How and Why you should get your Massage Therapy License

Calling all unlicensed massage therapists!

Your call to action has finally arrived – in this article we’re going full shiatsu on why it’s critically important to get your massage therapy license if you want to compete in today’s saturated market of 385,000 massage schools and students.

Becoming licensed takes time and effort, so ideally you want to be certain you’re allocating your time and resources to get the best bang for your buck in terms of investing in your massage therapy business and yourself as a business owner.

We’ll discuss what to focus on, provide resources for training and certification, as well as additional resources for your perusing pleasure.

We’ll also cover the basics of why this is important to begin with. After all, if you’re going to invest time and energy in upgrading your business to the next level, it’s important that you’re not running East looking for a sunset!

This article will be your north star in terms of guiding you to licensed salvation.

We’re going to get deep in with our elbows and really unravel this knot of confusion that stresses most unlicensed massage therapists out – getting licensed – how and why?

Self help gurus advocate that the how always follows the why, so let’s take a page out of their personal development book and follow that same rhythm.

PART 1: WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSE

According to an IBIS report from 2017, massage therapy is a $16B market.

One of the best ways that you can differentiate yourself from the competition (of which there is plenty) is to become a licensed massage therapist.

The benefits of this are numerous and self-evident, but here they are regardless:

 

  • Become a Trusted Pro
  • Grow Your Client Base
  • Take Advantage of Special Business Opportunities

 

In our usual fashion, we’ll be tackling these one by one. Let’s start off with the trust aspect.

1) BECOME A TRUSTED PRO

If someone wanted to touch your body (roughly), wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing that they’ve been trained and certified to perform those actions?

That’s exactly how your clients feel.

You may be acutely aware of all pressure points, danger zones, and warm-up routines that constitute a consistently invigorating massage experience for your clients. (By the way, all puns intended!)

But they don’t know that!

So how are you going to communicate this to them? Just tell them?

You’d be falling into the all-too-common trap of the Self-Serving Bias (also known as the Self Preservation bias – basically it means that folks are more likely to say things that would be beneficial to enhance their own self image).

Instead of being the dime-store huckster who’s constantly selling themselves to everyone, why not prove your worth by putting in the time and effort to earn a certificate which binds a trusted seal of approval to your name and your brand.

2) GROW YOUR CLIENT BASE

We already mentioned that you’d be winning over more clients and leading with a trust symbol that captures their attention and makes them more comfortable with booking a deep tissue with you.

Ideally, you could accomplish this by displaying your license visibly in your place of business and also in your social media. Facebook and Instagram are great platforms to post a picture of yourself holding your license!

Make sure to also include the logo of the accredited state institution from which you hold a license on your website. You could even put it on your PocketSuite booking form to increase trust when folks book you online.

All of these tips will help clients choose you over the competition, which ensures the long term health of your massage therapy business!

3) BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

There are tertiary benefits to becoming licensed. Not only do you get more opportunities to work with trusted lenders as well as payment processors (that want to see a massage therapist with a license since it mitigates their risk and increases your lifetime value. If you are licensed, you are likely to have less unsatisfied clients who request refunds or dispute their credit card payments to you.)

You’re missing out on some serious networking opportunities by not being part of professional massage therapy organizations as well! A lot of these organizations will only include licensed massage therapists as members. It makes their network appear to be more exclusive and, thus, more valuable to those who want to do business with massage therapists from large brands to consumers looking to book sessions.

Further, these organizations really teach you how to turn your massage therapy business into a full-fledged career. Don’t miss out on this!

One last tip for you on this: if you are planning on hiring other massage therapists, make sure they’re licensed as well to mitigate your own risk.

Okay, now that we’ve chopped and kneaded this issue into submission, let’s move on to the brass tacks of it all. Namely, how to actually get your massage therapy license.

PART 2: HOW TO GET YOUR MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSE

According to AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) there currently exist in excess of  265+ accredited massage therapy institutions in the United States alone.

