Massage School law on earning while being a student

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Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby vedicmanu on Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:53 am

Hello All,

I am very glad to find this forum where can talk to fellow massage therapists. I just passed my Massage therapist exam called MBLEX in OHIO . I had a question regarding the laws associated with the school.

The school told us that students of massage by state law are not allowed to do massages and earn money legally . We are however required by state law to a specific amount of hours of practical which is giving massage. That being said by law we are supposed to offer free massage . The school does have a student clinic. It is a really good thing they have going as we do massage real clients. BUT THE SCHOOL EARNS $35 FOR ONE 50 MIN MASSAGE. Students do get a very good exposure of the massage environment before they start working. The law says we cannot earn while we are students. So which one is right ? Practically we are earning money and that is how school is getting the money. And is is going against the law. I am confused. Can someone help me in here ? I would really appreciate all comments and helps. Thanks
Last edited by vedicmanu on Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby pueppi on Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:14 pm

It is my understanding that a student cannot charge for massage while they are still in the "learning" phase.

They are basically working under the schools license during the time they are in the student clinic, because they have not been licensed and are awaiting their certificate of graduation/degree to be conferred.

In order to graduate, they need to be supervised while performing the skills they have been taught.

Therefore, they are not working for the money. The financial transfer is for the school to be able to stay open so that they can practice under the supervision of the licensed MT's at the school. Fees collected are for rent, electricity, staff, etc.

Once the student has passed their examinations, state licensing, etc. -- then they will be able to charge for services rendered.
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby vedicmanu on Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:57 pm

Thanks so much Pueppi for the Reply.

Yes I know all that . But give it a thought. A student MT is not allowed to call himself a MT and earn money. However the body energy workers do massage and earn money ...just they cannot call themselves 'Therapists'. So a student MT is giving massages ( and a full 50 min professional massage ) ... and people are getting benefited by it and there is also the danger of getting clients hurt . All these happens based on the fact that the school has a license of practicing. So Ideally it should be free massage for people as the sole purpose is students to learn how a professional massage and real client environment feels like.
Taking advantage of that the school is earning money and also putting clients to the hands of inexperienced in training MTs. The excessive school fees that they put on us should pay for the clinic too.
This certainly sounds to be a glitch in the law that can be fought against. :smt011 I welcome all comments .. all experienced massage therapist and administrators please put in your views. Thank You :D
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby JaeMarie on Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:41 pm

So Ideally it should be free massage for people as the sole purpose is students to learn how a professional massage and real client environment feels like.

Taking advantage of that the school is earning money and also putting clients to the hands of inexperienced in training MTs. The excessive school fees that they put on us should pay for the clinic too.


There's part of your statement that confuses me a bit. Whether a client pays or not does not change the degree of inexperience of the student working on them. The school is still "putting clients to the hands of inexperienced in training MTs" no matter what they charge.

Depending on your outlook on many things in life, "ideally" maybe many things should be free. The bottom line though is that there are still expenses incurred in running a student clinic. Pueppi touched on them - staff to make the appointments, collect payments, supervise and instruct the students, purchase massage supplies, laundry/linen expenses, utilities, rent, marketing, licensing, permits, insurance, and I'm sure there's some that I've missed. Those expenses exist for the school, so someone has to pay for them. One option is that the client pays a very modest fee, and the other option is that the student pay via increased tuition. If I had a choice between the two, I would DEFINITELY require the client to pay - not just to lighten the load on the student but because you're more likely to get clientele that's at least somewhat invested in the outcome of the session and isn't doing it just because someone "hooked them up with a freebie."

I don't see the school as taking advantage of anyone in these situations, UNLESS there are some potential extenuating circumstances that we're unaware of. All things considered, schools are not getting rich off the backs of their students performing massages at their clinics. That said, even if they were, who are we to say what they should or should not be allowed to make? If their practices were truly over the top and unfair, then as word gets out, fewer people would partake in their services (from either the student end or clients.)

I'm not sure what the average massage rates are for your area, but around here student massages are typically about 50% of what a professional massage goes for. The cost difference between the two is roughly what the therapist is making. Considering that the facilities expenses will be same whether it's a student or pro, this seems about right. Now factor in the expense of having someone supervise and teach the students, and the schools "profit" is actually less.
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:51 pm

Every state is different.

In DC, for instance, you can be an "applicant" for your massage license and work for pay so long as you have a "supervisor" you are in contact with (they don't have to be present during the sessions) Does not matter if you are fresh out of school or have 20 years experience, DC Law treats both as an "applicant"
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby melekalikimaka on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:26 am

If I'm understanding correctly, you are asking how can the school charge for student massages if students can't get paid? It's simple - the school is getting paid, not the students. In your state (and in mine) a student cannot make money -including tips, since tips are taxable and if you report tips on your taxes that means you are essentially getting paid to do massage- but the school can charge for their student clinic. As long as students aren't getting paid or receiving tips, it's OK.
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:48 am

melekalikimaka wrote: As long as students aren't getting paid or receiving tips, it's OK.


Again this varies by state

In CA, students can earn tips -- which is up to them to report as income -- since tips are considered a gift from the client to the service provider, not renumeration from an employer
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby Pete on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:38 pm

vedicmanu wrote:So Ideally it should be free massage for people as the sole purpose is students to learn how a professional massage and real client environment feels like.


I fail to understand why, in your opinion, "it should be free massage." Is there no value to the recipient? If the massage you're providing as a student has no value to the recipient, doesn't that make the education you're getting in school worthless as well?

Taking advantage of that the school is earning money and also putting clients to the hands of inexperienced in training MTs.


...for the purpose of giving those students the opportunity to gain experience. Let's not forget that student clinics are supervised. What you see as "taking advantage" of the student clinic, I see as offsetting tuition via hours worked in clinic. The money charged by the school for massages provided in their student clinic is factored into their budgets, offsetting tuition. Look at it as the school charging you $X + Y # of clinic hours to = Total Tuition.

The excessive school fees that they put on us should pay for the clinic too.


I'm curious how much your tuition is and how many hours your program is - just trying to understand what you find "excessive..." I'm also curious as to how many student clinic hours you're expected to put in. If we're talking about hundreds of hours, maybe you have a point. But, if we're talking about 10-20 or so hours, you're going to spend more time than that being worked up over it - especially if, as you suggested, you decide to fight against what you perceive to be a "glitch in the law." Either way, it's a student clinic, not a sweatshop. You're not being "forced" to do it; I'm sure it was something you agreed to as a graduation requirement when you registered for school. As a matter of fact, I'm certain it was disclosed to you before you even completed the enrollment application.

This certainly sounds to be a glitch in the law that can be fought against. :smt011 I welcome all comments .. all experienced massage therapist and administrators please put in your views. Thank You :D


Unpaid internships, in this case student clinic, are common in many industries. You're welcome to fight, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you "win" and somehow manage to have student clinics "outlawed" tuition in your state will certainly increase proportionally. If the schools are precluded from charging for student clinic sessions, wouldn't that also have a HUGE negative impact to the market for professional massage?
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby maestra on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:54 am

Pete has a point... I chose a school that had 13 weeks of clinic. (1 day per week x 4 one hour massages).
The school I chose was about $2000 cheaper than the most popular one in the state at the time... even so it was mid-range for all the schools that offered massage in the state. I chose it because the course was more condensed... and I could get out and earn a living much quicker that way. (1 day a week for over a year wasn't going to cut it for me, I couldn't stand the people I was working for at the time.)

And speaking of unpaid internships, the spa where I work recently had a chance to get to know a guy who had went to a massage program at a university that did not offer clinic hours, and he had did an unpaid internship with a massage therapist a couple towns away.
He had so much attitude and bad habits that they literally felt he was going to be way too much work to "retrain" him. So they didn't hire him.
So, I just thought I'd put my 2 cents in for unpaid clinic hours... hopefully they catch your bad habits before they get out too bad & end up costing you a job like this young guy.
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Re: Massage School law on earning while being a student

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:10 am

Student clinics are common in lots of industries, including Dentistry.

No one is being taken advantage of -- consumers know what they are getting and it is very good value for the price they pay, students gain experience and the schools can defray some costs. Sounds like everyone wins
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