Massage therapy students learn from an instructor

Here is a riddle for you: I am something you already paid for. I can help you with your massage career right now.  You are underutilizing me or don’t know I can help you. What am I?  

Answer: your massage school.

After I graduated from massage school, it took me years to find my direction in massage. After speaking with two massage school directors, Robyn Zappy of The Wellness Institute of Chester County in Exton, Pennsylvania, and Alison Wioskowski of Cortiva Institute Massage Therapy & Skincare School in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, I wondered if I would have found success sooner had I used all the resources my school offered grads.

Massage schools can provide a range of free support for graduates, including job opportunities, networking with colleagues and massage skills training. Before we get into how your massage school can help you, the grad, let’s first talk about why you are still important to your massage school.

You Still Matter to Your School

According to Zappy, massage schools remain 100% invested in you—even after you leave.1 Why? From a pragmatic standpoint, it’s good business.

Here’s what I mean: You went to massage school to be prepared to do massage for a living. So, while you were in school, if your state has a licensing requirement, your massage school did everything it could to help you pass the state exam because a high passing rate amongst their graduates is great advertising for massage schools.

As you approached graduation, your school was invested in helping you find work. But here’s the thing: The job/career piece is an ongoing process. The first job you land out of massage school may not be your dream job. Again, massage schools want to do everything they can to help you succeed because a happy grad is great advertising for massage schools.   

This is not to say massage schools are only about business. All of us probably have experienced genuine connection and inspiration from school faculty members. It is the combination of business and genuine care that has put you in a position to be valued during and after your school time. With that in mind, it makes sense that schools would put time into making sure grads get good jobs.

Go Back to School to Find a Job

Job fairs are not just for massage students about to graduate, explains Wioskowski.2 At her school (and Zappy’s school), all grads are welcome back to attend job fairs. A job fair is a great way to compare employment opportunities side-by-side. You can get a feel for a business right away by how the representative of the business presents the business and interacts with you.

In a competitive world for massage therapists, a massage graduate with a year or two of experience under her belt is appealing to a business looking for someone with a proven track record in the massage world and who requires minimal training.

Go Back to School to Connect with Colleagues

In addition to helping you find a job, massage schools can help you connect with other massage therapists.

Let’s face it: Massage can be an isolating occupation. You make a living by working in a room with limited interaction with the client. There is little incentive to go outside the massage room to connect with other massage therapists. However, getting outside the massage room and meeting other people in the massage world is exactly what you need to grow as a professional. Massage schools can provide ways for you to connect and network with colleagues.

To start networking, check to see if your massage school has a Facebook page specifically for students and alumni. Also, look in your inbox for emails from your school. Wioskowski says her school sends out regular emails to alumni to let them know about activities and events that are open to alumni along with ongoing career-counseling opportunities.3

Some schools use text chat apps to keep alumni and students connected. Zappy’s school uses Discord. On this app, students, alumni and teachers can connect on different channels about specific topics. At Zappy’s school, some of the channels for alumni include jobs, continuing education and treatments/techniques.4

Once you start connecting with other alumni through the school’s social media platform or chat app, you could arrange a massage exchange with a colleague. If you see the value of being exposed to a variety of massage styles and techniques, you could also form a meet-up group to do massage exchanges and discuss techniques. If you work for yourself, you could start a massage business group to share marketing ideas.

So far, we have talked about the most common ways schools support alumni. Now, let’s look at something less obvious: massage skills training.

Go Back to School to Get More Training

The great thing about going back to school for more massage skills training is you probably won’t have to pay for it. Massage schools often invite experts in to demonstrate techniques and products to students. Both Zappy and Wioskowski have an open invite policy for alumni to attend demos. If it is a hands-on demo, you might find yourself helping students with the technique being taught. There is no better way to master a technique then having to teach it.

Attending a demo is not only a great opportunity to sharpen your skill or learn a new technique, it is a chance for you to see what it would take for you to be the expert demonstrating your work to massage students.

Go Back to School and Be the Expert

Why would you want to be the expert doing a demo? As an expert, you can build a list of massage students who may want to purchase your product, training module or CE course you are demonstrating.

For example, at massage schools I demo how to hold and use a massage tool without hurting your hands. Typically, I have an hour to do the demonstration, which consists of about 20% me talking and 80% students working on each other with massage tools because I want each student to experience my massage tools method firsthand.

At the end of the demo, I pass out a sign-up sheet for students who would like more information about purchasing a massage tool or attending my live/online body-mechanics and massage-tools CE courses.

Though most schools have technique demos, job fairs and online alumni groups, each school is unique. So, keep your eyes open for other ways your school may offer support.

Other Ways Schools Provide Support for Grads

Zappy’s massage school has an alumni/student meet-and-greet where students can talk to grads about the real world of massage, and alumni can connect with colleagues and faculty. Her school also offers LMT free refresher courses for alumni—a great way to sharpen skills, reconnect with faculty and build confidence. If you are struggling as a sole proprietor, Zappy’s school offers graduates massage business coaching. This is a paid-for service, as well as the cadaver dissection lab they offer to grads, too.5

Wioskowski’s grads can attend the preparation classes for massage state licensing for free if they need to take the exam post-graduation. The school also provides ongoing resume help for graduates no matter where the grad is in their massage career. If a grad is struggling to find employment, there is always an open invitation for grads to come back in to talk to the career-services counselor, who has a database of 400 massage employers.6

Go Back to Your School

If you didn’t have a good reason to go back to your massage school, maybe you do now. Your massage school can be a resource that connects you with fellow massage therapists and provides you with more opportunities for professional and financial growth.

If you are looking for a new massage job, attend a job fair or make an appointment with the career counselor of your school. To sharpen your massage skills, go to a massage technique demo. If you are looking to make extra money, consider being a demo expert and develop products and courses around your demo.

Reconnecting with your massage school could turn up other opportunities, like a teaching position or other school employment opportunities. Also, if you are growing a massage business and looking to hire massage therapists, you can arrange a time with the school to talk to students about your business. Personally, I have used this approach to recruit outstanding massage therapists for my massage business.

The bottom line is your massage school shouldn’t be a riddle to you. It is a resource that can help you have a successful massage career—and you have already paid for it.

Mark Liskey, LMT, CNMT

About the Author

Mark Liskey, LMT, CNMT, is a massage therapist, business owner, teacher and blogger. You can access his free, massage-business crash course on his business page.


1. Zappy, Robyn interview. 2023, August 18.

2. Wioskowski, Alison. 2023, November 28.

3. Ibid.

4. Zappy, Robyn interview. 2023, August 18

5. Ibid.

6. Wioskowski, Alison. 2023, November 28.