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How Top Educators Are Tackling the Issues Facing Their Schools & Students

At the AMTA 2011 Schools Summit, AMTA Executive Director Shelly Johnson presented AMTA's 2011 Massage Profession Research Report. Attendees then broke out into five groups to identify some solutions to the common challenges their schools are facing right now. Read on for key takeaways from the discussions on consumer marketing, massage and health care, and how schools can better use technology.

What challenges does your school face? What solutions are you implementing? Continue the discussion on our Facebook Teachers Online Forum.

Takeaways From AMTA 2011 Schools Summit Roundtable Discussions

How can schools guide new massage therapists in effectively marketing to consumers across a wide range of income and education levels?

  • Increase Required Amount of Business and Marketing Hours
    - Weave business theory into the entire program, not just one class
    - Add more business classes to program
  • Teach Students to Better Understand Demographics and How to Market to Them
    - How to identify their particular target markets
    - Understand local market
    - Teach students the definition of “demographics”
  • Sharpen Students’ Communication Skills
    - Improve use of social networking websites in professional capacity
    - Help students develop skills to increase frequency of treatments by explaining therapeutic benefits
    - Teach marketing on social media
    - Teach students networking and presentation skills
    - Make sure students understand and communicate the value of what they are doing
  • Equip Students With Full Toolbox of Techniques and Modalities
    - Help students identify their niche specialty and how to communicate their specialty with clients.
  • Engage in More Public Outreach on Benefits of Massage
    - Encourage presentations to appropriate groups
    - Work with other area schools
    - Use social media to develop relationships
    - Develop relationships with health care providers
  • Present Students With More Consumer Information
    - Teach from AMTA Massage Profession Research Report
    - Contact local therapists and businesses about what is going on in the “real world”; gather regular feedback and incorporate into teaching 

How can schools best prepare students for employment in the health care field or to obtain health care referrals?

  • Communication Skills in Health Care Terminology
    - Learn health care terminology to establish credibility
    - Use current research to communicate benefits of massage for specific conditions
    - Have other health care practitioners come into chapters to talk about what they expect from massage therapists.
    - Invite health care providers into classroom to interact with students
  • Professional Interactions and Experiences in Health Care Settings 
    - Establish externships in health care settings or clinical sites
    - Internships within other physical modality schools or practices. Example: sports medicine
    - Establish clinical affiliations and build relationships with places students are likely to work
    - Develop relationships between school and local hospitals and health care professionals
    - Educate health care and medical students about massage and how to utilize it
    - Make students aware of scope of practice –know what it refers to and why
  • Utilize Research
    -Turn research into marketing vehicle
    -Encourage students to get involved in research, both efficacy and studies
    -Participate in research literacy—"break the language barrier"
    -Educate general public about efficacy of massage for specific conditions
  • Workplace Options
    - Identify workplace opportunities within health care settings
    - Educate students on who health care providers are and basic information regarding scope of practice and how to obtain referrals
    - Participate in sporting events, community gatherings and health fairs to establish connections

How could your schools use technology to address your school’s challenges?

  • Use Social Media to Connect With Students
    - Create Facebook page for each group/class. Choose someone to monitor and update.
    - Facebook page to update students on what’s happening at the school
    - Create LinkedIn group for graduates, current students, practitioners and other associated professionals
    - Integrate YouTube videos into teaching
    - Use Twitter to update students on class developments and news in massage therapy
    - Use Blogs, including student-maintained blogs
  • Move Parts of Student Clinics Online
    - Develop website with clinic information, downloadable forms and online scheduling
  • Distance Learning Options for Non-technical Courses
  • More Processes Online
    - Upload class materials online
    - Begin application process online
  • Monthly E-newsletter
  • Challenge Non-technical Faculty Members to Embrace Technology

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Satu F., AMTA member since 2003

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