Here is an abbreviated 3 step process for getting your massage therapy license that is recommended by the AMTA itself:

  1. Complete a training program at a massage therapy school that will qualify you to practice in your location.
  2. Upon graduation, meet the requirements of your state or municipality (such as obtaining a license or other credential, if you practice in an area where massage therapy is regulated). This will most likely require passing the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
  3. Find a school or program near you: see a listing of AMTA School members.

You can also find a list of schools by state here.

In simpler terms, you need to go through a training program and then pass the MBLEx!

Click the link above to find an accredited school to get your training program under your belt.

Then, once you’ve graduated from training, go to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMFB) and apply to take the MBLEx.

There is a varied assortment of practice tests available online that you can take before putting up the cash to take the actual MBLEx.

Make sure you practice at least once before diving into the exam as it is known to be challenging!

For example, here’s one of the test prep questions:

Quite a doozy, no doubt – study up!

Make sure you’re prepared. I have faith in you! Thousands of massage therapy pros are killing it on PocketSuite and so can you. You can easily make a $100,000+ a year in income as a licensed massage therapist.

Dealing with messaging, payments, recurring appointments, scheduling, and administrative hassles can become quite a burden as you grow your massage therapy business.

For this reason, I would recommend saving yourself some time and headaches and finding a solution that can take the work out of your massage practice, and enable you to focus on what you’re best at.

Speaking of, once you’re licensed, you should give PocketSuite a shot if you need an app that can run your entire front-end business for you, so you can focus on healing, de-stressing your clients, and running your massage therapy business.

You’ll finally be at peace and can breathe a sigh of relief as your business runs on auto-pilot. Imagine that! Now go make it a reality. You’ve got nothing, but glory ahead. 🙂

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

How to Run Your Private Practice with PocketSuite

Not all therapy practices are created equal.

In this article we will discuss how to efficiently and effectively run your practice using the latest tech.

But before we get into it, let me ask you a question: Let’s say you’re looking for a doctor. Would you choose a practice that’s disorganized and still using pen and paper (read: stuck in time) or would you prefer to go with an MD that effectively utilizes the latest tech to create a seamless pre- and post- visit experience?

If you run your own therapy practice, it should come as no surprise that your prospective patients are seeking a really user friendly, on demand experience from you.

Here’s a follow-up question: How well are you prepared to compete with practices that *are* using modern tech? They don’t need to spend hours sorting through patients files, organizing a pen-and-paper office, and endlessly searching for specific patient’s info.

Not to mention that each part of your therapy practice is essentially a system. From the first moment patients find you (probably online) to when they walk through your doors, all the way to your communication (or lack of communication) post-visit… it all matters, and it all stacks up to create a huge differentiation for your practice.

These small changes especially matter when you start to take into account the effects of a powerful marketing strategy, coupled with solid response management systems in place for smoothing out any friction during the visit, all the way to turning more first time patients into regulars after their first introductory visit.

Practice Management deserves a massive article in itself, but in this article we will touch on the major struggles that most therapists experience and how modern technology (namely the device that’s usually in your pocket – you know, the one you’re probably reading this on right now) can change your practice and your life.

Thinking of the future of your practice is also important. As you grow, take in more patients and expand your office, are you going to hire more therapists, admin, office manager, and take on that additional responsibility? How do you plan on managing them? Read on for the solution that’s worked for thousands of therapists across the country…

The bottom line – you need the right tools to properly run your practice. One of the most important and useful tools in your therapy practice is an app that can help you automate everything. Does an app like this exist? Look no further… PocketSuite is here to give you some “couch time”.

Why Choose PocketSuite?

PocketSuite is a completely customizable Practice Management tool that you can use in many different ways. PocketSuite allows you to “fill in the holes” of your practice, giving you and your in-house staff the ability to focus on core competencies and more creative work.

As a therapist, you must also stay compliant with HIPAA regulations, which has so many different layers to it from data privacy to data storage to business associate agreements and more. By the way, PocketSuite is completely HIPAA certified, making it a smart choice if you’re looking to stay compliant.

