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Not All Massage Therapy Programs Are Equal: Why Our Massage Program Goes Beyond 500 Hours

In the previous blog, we learned that many massage schools in Georgia only offer a 500-hour program curriculum.

The reason is that the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy requires (at least) 500 clock hours of education and training to apply for a massage therapy license. This means that most massage therapy schools in Georgia only offer the bare-minimum training needed to become a massage therapist. We also discussed how the massage therapy curriculum at Atlanta School of Massage is a total of 750 hours. That’s 250 hours more than the minimum required by the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy!

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But why do those extra 250 hours matter? Are the hours just hands-on fluff, or are they integral to ASM’s formation of massage therapists? In this article, we will discuss the significance of these additional hours, why they’re important for the future of your massage career, and take a look at the massage therapy curriculum at the Atlanta School of Massage.

Massage Therapy Curriculum at the Atlanta School of Massage

At Georgia massage schools that only offer a 500-hour program, the breakdown is roughly 450 hours of in-class supervised teaching, and 50 hours of clinic practice.

Meanwhile, the massage therapy program at the Atlanta School of Massage is 750 hours. These 750 hours are divided into 618 hours of in-class instruction and 132 hours of clinical practice. Without even doing the math, you can already see that ASM grads get 50% more massage training than graduates of massage schools that only offer a 500-hour program!

But let’s break this down a bit further.

Classroom Hours: 450 hours vs 618 hours – ASM students get 168 more hours of classroom instruction than students at massage therapy schools that only offer the minimum 500-hour program curriculum. That means that our students devote nearly 40% (37.3%) more time to learning the art and science of massage therapy, meaning our graduates are well-equipped with the knowledge needed to succeed as healers and professional massage therapists!

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Clinic Hours: 50 hours vs 132 hours. ASM graduates get 82 more hours of clinical practice than students at massage schools that only offer the 500-hour curriculum. That’s close to triple the hands-on experience! In a field like a massage therapy that requires a significant amount of hands-on training, having the additional experience really makes a difference in the level of skill set; the more hands-on experience a massage therapist has, the better a therapist he/she is. And employers are aware of this difference, which is why ASM grads are in-demand by local employers.

By now, it should be clear that these additional 250 hours required to graduate from the Atlanta School of Massage, aren’t just time-fillers; they are purposefully built into the massage curriculum to ensure that our students learn a specific set of massage therapy skills.

Massage Therapy Curriculum Breakdown

Our 750-hour massage therapy program is divided into six-course modules and is followed by a clinic internship. The Introduction to Massage course is a prerequisite to the remaining courses, which will be scheduled in any order, except for the clinical internship, which can only be started after all educational courses are completed. Additionally, at the beginning of the clinical internship module, students are scheduled to take a 6-hour Board Review class to prepare for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).

  1. Introduction to Massage (114 clock hours): Introduces students to the field of massage therapy and establishes the foundational knowledge necessary for further education. Classes introducing anatomy, physiology, hydrotherapy, and Swedish massage exchange classes (practicing on your classmates) are the cornerstone of this course.
  2. Upper Extremity (96 clock hours): Students learn to heal the hips, legs, and feet in this module by taking classes in anatomy and physiology, as well as assessment sessions in Kinesiology and Orthopedics. During the massage exchange classes, students dive into Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Neuromuscular Therapy modalities.
  3. Lower Extremity (96 clock hours): Students learn to heal the torso, neck, and head in this module by taking classes in anatomy and physiology, as well as assessment sessions in Kinesiology and Orthopedics. During the massage exchange classes, students dive into Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Neuromuscular Therapy modalities. Additionally, Reflexology is taught during this module.
  4. Health Sciences (120 clock hours): This module is designed to deepen the understanding of the body and all of its systems through classes in anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology that bring the physiological effects of massage to life. During the massage exchanges, students focus on Sports massage and stretching techniques.
  5. Medical (96 clock hours): The module covers massage therapy as it relates to the medical field. Oncology and Manual Lymphatic Drainage are the keystones of this course. students learn to navigate possible medical devices, as well as competently work within a variety of medical specializations and environments. For our graduates who want to expand their careers and become Board Certified Licensed Massage Therapists, our curriculum focus on research and partnership with Emory Medical Center supports and propels our graduates to excel above the normal industry standard.
  6. Clinical Internship (132 clock hours): The clinical internship is where students fine-tune all the techniques learned in the classroom and acclimate themselves to the daily routine of a professional massage therapist by treating real patients. Students hone their skills in assessing clients, formulating session plans, and writing SOAP note documentation. During each session, students will be supervised and provided feedback on massage techniques, body mechanics, and communication with clientele.

The Importance of Specialization in Massage Therapy

Now that you have a preview of what the massage therapy curriculum is like at the Atlanta School of Massage, you can understand why those additional 250 hours of classroom learning and hands-on training are important; more hours equal more experience, which in turn makes for better-skilled massage therapists.

And these skills are acknowledged through the four massage modality certifications of specialization that we offer as part of our massage therapy program:

  1. Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
  2. Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
  3. Reflexology
  4. Seated Massage

These certifications show that our massage graduates have a specific set of skills and that they are ready to work in a variety of professional settings, which makes them more attractive to potential employers. In the next blog, we will cover these certifications in detail!

If you’re interested in learning more about the curriculum at the Atlanta School of Massage, download our course catalog below! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling 770-454-7167 or visiting us in person at 2 Dunwoody Park South, Suite 101 Atlanta, GA 30338.

Massage-Therapy-Course-Catalog

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