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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Pensacola School of Massage Therapy Creates Wellness Careers

Aug 01, 2012 10:21PM


Kim Kobacker is a student from Pensacola about to complete her seventh month of an eight-month massage therapy training program. She is enthusiastic about all aspects of her experience at the Pensacola School of Massage Therapy & Health Careers (PSMTHC), and says, “I chose this school for several reasons. First, the teacher-to-student ratio allows for personalized instruction. Second, the front office and management staff works with you to prepare you financially and to help you to plan for your education. Third, and most of all, is the knowledge, experience and variety of specialty training of the instructors.”

Statistics show a growing demand for professional massage therapists employed in different types of facilities: physical rehabilitation centers, chiropractic clinics, health clubs, resort spas, cruise ships, university athletic departments, beauty salons, corporate offices, hospitals and private practices.

The PSMT program combines lecture, lab and clinical study totaling 640 hours, with 60 being a clinical practicum. Approximate completion time is eight months. Financial aid is available in the massage therapy program to qualified students.

One of the reasons for the success of the program is a dual approach to student preparation. The staff is devoted to both the education of the students and helping them find employment. Judy Holley, the school’s director, explains, “The program is designed to provide the student with the theory and practice of massage therapy, incorporating a variety of recognized modalities, so that the graduate will be well prepared to pass the licensure exam to become a licensed Florida massage therapist. We continue our support of our graduating students for the workforce with our school placement service.”

The placement service includes help with resume writing and interview techniques, provides potential employer lists and current job openings and makes referrals for upcoming positions as employers communicate their needs to the school. The graduate employment rate is 92 percent.

Paul Pearson, LMT, owner of Northwest Florida Sports and Medical Spa, is one of those successful graduates. He states, “Pensacola School of Massage Therapy & Health Careers played a very important role in launching my career as a licensed massage therapist and my clinic. The advice didn't stop once I had graduated. The instructors were there to answer all my questions about contracts and setup that didn't arise while in school.”

Rick Perry, LMT, and a PSMT instructor, says, “Teaching, to me, is bestowing passion onto my students so that they desire to receive that knowledge. The challenge of making my students “hungry” is the best thing about my job.” He continues, “Our job as teachers is to make our students successful in the real world. Students can take great steps toward this objective by having a certain level of interest, curiosity and passion for the material they are learning.”

While applicants need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and have the desire to become a licensed massage therapist, Pearson has words of advice for anyone interested in massage therapy, “Study hard and get in shape. Your brain is the toolbox that's going to make you successful, but poor body mechanics can be a career-ender in our field. Your body is the tool that's going to get your clients back to their daily activities and keep them coming back.”

In addition to the massage therapy program, the school offers education and job placement services for two other medical careers. “The nursing assistant program is a 15-week program, providing theoretical and clinical experiences necessary for the student to acquire the entry-level competencies required of certified nursing assistant,” explains Holley. “The medical assistant program prepares students for a broad spectrum of entry-level positions in the medical assistant field. The student learns the clinical, as well as the administrative, aspects of medical assisting.”

Kobacker summarizes, “The quality of the instruction provided by all my teachers is phenomenal. They care for their students; they want you to succeed and will help with your goals—days, nights and weekends.”

To enroll, contact the admissions office at 850-474-1330.

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