"I just knew I was looking for a low stress environment where I could still make a difference in someone's life."

Role Model Photo Erin Coats

Health Field: Massage Therapist

Number of years in the profession:
5 year

Years in College: 5 years

Professional Credentials:
B.S. Psychology , Licensed Massage Therapist

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I had worked for a company that provided services for people with disabilities. I carried a pager and was on call 365 days a year. It was a very high stress environment. I decided that I needed to do something that was still helping people, but that I could "have a life" as well.

What other careers did you consider?
I considered going to graduate school and getting my L.P.C. since I already have a B.S. in psychology. Instead I decided to try something COMPLETELY different.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
I just knew I was looking for a low stress environment where I could still make a difference in someone's life.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
I went to massage therapy school for 7 months and had a 50 hour internship.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
Finding the time!

How did you overcome these challenges?
My husband kept our son durring all the hours I was gone.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training?

Present Career as a Massage Therapist

Describe an average work day for you.
I did not work while obtaining my bachelor degree. I did work while going to massage therapy school. I would be at work around 8:30am after dropping off my son at daycare. Put out "fires" all day long. Put my pager on vibrate and hope that it didn't go off every 30 minutes. Sometimes I would have to step out of class to address a work situation. I also gave up every other Saturday to go to massage therapy school.

How many hours do you work in an average week?

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
I work in an office suite.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
Time and patience to build up a clientele. Also, I have to make sure I stay healthy so that I can help others.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Hearing how much I have helped someone and being told I'm a "healer".

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
There is so much to learn about with massage therapy. Just remain open to ideas and learn all that you can. You never know when some bit of information you have picked up just might help someone.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Yes I would still make the same decision. I am very happy with what I've chosen. It is very rewarding and very low stress!

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
I am currently enrolled in a Doctor of Naturopathy and a Master Herbologist program. Because of massage therapy being an option for wellness, I became interested in learning of other ways to treat the whole (body, mind and spirit) and not just the diagnosis. It is a way to get healthy and stay healthy without harmful side effects.

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