” Kory agreed. “And they get the results that they’re looking for, a lot of the time.”

And once your clients love your practice, they’ll keep coming back. And they’ll tell their friends.

Word-of-mouth marketing works. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

“I actually don’t accept tips at my practice at all, and when people do try to tip me I tell them that if they want to pay me a compliment they can just tell their friends and family about me, or leave a Google review,” said Kory. “Ninety-nine per cent of my clients come from referrals, I’d say.”

No one knows how amazing you are – or is as excited to talk about why – like the clients who keep coming back to you. By encouraging your current clients to recommend you to others, you’re getting your name out there in a more authentic and efficient way than any ad could ever deliver. And, you’ll attract the kind of client who is most likely to fit in well at your practice, which means they’ll keep coming back (and refer friends of their own).

It doesn’t hurt to offer a small thank-you in return.

“I offer a $10 referral [gift] when someone sends me a new client,” explained Andrea. “A client I had from school referred another client, who then referred her sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and multiple friends. And then those clients referred people to me. It was a huge domino effect that really paid off and landed me with 10 new regular clients rather quickly.”

Don’t just tell clients about your practice – tell everyone!

One of the ways that Dustin was able to become so successful so quickly after graduating was by tapping into the professional connections that he already had as a yoga teacher. These clients and colleagues became his first cheerleaders.

“By being in the yoga community and immersing myself in different aspects of the fitness industry I’ve developed an ongoing clientele that I never thought that I would have this early in my career,” he said. “I also did a lot of volunteer events. If you’re good, people are going to tell other people.”

Some of your most important connections as a therapist aren’t with clients, but with other health care professionals. Being a source of trustworthy referrals for your clients adds value to your services at the same time as it helps clients get the care they need.

Kory’s clinic is located within Evolve Strength, a downtown gym. This mixed clinical environment has helped him make connections with other professionals.

“There’s a good referral network within the gym,” he explained. “The athletic world, I’ve come to realize, is a pretty tight-knit community in this city.”

Andrea’s practice is in her home, but that hasn’t stopped her from developing an extensive referral list of her own.

“I have a chiropractor, 3 massage therapists, an acupuncturist, a physiotherapist, a Pilates studio, a [naturopathic doctor], a medical clinic, and a pelvic floor specialist that I refer to,” said Andrea. “I have their cards in my treatment room and some of their profiles on my website. By working with them and sending them my clients, they up sending me theirs and we create a collaborative health network for our clients.”

The winners of this year’s Best of YEG Fitness awards will be announced at a ceremony on February 6, 2019.

“Looking back now, I’m definitely glad I went the Newfoundland route. It’s been a long process, but I’m finally there!”

That’s Jenna Kluthe, who graduated from MH Vicars School’s Edmonton campus in 2017. She was one of nearly a dozen Vicars grads who travelled to Newfoundland to write that province’s entry-to-practice exam with the final goal of becoming RMTs in BC. Jenna now practices in Nanaimo.

Tyler Shortridge, Karen Goforth, Jenna Kluthe, and their classmates celebrate together after writing the CMTNL exams. Photo courtesy Karen Goforth.

Jenna and her classmates chose Newfoundland because the process to apply for the exam was simpler, faster, and less expensive than going directly to BC. The College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador officially recognizes the Vicars program, while the BC College requires applicants to pay for a “prior learning assessment” before they can take their test. (Read more about why Vicars grads are choosing Newfoundland and New Brunswick here).

The journey to become RMTs in BC began in the spring of 2017.

“I was going to go the BC route, because I didn’t know anything about Newfoundland, but about a month before we graduated someone mentioned it and we were all curious,” said Tyler Shortridge, who lives in Cranbrook and attended the Calgary campus. “[CMTNL] were really good. They answered emails fast, they answered phone calls. It was easy to get the answers I needed, and the paperwork was simple. I think I waited two weeks to hear whether we were accepted to write the exam. They had no issues with our program.”

The Newfoundland entry-to-practice exam has two parts. The multiple-choice exam covers massage theory, ethics, and law, including regulations specific to Newfoundland. The practical exam, which consists of seven separate stations, evaluates the therapist’s academic knowledge, hands-on techniques, and problem-solving skills.

“It was a little bit intimidating,” said Jenna. “You walk into the room and there were two examiners, just sitting off to the side, and there’s the body. The examiners don’t say anything, they don’t acknowledge you, they don’t smile, they don’t do anything. You just walk in and do your thing.”

The College publishes a detailed outline of the exam structure and contents to help therapists prepare, and the Vicars grad felt that the exams were well-organized and fair.

“It was fairly straightforward. You just have to make sure that you’re confident in your answers,” said Karen Goforth, who lives and works in Creston, BC.

Nonetheless, they all felt very prepared.