Let’s take a look at some features that therapists say are essential to their practice:

Calendar Sync

Still using Google Calendar or iCal to sync your appointments? It’s time for a better solution… utilize PocketSuite’s calendar sync feature to keep everyone on the same page without the messiness of Google Calendar or iCal. This also avoids double bookings and makes scheduling easy for new patients.

Recurring Appointments

Easily create recurring appointments for your practice to ensure your patients are coming back again and again! No more playing calendar tetris with your patients.

Payments

With PocketSuite, you can complete and charge appointments, and also save payment information so there is no need for the dreaded conversation with your patient to request their credit card.

Forms (Private)

Our therapists that manage their practice using PocketSuite love the Forms feature, which is completely customizable, as it allows for note-taking during each consultation. Feel free to send them your existing forms and they’ll get them imported for you in 24 hours. No more messy papers or notebooks scattered about! Those notes are all saved in your client history for easy reference when you are on-the-go. See below a list of forms that are available in your default account:

  • Counseling Treatment Plan Template – set treatment plan goals with your client
  • Therapy Progress Note Template – track your client’s progress
  • Sample Model Template – understand client triggers, responses, and implications
  • Behavioral Activation Counseling Template – empowers clients to keep a journal of their experiences and responsibilities
  • Exposure Hierarchy Template – identify high and low stress points
  • Introduction to Anxiety Counseling Template – plan for reducing stress and anxiety

HIPAA Certified

PocketSuite’s entire platform and everyone working at PocketSuite is 100% HIPAA certified, so no worries! Your data is safe, your business line is secure, and your practice is 100% HIPAA compliant with PocketSuite. If you already have a business line that you would like to use, no problem PocketSuite can port your existing business line in so you don’t need to make any changes.

Discounts

Because you are collecting payments individually when you use PocketSuite, you have the ability to give individual discounts as you see fit. Offering a first-time discount is a popular way to expand your practice and nudge patients who are still on the fence about working with you. With PocketSuite, you can easily apply a special discount for select patients. Most importantly, you do not have to give up your profit margin on all patients.

Surcharges

You can add discounts, and you can also add surcharges as well. This is perfect for rush appointments and last minute changes. PocketSuite also protects your practice by giving you the option of passing along the processing fee as a convenience fee to your patients.

Custom Patient Profiles

In order to ensure that your patients are a good fit, you need to screen them! PocketSuite allows you to customize the fields that your prospect sees when going through the online booking process. You can add any question you want answered along with the traditional details that will help to identify and process your patients.

Leads

Outside of helping your therapist practice, PocketSuite also helps you with lead generation. You can build up and manage your list of patient leads online and all of their information will be accessible from the app.

Questionnaires

As a therapist, you definitely know the importance of the exit interview. Add a survey or a questionnaire and send it directly to patients to fill out post-visit. If you have existing forms, feel free to send them to PocketSuite and they can import them for you. Otherwise, they have great default forms that you can customize and use. See below a few client forms and templates that are available automatically in your account.

  • New Client Registration Intake Form – capture new client information
  • New Client Questionnaire Template – document important health and medical information for treatment
  • Notice of Privacy Practices Template – notification of privacy practices so your clients are aware of how you secure their information
  • No Show, Late Cancellation & Co-Payment Policy Template – helps ensure your time is respected
  • Child Intake Form Template – useful when working with adolescents

Staffing

You can have a closer relationship with your staff through PocketSuite in the same way that you can have it with your patients. PocketSuite allows you to add your team of therapists and admin to the platform. From there, you can assign them clients or they can be booked directly by clients. They can also process payments and you can pay them through the app as well.

Recurring Appointments & Appointment Reminders

You can use the PocketSuite platform to schedule recurring appointments so that you don’t lose track of your patients, even as you build the rest of your practice. Automate the process of custom appointments all at one time, and you will never have to worry about patients falling through the cracks again. You can set appointment reminders for clients based on how much advance notice you think they need to ensure they don’t forget a session.

