Massage therapy is the manipulation of body tissues , like muscles, tendons, and ligaments using the hands, fingers, and forearms.
There are five steps to becoming a massage therapist. Read “What Is Massage Therapy?” to learn more about the basics of massage therapy.
Step 1: Enroll in Trade School for Training
Most U.S. states, including Illinois, require massage therapists to be licensed  before practicing. The number of documented hours and other requirements vary by state, but your education should provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to take your state’s licensing exam.
The Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) Massage Therapy Program provides the student the skills and hands-on clinical training needed to perform therapeutic massage utilizing a variety of techniques. Students will learn how to relieve clients’ soft tissue pains and connective tissue traumas, plus massaging for relaxation purposes.
Graduating students should be well-versed in wellness, nutrition, medical ethics, and trigger points of the body, and will have also studied lessons on therapy business management.
Step 2: Take the Massage Therapy Licensing Exam
Multiple exams are accepted to receive a license. The exam in current use nationwide is the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)  Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).
Registration for the exam can be completed via mail or online.  The fee is $195. After registration is approved and payment is documented, students can schedule their examination. On test day, students will need to bring proper identification. 
Exam results can be provided free of charge to one state licensing agency.
Step 3: Comply with a Background Check
The State of Illinois requires fingerprint-based background checks  in order to receive a massage therapist license. Fingerprints must be taken 60 days prior to exam application submission and should be made electronically through a licensed vendor.
Out-of-state applicants may have their fingerprints made on traditional cards from the Illinois State Police.
Step 4: Apply for the Massage Therapy License
Application materials  for the massage therapy license can be obtained from the Illinois Department of Finance & Professional Regulation. These application packets include certification education forms, which are to be filled out by school officials, to prove the student met the requirements. The application fee for the license is $175.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation may issue a license, but the Massage Therapy Board may also view the license application to determine eligibility.
Step 5: Launch Your Own Practice or Seek Employment as a Massage Therapist
Full-time and part-time positions may be available for massage therapists depending on their employers. Massage therapists can find positions in a variety of employment options , like the following:
- Health practitioners’ offices
- Nursing homes
- Sporting and fitness facilities
- Private practices
The massage therapy industry also offers the potential for entrepreneurship. Self-employment allows therapists to create their own hours and schedule appointments onsite or in-home. These massage therapists will need to own their own tables or chairs, sheets, pillows, and lotions.
Starting Your Career as a Massage Therapist
Becoming a massage therapist involves several steps, from enrolling in trade school, to passing the exam, and eventually setting up your own shop or finding employment at any number of facilities that employ massage therapists. The Massage Therapy Program at MTI can be completed in less than a year. If massage therapy is the career for you, contact the MTI Admissions Team to learn how to enroll in the Massage Therapy Program.
Sources https://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm  https://www.massagetherapylicense.org/state/illinois-massage-license.html  https://www.fsmtb.org/  https://www.idfpr.com/profs/massagetherapy.asp  https://www.fsmtb.org/mblex/application-process/ https://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm#what_do_massage_therapists_do_in_treating_patients