“The hardest part was waiting for the results,” said Tyler. “I took the exam in August, and by the end of October I was registered in Newfoundland. The end of January is when I was able to work in BC as an RMT.”

All the time and effort was worth it.

“Being a massage therapist is awesome, I love it. I have the freedom to do whatever I want with my schedule, and I like helping people,” said Tyler. “You see a lot of different people, and it’s really nice to connect with them.”

If you’re a Vicars student or grad interested in more information about moving to a regulated province, please contact the school and we’d be happy to help.

In 2011, Bree Skiba had been out of school for four years and was already head of a mini massage empire: her company Balance Massage had two Edmonton locations and had just opened a third in Kelowna. I interviewed her then about her experiences as a student, and her career so far.

Watch that video here:

It’s now six years later, and both Balance Massage and the school have grown and changed. After reconnecting at our recent Edmonton Networking Night, I took the opportunity to catch up with Bree.

“I’m still doing well!” she says. “We’re almost 10 years at our original location at Moksha Yoga West, so that’s super exciting. I have a lot of regular clients who have stuck with me through the years, even through when I had a baby and came back.

The two original Edmonton locations are still going strong, and a third clinic is opening this month within TNP Fitness Studio. Bree sold the Kelowna location a few years ago.

“I have 8 therapists now, and I’ll be looking to hire more in the next couple of months. I’ve had a couple therapists now who’ve been with me for quite a while, and I’ve had lots of Vicars grads come through my door,” she says. “I also have one Vicars student on staff right now.”

Her journey has not been without challenges, however. The industry has changed over the last decade, and she and her therapists have had to work hard to keep up.

“What I’ve noticed is the saturation of massage therapy companies in the Edmonton area,” Bree says. “There are a few very large big box companies coming out of the States that have made it harder for small business owners. Those big places, they underpay their therapists, and as a business owner who pays out a good percentage to my therapists, it’s really frustrating to see.”

To thrive with this increasing competition, Bree and her colleagues have had to get back to basics: providing consistent, high-quality treatments that her clients can count on.

“I think if you’re a good therapist, and you know what your clients want, they will always, always, always come back to you,” she says. “My bread and butter is my regular clientele. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy, because they stick around.”

And a decade in, Bree has no plans to slow down.

“I wouldn’t trade my job for the world. Being a massage therapist—I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m a single mum of a four-year-old, and I can still spend a ton of time with him and take clients in the evenings. It’s just so versatile.”

To learn more about Bree, read her bio on Balance Massage here.

To learn more about Balance Massage, visit their website.

A group of MH Vicars students sitting around the coffee table, discussing lessons.

As an RMT, you’ve chosen to dedicate your career to helping and connecting with others. So, networking should come as second nature. But too many massage therapists write off the idea entirely without realizing its value. Maybe the term brings to mind images of midlevel executives in uncomfortable suits exchanging superficial pleasantries along with their business cards. Maybe it just doesn’t seem necessary for someone who’s self-employed, or has a full client list.

If that’s been your attitude towards networking, it’s time to think again! Networking is an essential tool for RMTs at all stages of their careers. Authentic, meaningful networking isn’t about impressing your peers, or keeping up appearances. It’s about making connections and building communities.

Don’t believe me yet? Keep reading for our top 6 benefits of networking.

#1: Keep up with trends and innovations in the industry

A group of MH Vicars students sitting around the coffee table, discussing lessons.How do you stay on top of the latest massage news? If the answer is that you chat with your clients and fellow RMTs, then congratulations: you’re networking already!

While massage as a healing discipline is thousands of years old, as a modern career it’s experiencing rapid growth and change. From developments in regulation and school accreditation, to innovative treatments and modalities, there’s always something new to learn. By cultivating connections with other therapists and health professionals, you can keep up with all the latest news in this dynamic field.

#2: Make important referral contacts

Maybe you’re so busy that you have to turn potential clients away. Maybe you want to be able to recommend someone you trust when you have to refer your clients to another practitioner. In either case, it’s very helpful to know the therapists and health professionals in your area. Your clients trust you with their health when they’re on your table, and you owe it to them to be knowledgeable about their treatment options beyond your clinic walls.
And of course, making this type of connection pays off in both directions. Wellness professionals like physiotherapists, coaches, and chiropractors are often called upon to recommend massage to their clients and patients. By getting to know them, you’ll both benefit – and so will your clients.

#3: Get motivated

No matter how much you love your job – and we hope you adore it! – it’s still work. It’s natural for your drive and enthusiasm to ebb and flow.

One sure-fire way to jumpstart your passion for the career is to meet with fellow RMTs and talk about the job! Sharing ideas, tips, funny stories, and lessons learned can remind you why you chose this career in the first place, and will leave you re-energized about your practice.

