New Grad Perspectives: Joining a Professional Organization

My name is Meg Runyan. I'm a recent graduate of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and am pursing my massage therapy license in IL. I'm excited for my new career of of helping people find relief from pain and reconnection with their bodies and I invite you to join me. Over the next several months I will be documenting my journey on the ClinicSense blog.


As a new massage therapist I am looking to build my reputation and also learn from others. It hasn’t been long but I already miss massage therapy school. I miss being surrounded by students and instructors, having a community and being able to “talk shop”. I loved the exchange of ideas and information. Now that I have graduated and am out on my own I am working to build my own community of professional bodyworkers. As part of that endeavour, I joined AMTA, American Massage Therapy Association.


Joining a professional association has helped me feel connected to the world of massage therapy. I have mostly used my AMTA membership to view webinars, online classes and publications, post my resume, and look for jobs. So far there hasn’t been any personal contact with fellow members, but I know that will change soon. I feel that my AMTA membership has connected me to the wider world of Massage Therapy. I get to hear about different people’s approaches to massage therapy, learn about various modalities, discover research, and gain advice from others.


Besides connecting to other massage therapists, joining a massage therapy organization can be like a one stop shopping for massage therapists. You can get liability insurance, help setting up a website, discounts on supplies, discounts on marketing services, a place to advertise your business or post your resume, and educational materials.


For me, the primary reason to join an organization was getting liability insurance. I know you can get insurance without belonging to an organization. I’ve been down that road before with a previous business I owned. But this time I wasn’t interested in spending time shopping for insurance agents that may or may not have experience dealing with massage therapy insurance needs and regulations.


Posting my resume on my organization’s website has also been a big help. I found many job opportunities and I even had people contact me after seeing my resume online through AMTA. This was incredibly encouraging and gratifying to have people search me out.


There are quite a few organizations out there to choose from. I chose AMTA, but do your own research. Decide what you need from a professional organization. What will make it worth your hard earned money? Then figure out which one is a better fit for you.


For me, being a part of a professional organization is like getting a massage. It reminds me of why I love massage therapy and reinforces how important massage therapy is to our health. The ongoing education, support and community I find in being a member keeps me grounded in what I think is important, encourages me to keep learning, provides tools for the profession and challenges me to be the best massage therapist I can be.