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Massage Therapy as a Gateway for Advanced Medical Training

Massage Therapy as a Gateway for Advanced Medical Training

A man smiling with his thumbs up. He is wearing scrubs.

Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues to enhance a person’s health or well-being. Those who don’t know what it entails to become a licensed massage therapist often underestimate massage therapy as a gateway for advanced medical training. On the contrary, massage therapy leaves multiple paths to choose from within the industry and other health fields. Based on what you learn in school, your hands-on experience, and the similarities between professions, you are bound to end up right where you belong.

Massage therapy credentials

Massage Therapy School

The credentials needed to become a massage therapist can only be obtained through a massage school. At the American Massage & Bodywork Institute (AMBI) you get the skills you need to help you build a successful massage career. The major areas of study are anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology along with basic CPR/first aid training. With 700 hours of training, in the classroom and hands-on student clinic, you’re able to get certified and become a licensed massage therapist.

Board Certification & State Licensing

Upon graduating from AMBI, with the skills retained for you to succeed, the next step is to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The MBLEx is governed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Once you have obtained a passing score, you’re able to become a licensed massage therapist through the Virginia Board of Nursing.

Roadmap to advanced medical professions

Career Opportunities

There are plenty of career opportunities for a licensed massage therapist that lead to other professions. You have the option to work in a variety of places such as spas, clinics, fitness centers, and chiropractic offices. As you learn your tricks of the trade through experiences, you may find yourself wanting to do more to help your clients with chronic issues.

Continuing Education

Even if you’re not contemplating advanced medical training life can still take us by surprise. Your clients or colleagues may suggest a new opportunity that leads to a new career path. Massage therapy has a large list of modalities that you can gain advanced training in with continuing education. Often these modalities, such as deep tissue and myofascial therapy, are what lead to advanced medical training.

Advanced medical training massage therapists pursue


Paramedics are highly educated in anatomy and physiology, cardiology, medications, and medical procedures. These qualities are what make paramedics advanced providers of emergency care. If you recall, massage therapists also study anatomy and physiology, therefore choosing this path won’t be too foreign to you. Massage therapists who choose this path often felt a trigger when they learned CPR/first aid training. Even the smallest things you learn in massage therapy can help lead to a more advanced medical career.

Physical Therapy (PT)

The most common option for career advancement amongst massage therapists is physical therapy and vice versa. The reason for this is because massage therapy and physical therapy go hand in hand when it comes to the client. As a massage therapist, you help ease your clients’ pain through muscle manipulation, whereas physical therapists are trained to restore function on the area of focused pain. A physical therapist also studies anatomy and physiology along with patient evaluation and examination and much more.


Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that is mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Spinal adjustment is a core treatment of chiropractic care which is why having a massage therapist on board helps to ease the pain. Chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists work together to execute a plan of action for their clients/patients. Though most massage therapists get the satisfaction of being a part of a team that helps their clients, some want to do more and therefore decided to advance their medical training.


For those wanting to take a bigger step into advanced medical training, nursing is a fantastic option for massage therapists. In massage school, you understand that you are caring for others holistically, while nurses are taking a more westernized approach. The environment for a nurse is much different than a massage therapist who worked in a spa-like environment. You may be missing the aroma in the air along with the peace and tranquility, however, the passion for helping others is what would have led you down this path. Nursing does require a lot more schooling, but in the end, your hard work and dedication, as well as your background experience in massage therapy, will help you get through it.