When Cissie and David Pryor opened the Tennessee School of Massage (TSOM) they had one goal in mind; teach others how to make a great living doing something they absolutely loved. Thirty three years and hundreds of students later, they're still at it, and the future couldn't be brighter.
What began as a dream quickly blossomed into a healthy and profitable business deeply woven into the fabric of Memphis. In fact, TSOM has become the oldest, singled-owned massage therapy program in the state of Tennessee. And what's behind that longevity? Well, according to David Pryor, it all comes down to great training, where art meets science.
“The world of massage therapy has grown significantly over the last thirty plus years. Although today there are quite a few good therapists in the community, it’s getting harder to find really great ones who know the material and the "Art" of massage. They know the science, the anatomy, the academics, but the art of massage was never taught. We provide our students with a hands-on program that encompasses both sides of the coin. Our students are highly sought after and are widely recognized for having that 'special touch'.
Over the years, the massage industry has grown into a well-respected and lucrative industry. According to the United States Department of Labor, 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 159,800 massage therapist employed across the U.S. It is also estimated there will be 2 22% employment increase over the next decade, "as more healthcare providers understand the benefits of massage, with these services becoming part of treatment plans.” With an average annual salary of $41,420, it’s clear to see why massage therapy remains a prominent career path of choice.
TSOM also offers a competitive edge for its students by offering both theoretical and practical education—all under one roof. Students can gain the scientific expertise needed to be successful while experiencing hands-on clinical exposure— bringing the concept of art and science full circle. “By having our practice and school all in the same building, | think that’s what sets us apart,” said Pryor. “Other programs have a student clinic and the students never get a real sense of their real immediate monetary value. They leave school knowing that whatever massage they have been providing has been done at a drastically reduced price and they're not sure what to charge for their work. We arm our students with the skills to command top-dollar, helping them to launch their careers much faster."
The road to a career in massage therapy begins with a solid education. In Tennessee, students must obtain a minimum of 500 hours of instruction from an approved school and pass the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board's (FSMTB) Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). A robust program will cover massage application, pathology, kinesiology, law, ethics, body systems and anatomy and physiology.
Another advantage of the massage therapy career track is that most students can complete the program in approximately a year or less.
Additionally, the full cost of tuition can range between $8,000 to $14,500 (depending on the program). With the national average tuition of an undergraduate degree ringing in at just about $35,000, most students appreciate obtaining a marketable skill, at a fraction of the cost and at a fourth of the time. And leaving school with no debt is a real bonus in these days of overwhelming student loans.
Once a student has earned the title of, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), they will find a number of career options at their disposal. LMTs work in chiropractic offices, day spas, on cruise lines, with professional sports teams, in hospitals and resorts. Many students have used 2 career in massage therapy as a platform to either start their own Private practice or as a seque into physical therapy programs (which have been traditionally challenging to enter without some prior knowledge of the industry and practical experience). In short, the options are endless.
If you've been interested in learning more about the industry or have a knack for giving great massages, then a career as a massage therapist may be the solution you've been seeking. At the Tennessee School of Massage, you'll appreciate small class sizes and individual attention, an array of class options (with day and evening availability) and convenient payment plans.
Call (901) 843-2704 to learn more and discover how the principles of holistic care can create a meaningful, worthwhile and profitable profession with unsurpassed stability.
The Tennessee School of Massage is authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). This authorization must be renewed each year and is based on an evaluation by minimum standards concerning quality of education, ethical business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility.