RMTs Need the Right Fit for a Workplace

So you’re an RMT looking for a place to work.

Starting my career 20 years ago as a shiatsu therapist, finding a place to work was tricky. A few years later with acupuncture added to my repertoire the opportunities were still limited.

Once I graduated from Sutherland Chan as a RMT in 2001 I had many options as a massage therapist: spas, hotels, chiropractors, physiotherapists and more. Luckily I came with a lot more than just my massage techniques to offer potential places to be hired. Today the landscape seems even more full of potential as well as a lot of competition for you to outshine to land your desired work place.

It really all comes down to what you are looking for. Sometimes it’s hard to know until you try and then you find your situation is not really working well for you. There is a lot to navigate in our industry from pay scales to studio ethics, it’s important you take the time to ask the questions you need to establish a basic understanding of what it will be like to work in your considered environment.

What works for you won’t work for someone else so take advice from friends, colleagues and well meaning family members with the idea in mind that they may not know exactly what you need and it may take you a little time to get oriented. Selecting a good workplace helps with listening to your gut feeling. I recommend you make friends with that feeling, in our line of work it comes in handy.

It’s always a good sign if there are other therapists of any¬†industry who have been there for awhile. Bodyworkers are often transient for various reasons (no quiet workspace, poor access to new patients, office or management politics to name a few) so if there is a good rapport between the studio / clinic / spa and therapists that’s definitely a good sign.

The main RMT hands on opportunities are:
salaried (employee)
split percentage (sub contractor / self employed)
sole proprietor (self employed) such as renting your own space and handling everything yourself
The most common work places are:
massage clubs
MT or other private RHPA clinics / studios (chiropractors, physiotherapists, MDs)
multidisciplinary clinics
rent a room
work from home

Things to pay attention to in finding a fit for you:
What kind of pay structure do you prefer?
What is your maximum patient load in a day?
If you are busy you spend lots of your time in a room with a patient, do you want a team that you feel connected to or does it matter?
Do you like the people you have met when interviewing and mingling in the space?
Do you like the environment?
Are the company’s ethical policies important to you (hint: you are an RHCP now, ethics should be on your radar)?
Does the type of clientele matter to you?
Are you interested in having opportunities for research or other avenues?

It would be terrible to find a perfect fit only to be declined once you have started or established yourself due to specifics. Consider the following and inquire with your potential work place:
Is working from home or making house calls a conflict of interest (COI)?
Is working at another location a COI? Does proximity make a difference?
Do you agree on the details (on call or stay for the full shift, etc…)

Once you have a good sense you may like to move forward be sure to pour over any contract be it with a studio or a landlord for a space to lease. A contract outlines expectations and what happens when those expectations are not met. In my experience things usually go well and the contract stays tucked away in a drawer.

This piece only touches the surface of what to consider in finding a good fit of a place to practice for you. There is no absolute perfect place but hopefully with a little due diligence you can find something that allows you the space to feel comfortable and work with opportunities to grow in the way you would like in your career for a decent amount of time.

M. Susan Sheedy

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