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How much training and experience do Thai Massage Practitioners require?

Thai Massage practitioners require basic training for certification, but there are few guidelines for continuing education or assessment.

Sirius Health is proud of our team. But an excellent Thai massage practitioner continually challenges themselves to improve and deepen their knowledge of Thai massage.

We have created a practitioner roadmap for our clinic comprising eight levels of Thai massage proficiency. Each class has explicit criteria, including association membership, hours of hands-on training, practice, years of experience, and the number of certifications in Thai massage modalities. Our practitioner rates then correlate with these eight levels of Thai massage proficiency.

Training + Practice + Experience = Proficiency

The advantage to our customers is twofold. First, since we document the progress of our practitioners each step of the way, there is no surprise when the rates rise for a practicing practitioner. But more importantly, the more we learn and progress in our professional field, the better service we can offer you when you book with us at Sirius Health.

Student Practitioner

Rate: $50/hr

Accreditation: None
Hands-On Training: 30
Client Hours: 0

Apprentice Practitioner

Rate: $60/hr

Accreditation: None
Hands-On Training: 60 hrs
Client Hours: 75 hrs

Certified Practitioner

Rate: $70/hr

Accreditation: NHPC
Designation: Certified Thai Practitioner
Hands-On Training: 150 hrs
Schools Attended: 1
Client Hours: 150 hrs
Years Experience: 0
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 0
Level 3 Modalities: 0

Registered Practitioner

Rate: $80/hr

Accreditation: THAI, NHPC
Designation: Registered Thai Therapist
Hands-On Training: 250 hrs
Schools Attended: 2
Client Hours: 1500 hrs
Years Experience: 3
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 1+
Level 3 Modalities: 0

Advanced Practitioner

Rate: $90/hr

Accreditation: THAI, NHPC
Designation: Advanced RTT
Hands-On Training: 350 hrs
Schools Attended: 3
Client Hours: 3000 hrs
Years Experience: 6
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 1+
Level 3 Modalities: 1+

Instructor Practitioner

Rate: $100/hr

Accreditation: THAI, NHPC
Designation: Registered Instructor, Advanced RTT
Hands-On Training: 500 hrs
Schools Attended: 4
Client Hours: 4500 hrs
Teaching Hours: 500 hrs
Years Experience: 9
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 1+
Level 3 Modalities: 2+

Senior Practitioner

Rate: $110/hr

Accreditation: THAI, NHPC
Designation: Registered Instructor, Advanced RTT
Hands-On Training: 1000 hrs
Schools Attended: 5
Client Hours: 6000 hrs
Teaching Hours: 1000 hrs
Years Experience: 12
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 1+
Level 3 Modalities: 3+

Master Practitioner

Rate: $120/hr

Accreditation: THAI, NHPC
Designation: Registered Instructor, Advanced RTT
Hands-On Training: 1500 hrs
Schools Attended: 6
Client Hours: 7500 hrs
Teaching Hours: 1500 hrs
Years Experience: 15
Level 1 Modalities: 1+
Level 2 Modalities: 1+
Level 3 Modalities: 4+

Accreditation

The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) represents over 6,300 practitioners who work in over 60 massage and holistic health practices, including Thai massage. NHPC is committed to strengthening and maintaining professional standards for its practitioners across Canada.

Certified Thai Practitioner: To certify as a Thai massage practitioner, NHPC requires that a practitioner have a minimum of 150 hours of in-person training at Thai massage schools recognized by NHPC.

Thai Healing Alliance International (THAI) is an international network of massage therapists, teachers and schools that work in traditional Thai massage. THAI promotes basic standards of study and practice of traditional Thai massage worldwide and offers the general public information about Thai healing arts.

Registered Thai Therapist (RTT): The minimum requirements to become an RTT are 250 hours of formal hands-on training with two different teachers or schools, and 40% of this training must be with teachers or schools affiliated with THAI. At least 18 months must have elapsed since completing your first training.

Advanced Registered Thai Therapist (Advanced RTT): The minimum requirements to become an Advanced RTT are 350 hours of formal hands-on training with at least three teachers or schools, two of which must be associated with THAI. