Pros and Cons of Pursuing a Specialization
I’ve discussed this topic before, but I’ve got a few new thoughts that I want to share with you all today. When you first enter this profession, it can be tough to set yourself apart from all the other massage therapists in the field. One way to do that is to pursue a certification that goes beyond the training you received to become a LMT/CMT/etc.
Before doing so, it’s important to get out there and practice the skills you’ve just learned in your basic training to figure out what kind of bodyworker you are and what inspires you about the work. Once you have an idea of your “voice” as a bodyworker, you can get a better idea of what speciality might be worth pursuing. Maybe you want to be more clinical with your work and help clients get out of pain or deal with injuries. Maybe you want to increase the add ons your clients can choose for your relaxation work like aromatherapy or hot stone. Maybe you want to learn how to do energy work to bring a more spiritual aspect to your practice. Or maybe you want to completely shift the paradigm and check out something like craniosacral, movement education, or structural integration.
There are so many different ways that a bodywork practice can manifest and pursuing further training can be a great way to help you learn the skills to achieve the practice you wish to have. While I lean toward to side of pursuing specialization with further training, I wanted to take a second to discuss both the pros and cons of this decision.
1. Learning new approaches and techniques
What we learn in our training to become massage therapists just barely scratches the surface of all the different skills, techniques, and approaches that bodyworkers can use. Taking the time to learn more ways to help your clients can only benefit your practice in the long run by giving you more tools to help your clients heal and relax.
2. You can increase your rate
I always recommend to my students who have just completed one of the Morales Method® certifications that they consider raising their rates. They have taken the time, spent the money, and made the effort to increase their skills and competency and it’s important that they acknowledge that by increasing their rate.
3. Set yourself apart from the pack
When you receive a certification, you can really set yourself apart from the masses. You can often change your title from massage therapist to whatever your new certification is to show they’ve received further training.
1. More education requires an investment of time, money, and effort
Unfortunately, receiving a certification isn’t necessarily easy. It can be a bit of a sacrifice to make it happen. Fortunately, these days you can find programs that take this into consideration and attempt to make it affordable, flexible, and accessible.
2. Your current set of clients may not be interested in your new modality or approach
While you may be very excited about pursuing further training, you may have some current clients who aren’t looking for anything different. This is when it’s important to advertise your new offerings to attract new clients who want to experience your new skills!
3. Committing to a program you may find doesn’t work for you
It’s important to consider the commitment you’ll be making to the training for whatever certification you choose. Be picky and do your research! I have definitely heard of people jumping head first into a program only to find out halfway through that they aren’t as interested in the material as they thought. This goes back to what I said in the beginning, once you know your “voice” it will be easier to know the program that is right for you.
Pursuing further training to advance your bodywork skills is a big decision to make. My final note is that once you complete a training, I highly recommend letting the new information sink in and giving yourself time to see how it manifests in your practice before pursuing yet another training. The learning environment can be extremely fun and it might seem like learning as much as you can will only continue to benefit you. However, I would challenge this idea and encourage you to let things marinate a bit before jumping into another program.
Alright folks, that was a big one! I hope you found it helpful and of course if you're interested in learning more about one of the four different certification programs available through the Morales Method®, make sure to check them out here or send us and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.