Did you know that 82% of massage therapists began in the field as a second career? Mark McCray broke out of a stressful career and into massage therapy after graduating from the certification program at National University of Health Sciences in 2002.
Surprisingly, it was McCray’s work as a counselor for the Juvenile Department of Corrections that introduced him to the field of massage therapy. At the suggestion of a therapist, McCray booked a massage as a way to relieve stress from his demanding job.
After having such a positive experience from these massages, McCray desired to share that restorative effect with others. He looked into several massage therapy schools, but the program and facilities at National University created a lasting impression. “What really got me was the cadaver lab,” McCray said. “It’s one thing to see a picture in a book, but it’s another thing to actually see it physically and live.”
Watch the full interview with massage therapist Mark McCray and hear his tips for others looking to change careers in this video.
McCray recommends seeking out a variety of massage experiences in order to find out what works for you as an individual therapist. Popular massage therapies include Swedish massage, trigger-point therapy, cranio-sacral work, sports massage, pregnancy and infant massage, chair massage, and hot stone therapy.
Thanks to networking and skills he acquired at NUHS, McCray landed positions in upscale hotels and resorts in Las Vegas after graduation. Now, after more than 15 years in the massage therapy industry, McCray’s full-time career continues to thrive. He currently works in Atlanta, where he meets a wide range of clients, including those in the film industry. In 2017, Mandarin Oriental Hotels named McCray their Spa Therapist of the Year.
With the field of massage therapy expected to add 37,700 additional jobs by 2026, becoming a massage therapist provides a flexible career option. In the near future, McCray is looking forward to doing more traveling and working in different places. “As long as you can get your licensing taken care of, you can massage basically anywhere in the world,” he said.
Loving what you do is a key component to job satisfaction. If you’re feeling stressed out by the demands of your current job, consider a career change into massage therapy. Among health care support careers, U.S. News and World Report ranked massage therapist fourth best in terms of salary, job prospects, and work-life balance.