#4: It’s an opportunity to find or become a mentor

I wouldn’t be where I am today – with a fulfilling job that I love – without the help and advice of a lot of different people, and I expect the same is true for you. Interestingly, I didn’t connect with the people whom I consider my most important mentors and teachers through formal mentorship programs. Rather, they’ve been bosses, professors, senior colleagues, and even friends who simply took the time to share their thoughts and experiences with me. It may have been a small thing to them, but it has been precious to me. I hope that someday, I can play a similar role in someone else’s life.

And these casual, organic mentor relationships are just as important for RMTs as they are for writers like me. By connecting with the rest of the massage community, you can meet people to learn from, and people to teach. Because we’re never too old to do either!

#5: Look for a new job, or find new employees

If I were writing this for another school’s blog, I would probably have put this one at the top of the list. It’s the most obvious benefit of formal networking. But if your clinic is fully booked, or you happily work for yourself, it might be the benefit you’re most likely to discount. If you’re not actively looking to switch jobs or hire anyone, cultivating employment contacts might be pretty low on your to-do list. And fair enough!

But this is an important strategy for students and new graduates, and those of you who are still building their practice. And even if you’re comfortable where you are right now: the right time to have this kind of connection is before you need it.

#6: Socialize and have fun!

This one isn’t an afterthought, I promise! Massage therapists are good people (and I’d know!). All the RMTs that I know are in this business because they care about others, and want to have a positive influence on the world. And who wouldn’t want to hang out with people like that?

When it comes down to it, “networking” is just connecting with other RMTs and wellness professionals. It’s spending time with people, be they old classmates or new friends, with whom you have a lot in common—and helping your career at the same time. What could be better?

Can you think of any benefits to networking that I’ve missed? What have been your best networking experiences so far? Please share them in the comments!

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Massage Therapy Research Fund. This is a wonderful opportunity for students and alumni to exercise their research muscles!

The MTRF funds academic research into many aspects of massage therapy as a discipline and as a profession. According to the MTRF:

“Eligible research topics include, but are not limited to:
– Massage Therapy effectiveness, efficacy and safety;
– Massage Therapy competencies and competency assessment;
– Access to and delivery of Massage Therapy services;
– Professionalization of Massage Therapy; and
– Evaluation of Massage Therapy practice.”

This year, they are also placing a special call for research on massage for soft tissue injuries.

Applications will be accepted until September, and more than $100,000 in funding is up for grabs for researchers across the country.

Read more on Massage Therapy Canada’s website. 

Thanks to Instructor Anna Faris for bringing this to our attention.

MH Vicars instructor teaching a class

We are about to devote many hours and quite a bit of money to earn a piece of paper that some other Alberta massage schools don’t even want. And we couldn’t be more delighted!

MH Vicars School has been chosen as a pilot school by the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation! You read that right: at long last, massage schools in Canada will be able to earn accreditation from a national body. And they’ve chosen MH Vicars School to help launch that process.

We have invited a group of CMTCA assessors to use our campuses to test their assessment process. It’s the latest step towards a full, nationwide accreditation system.

What is accreditation?

To put it very simply, accreditation will mean that a school can prove that it:

  • Meets the curriculum standards of the regulated provinces
  • Awards diplomas only to massage therapists who have proven themselves skilled, knowledgeable, and effective
  • Delivers what it promises: qualified instructors; relevant content; and a culture of continuous improvement

These are the same high standards that we have set for ourselves every day.

Why do we care so much about CMTCA accreditation?

Maybe we just like being ahead of the crowd! After all, we were the first private school in Alberta to upgrade our curriculum to meet the national standard (which is required of schools in BC and other regulated provinces, but still voluntary in Alberta). We also were the first massage school to be named to the MTAA’s Approved Program List.

Accreditation is an essential step for government regulation of the industry, which we still don’t have in Alberta. I have been pushing for Canada-wide accreditation of massage schools since I started MH Vicars School in 2001. Accreditation of massage therapy schools means that students will get the best education, and clients will get the best treatments.

So why wouldn’t everyone want this?

Politics. And profits. With regulation, some MTs would have to get more education, and many schools would have to get better– a lot better, in many cases. And upgrading a school is expensive and time-consuming. We spend hundreds of hours each year refining our curriculum to make sure that it covers the latest massage and education research. Many schools don’t bother. They won’t upgrade their programs until they are forced to by regulation, or by an educated public.

We are pursuing accreditation because it is the right thing to do. It will be benefit our alumni, who are already in demand by employers and clients. Once they are able to say that they have graduated from an accredited school, it will only be further proof that they are worth every penny!

It will also benefit the public. Clients should be able to count on competent, effective therapy. Being able to choose therapists from accredited schools will make it easier for them to find the best therapists (our therapists, obviously!).

Accreditation is the future for massage therapy in Alberta, and we are thrilled to be a part of this process with the CMTCA.

Best,

Maryhelen Vicars