Florida has a number of requirements for becoming a licensed massage therapist, and some of them can cost a considerable amount of money. While some costs, like the licensure fee are unavoidable, savvy individuals can find inexpensive alternatives to other requirements.
Join the FMA
Florida massage therapists can benefit from as many professional credentials as possible, and the Florida Medical Association, or FMA, carries a considerable amount of clout. An FMA membership carries more benefits than just professional recognition, though. The state of Florida requires all massage therapists to complete a two-hour course on preventing medical errors, and many educational institutions charge more than $100 for this class. At the time of publication, the FMA charges non-members $125 for the course, but members can take the course for free.
Train Before Training
The state of Florida requires new massage therapists to either study as an apprentice or complete a training program from a school approved by the state Board of Massage Therapy. Massage therapy schools can have a tough regimen, and many students pay thousands of dollars to complete courses. Several Internet resources offer free online training programs, though, and students can use these courses to prepare for an official massage therapy course. While free programs cannot replace the educational requirements for obtaining a massage therapy license, they can prepare students for success in the classroom. By reducing the likelihood that a student will have to repeat a course, these free resources can save a considerable amount of money.
Work as an Apprentice
According to the Florida Department of Health, massage therapists may complete an approved apprenticeship program as an alternative to undergoing an expensive formal education course. According to the massage therapy website The Body Worker, apprenticeship programs often require little or no expense and require that students invest more heavily with time than money. As an added benefit, The Body Worker points out that hands-on practice often requires less memorization than a book-based course, and these programs can provide valuable personal experience not available in a classroom.
Though a massage student can become a licensed massage therapist in Florida with relatively little expense, students should use caution when cutting back on costs. Students trying to save money by taking an online education program, for example, can miss out on valuable hands-on experience. Additionally, students should verify that any educational program they begin appears on the list of Florida Board of Massage Therapy approved courses, as the Board may not approve a license application from students who completed a non-approved program. Finally, students cannot avoid some expenses; at the time of publication, the state requires all applicants to pay a $155 application fee when applying for a massage therapy license.