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  • Writer's pictureMARY LIGHT ND MH LMT


Ours is a school for professional training and development, offering training in a curriculum that is rare to find in this country. And, while learning and engaging in what we have to teach can improve your health, and that of those you love, for life, which is priceless in of itself- most of our students enroll to shape a career and earn a living. Either way our students are welcome.

Let's look at some figures: currently, our massage therapy tuition, falling under $6,000, is a good deal. One of the reasons for this price point is we do not double or triple that figure just because FAFSA is offered. (getting a FAFSA loan is something that must be paid off, and quite a few of the schools funnel their grads into low paying job offers so they can keep a status with FAFSA) How might that investment, of under $6,000, play out in the near future? Well, I can cite the example of a few students:

"J" is a new graduate, who got a job that initially pays a 50% split, then in 90 days a 60% split, and soon a %70.00 split. I have a connection with the clinic, and I referred "J". They operate to keep their therapists happy and well compensated, and this in return keeps the therapists in a longer term stable employment, which is win win for everyone- business owner, clients, and therapists. This particular clinic employs about 8-10 therapists, is expanding, and is not really that unusual in the area. It is a private business; franchises generally have a very different business model and pay much , much less.

Taking the conservative middle road in my calculations here - with 20 sessions a week, a 60% split, (they get tips too, and I am not factoring them in, but lets say likely 800$ month) is 900$ a week, or 3600.00 a month. These hours - admittedly there is turn around time between sessions, and this is based on a 4 day a week commitment- leave time for a life of other things as well- perhaps another job, attention to home and family, Travel. Jump ahead to when the LMT is up to 70% split, and you can do the math. Like I said, this was a conservative estimate. Do more math- you will learn you have paid off your investment in much less than a year. Like the old saying goes, this education can "pay for itself".

Even with 4 generous weeks off per year (so working 48 weeks, and not 52 weeks, although one probably COULD) - grosses $ 43,200.00- 50,200.00 (adding in some conservatively estimated tips to the higher end of the stated spectrum. This is 13- 17K MORE income per year, than a recently touted massage therapy job description for 30K a year. A person does well in this situation, projecting reliability, likability, stability, and good skills and desire to learn more- they are going to have a good resume and good references going forward. Attitude, grooming, compassion, attention to detail are all assets here.

We guide and train out students to understand the market, the market forces, and the hidden forces behind that which influences new students just starting out. I see many students settling for "placement" (which there is no such thing as), in a 17$ per session job with often uncertain scheduling and sometimes unsettled management. I also have seen grads leave these positions as soon as they can..... although others , not our grads, stay because they think this is "the field".

Compare the situation with J with that of "S" - S applied to work at a chiropractic office, and they offered 19$ a session. This was difficult to live on, but even worse- numerous times S would commute out to their office, dressed and ready to work, and they would announce that one or more clients were "no shows". No show in this case meant "no money". A good scheduling and cancellation policy and respect for the licensed therapist would avoid, or at least alleviate this. S ended up leaving that clinic fairly soon, within a couple months.

There are two main pathways to a good income and a sense of security in offering this work- One- securing a position in a small business owned by an established local person. This is the scenario described above. Two- Visualizing and creating your own center/clinic. Maybe you will be the one taking the risks and profits; setting rates, marketing, hiring. Maybe you will benefit by the synergy of working in a space with reliable, skilled people- doing things your way - that the community feels confident about, and therefore are patrons. However, if you are never trained to negotiate with confidence and understand some of the nuances of the field, you may not be equipped to take the higher road.

There is nothing wrong with starting out at an entry level- sometimes this is a good way to assess the strengths and weaknesses of business operations. But don't think if you are consistently feeling low paid, with a schedule you have no input or control over, and work in any but a peaceful and professional environment, that you cannot leave for something better.

Natural Medicine- Herbal Medicine- This area of professional endeavor and thus potential income takes more training. There is no way that a skimp on basic training and hands- on instructional mentoring will result in anyone doing well financially with consults as a means of income. Our two year program is intensive, and we recommend annual continuing education. When training involves "seeing, doing, repeating, making, creating, sensing & touching", under guidance, the feedback and learning curve is exponential. For the student, it is worthwhile to have some vision about future planning, and living in reasonable proximity to the schooling studio is good planning.

That all said, students can offer different services at some point while in school and charge for the services. This is particularly helpful for learning, professional development, and not merely for the income!

Herbal Medicine and Food Medicine and natural healing in general is enjoying an unshakable emergence into our culture, as we learn to understand and teach others that it is based on the Natural Sciences, is Practice Based Evidence, and we learn to document and prove healing outcomes through training. Range of fees for consults are 25$ for a brief advisory, up to $400 for an evaluation and treatment plan for more complex cases..... plus good rates for group work and teaching. Developing a service apothecary adds an extra level of income to this equation, as does diversifying services, which is why a DUAL DIPLOMA (naturopath /herbalist & massage therapist) can work out so well.

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