You’ll find Vicars graduates working happily across Canada. In big cities and in small towns, our therapists have found success in many clinical environments. To help you imagine your new life as a massage therapist, we’ve collected a few of their stories here.
Nicole Ouellette and Darby Maglione
Massage therapy can be an incredible career. Registered massage therapists enjoy flexible hours and financial independence, and have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re making a difference every day.
But being a massage therapist isn’t easy, and neither is being a massage therapy student. It’s a physically and intellectually demanding job, and not everybody’s cut out for it.
So if you’re a successful RMT who also spent nearly a decade teaching massage therapy, what do you do when your daughter tells you that she wants to follow in your footsteps?
If you’re Nicole Ouellette, you celebrate her decision, offer your support—and make sure that she goes to the best school available!
Nicole Ouellette graduated from MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy in 2005, and returned as an instructor in 2010. Nicole retired from teaching in June 2018; Darby started her massage education that September and graduated in 2020.
Today, both mother and daughter have successful massage practices. They recently joined Vicars communications director Robin Collum talk about their experiences, and it turned into a fascinating and hilarious reunion.
Holly Gibson and Monique McCardle
“I feel very fortunate that I get to do all the things that I love, have fun at the same time, and work with great people,” says Holly Gibson.
Holly and her fellow MH Vicars graduate Monique McCardle are co-owners of Escape Massage and Wellness, a booming mobile massage company based out of the Edmonton International Airport.
The two classmates founded Escape in 2014, while still Vicars students in Edmonton. They conceived of the business the first day they were introduced to chair massage in class. They were paired together for the hands-on portion, and were impressed by its effectiveness.
“It was mindblowing – in 10 minutes, you can feel this great? We were like, ‘Holy smokes, this is amazing!” remembers Gibson. “And also, in the Salvo textbook, it did talk about different places that chair massage could be, and the airport was listed. At tea break time, we met up in the kitchen and looked at each other and went ‘We need to do this.’”
The two had set up a clinic in the airport within the year, and now employ several other therapists as contract employees. The business also offers mobile massage for corporate clients, sporting events, and in clients’ homes.
“I have three treatment rooms and a little reception area, and I’m smoking busy!” says Karen Goforth. “In the next couple of years, if anyone wants to move to Creston, send them my way – because I’ll be looking for more therapists!”
Creston, where Karen lives and works, is a small town in southeastern BC. She dreamed of becoming a massage therapist, but didn’t want to have to relocate in order to go to school. Instead, she chose the monthly option at the Vicars Calgary campus.
“I’m not much of a classroom person I find it hard to sit and listen to a lecture – so the fact that it was only four classroom days a month worked really well for me.”
Because BC is a province that regulates massage as a profession, Karen knew that she would have to take entry-to-practice exams in order to work there after graduation. She chose to go through that process in Newfoundland in 2017, and had set up her clinic within a few months. She runs her own clinic space, and found herself in demand immediately.
“I graduated in June 2013 and by the end of 2014 I had to stop taking new clients because I was just full.”
Joanne Robertson’s story sounds almost too good to be true: she left a high-pressure management job to become an RMT, and within months of graduating had established a thriving clinic in her home. She performs 20 massages per week and has complete control over her work environment, hours, and client list.
Like most other therapists who work out of their homes, Joanne has a dedicated treatment room. Her clients enjoy all the comforts of a traditional clinic, and Joanne appreciates the flexibility and convenience.
“I wanted to work from home because I wanted to have control over my time and my space,” she says. “It’s the flexibility: because I work from home, I can book people in anytime from eight in the morning to eight in the evening. There’s no working around someone else’s schedule.”