Contracts

When you have patients that are ready to book, it is time to close the deal in an official way. Sending a contract to your patient using PocketSuite locks in the commitment to you. It also helps you keep your patients on the same page and explains the details that usually require a lot of back-and-forth explanation – now that’s no longer necessary. There is nothing worse than working with a patient and then waiting to get paid because of a miscommunication. The contracts feature helps you get rid of this problem for good. If you have existing contracts, feel free to send them to PocketSuite and they can import them for you. Otherwise, they have great default agreements and waivers that you can customize and use.

Online Booking

Your patients will be able to complete the entire booking process online. You can also place a PocketSuite booking widget directly on your website so patients can book their first appointment with you right when they find you online. Boom!

PocketSuite is more than a mobile payment processing app – it literally automates your entire practice. From initial consultations to post-visit follow-up, it provides the tools that you need to run your practice inside and out.

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Top 9 Therapy Websites & Marketplaces to Join

When you are building your therapy, clinical social work or mental health business, growing your customer base and getting exposure can be challenging. With more and more competition, standing out from the crowd can be difficult.

Joining a therapy or health marketplace can be a great way to establish your practice and build your clientele in a high quality way. A lot more so than simply being listed on Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.

We’ve been speaking with dozens of founders of therapy marketplaces and organizations over the past few months, and we wanted to share our thoughts.

Below are nine different types of marketplaces eager therapists can join to help your practice grow, depending on your business’s niche and needs.

Big Brand & Reach

GoodTherapy for Mental Health

As one of the largest mental health directories in the world, GoodTherapy connects patients to professionals in 30 different countries. Each month, the network receives over 1.5 million therapist searches.

GoodTherapy focuses on collaborative care, with a focus on non-stigmatizing language and the client and therapist working together to identify solutions. For mental health professionals, GoodTherapy offers a wide range of continuing education materials, such as webinars, best practices and marketing seminars.

The platform also tracks visitors to your profile as a therapist. You can get access to real-time analytics as to how many clients are visiting your profile, how many are calling you, tapping on call-to-actions, etc.

To become a member it costs $29.95 per month, with discounts if you sign up for longer term memberships.

Platforms Doing Good

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective for Mental Health

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective believes everyone should have access to quality mental care, regardless of income. The mission of the site is to provide middle and lower-income people to affordable psychotherapy and mental health education services.

Individual clients can see a quality therapist for $30 to $50 a visit (well below market pricing). The mental health providers that are part of Open Path’s directory are either therapists building their practice and reputation or established professionals giving back to the community.

There are currently over 2,300 therapists in the community, but with rising client demand, many more are needed.  To join this non-profit network, therapists complete an online application and send in a copy of their license and liability insurance. For most, the process takes under 10 minutes there are no fees whatsoever for participating therapists.

International-Focused Platforms

International Therapist Directory for Mental Health

The International Therapist Directory (“ITD”) is a global listing of professional therapists, counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists who offer cross-cultural therapy. Spanning 40 countries, therapists can connect with clients and also network with other healthcare providers.

As our world becomes more and more culturally blended, with people living and working in new countries, culturally-sensitive healthcare providers are essential to provide relevant and helpful therapy.

The site is focused on professional therapists with credentials at the master’s level or higher, with a thoughtful understanding of the ‘Third Culture Kid’. Healthcare providers in the ITD network have a tendency to connect with one another to refer patients and share their expertise, so their referral network is growing quite considerably.

Member fee is just a $35 annual fee.

Directory, Community, Web-building & More

TherapyTribe for Mental Health

TherapyTribe is an online therapist directory that also offers online support groups with wellness tools and activities.  Offering support for people with mental illnesses, addictions and diseases, the site has a professional directory of thousands of therapists as well as self-help materials.

As one of the largest directories, TherapyTribe receives tens of thousands of visitors each week from people looking for help. In addition, therapists listed with TherapyTribe are featured to support group members using geo-targeting to match by location.  

TherapyTribe is now offering members a free professional therapist website included with their membership.  A membership with TherapyTribe gets your business in front of a national pool of potential clients for a monthly ($20) or annual fee ($199).

