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Under the leadership of Catherine, human resources, and Juliet Mee, owner, Professional Massage Training Center has 100 students and $1.9 million in 2010 revenues.
Under the leadership of Catherine, human resources, and Juliet Mee, owner, Professional Massage Training Center has 100 students and $1.9 million in 2010 revenues.

2011 Dynamic Dozen No. 6: Professional Massage Training Center

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When Juliet Mee hung out her training shingle after 11 years as a massage therapist, her goal was simply to find skilled help to beef up her business.

“I found that the people that were available … didn’t have the same kind of training I had or the same philosophical background,” she says. “I intended to run one class, never anticipating there would be enough people to start a second class.”

That was in 1994, and 17 years later, Mee’s Professional Massage Training Center has grown to annual enrollment of about 100 and 2010 revenues of $1.95 million, up 94 percent from 2008.

As a result of the school’s growth, Mee has shifted her focus to training.

“There was a tremendous need and tremendous interest,” Mee says.

Some of that need has been fueled by state regulations. Missouri began issuing massage therapy licenses in 2000. Regulations – written in part by Mee – require massage therapists to complete at least 500 hours at a state-certified school, as well as meet hourly requirements for supervised massage theory and practice techniques and pass a background check.

“When (massage therapy) became a recognized player in the allied health scene … there was additional credibility given to the practice,” Mee says. “The other thing it did was it washed out the people who weren’t serious about doing massage.”

It also permanently altered Mee’s focus. Since 2000, she left behind her hands-on massage practice and now focuses exclusively on training her students.

“Everyone was a lot more in a (mindset) of seeing this as being a viable way to enhance their health, so frankly, more people took it seriously,” she says. “That’s when I decided this is what I wanted to do day in and day out.”

Professional Massage Training Center now offers two 900-hour massage training programs approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

“We went from 600 hours to 900 hours, and that’s a pretty big deal. To add 300 hours in training, we had to believe people would spend the time and the money for what would be that level of education,” Mee says.

While response has been good – Mee cites the example of a student who recently relocated to Springfield from Florida to attend classes – she notes that operating a state-certified training school presents ongoing regulatory and recruitment challenges.

“Due to the fact that we are approved by the Department of Education, we have huge regulations that we have to follow,” she says.

She notes, too, that finding qualified instructors, who must have had a successful private practice for at least three years, and enticing them into the classroom, isn’t always easy.

“Most are not looking to go teach at a massage therapy school because it’s far more lucrative to be out in the field,” Mee says. “We’ve gone away from the concept of therapists who happen to teach.
Now everyone who teaches here or works here, this is their full-time job.”

Plus, she says, those who are chosen to teach have to be the right fit for the school.

“Just because they can do the practice doesn’t mean they can teach,” Mee says.

Her goal now, she says, is to expand the school’s graduate placement assistance, which will foster long-term growth.

“If we don’t have successful graduates, we shouldn’t be bringing new people in the front door,” she says.

Click here for the complete 2011 Dynamic Dozen overview.[[In-content Ad]]

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