Where Physical & Mental Intersect

Essential Yoga Therapy for Holistic Approach to Psychology and Fitness

Essential Yoga Therapy (“EYT”) connects customers with specialized yoga therapists who prepare customized plans to treat chronic pain or illness. EYT focuses on yoga therapy as the evolution of the healing process.  

In addition to giving yoga therapists greater access to potential clients, the site also has quality educational resources. For example, there are sessions on how to teach a class with individuals dealing with scoliosis, covering techniques and pose adjustments that will not hurt the client.  

The site is tailored to certified yoga therapists who focus on the holistic needs and therapeutic practices for individuals. Essential Yoga Therapy also offers in-person training for its professional community to learn new techniques.

OCD-Specific

International OCD Foundation for Niche Mental Healthcare

As one of the oldest resources for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (“OCD”), the International OCD Foundation connects individuals and families with disease state information, support materials and healthcare providers.

The site has a targeted group of therapists 1,200 strong. In addition to a directory listing, professional members also get access to the annual conference access, entrance to the behavioral therapy training institute and clinics with providers specializing in the treatment of OCD.

There are millions of people affected by OCD (1% of the U.S. population to be exact), but finding therapists who are knowledgeable in the disease is difficult. This site connects individuals to specially trained professionals.

The foundation is thoughtful in making membership affordable to its professionals. There are 3 tiers of memberships – from students preparing to be licensed therapists, to institutional memberships – with a sliding scale of membership costs.

Regional Therapy Organizations

The Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work for Regional Care

There are a growing number of regional therapy marketplaces on a state-by-state basis, including the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work (“GSCSW”) as an example. Since 1980, the GSCSW has worked to advance clinical social work practices and empower professional social workers in the state of Georgia.

By becoming a member, social workers can network with other local professionals, access continuing education resources, and keep informed about legislation affecting the field.

Social workers can join the network with an annual fee ranging from $20 for a student, to $110 for a licensed practitioner. Upon joining, professionals are listed in the local directory and gain access to a forum of other professionals to pose questions and receive support.

On Demand Mental Health

7 Cups for Mental Health

Recently launched 7 Cups provides affordable, on-demand mental health services, connecting users to compassionate and trained professionals around the clock. From everyday stresses to more severe needs, 7 Cups offers users a safe space.

With over 800,000 site visitors a month spanning across 189 countries, the 7 Cups platform is rapidly growing and expanding their services. The benefit to the platform is that therapists can provide care online via messages through the app. All therapy is done through the HIPAA compliant platform, and allows clients to get online (and mobile) access to therapists without having to move a muscle.

For the therapist, the fee is $29.95 per month to be listed. In addition to 40% per client interaction if the client decides to book communication time with you.

For people who want traditional in-person care, 7 Cups also offers a practice directory. Professionals can get connected to thousands of potential clients the old fashioned way as well.

Alternative Therapy

Alternative Therapists Network for Non-Conventional Care

The Alternative Therapists Network (“ATN”) focuses on multiple modes of therapy and self-care for patients. ATN connects clients with counselors, yoga practitioners, life coaches, and music and art instructors. It offers a space for clients and professionals to find alternatives to conventional therapy and medication. This is a known challenge to established beliefs.

Users can find out about practitioners, their experience and their approach to therapy before ever contacting them. That way, they can ensure their therapist shares their ideals and philosophies before beginning sessions.

Clients can schedule appointments directly through the site, which makes it easier for therapists and instructors to build their clientele. For a fee, professionals can join the network, get connected to users and get access to webinars and training seminars.

The founding team of ATN also runs Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, sourcing and delivering great content and articles to ATN members.

Recommendation: First Research, Then Join A Network

As a therapist or healthcare provider, building your own practice can be daunting.  Joining a professional network or marketplace can help you establish your presence and credibility. For a small fee, you can increase your clientele as well as network with like-minded professionals.

It’s a worthwhile investment that will expand your practice.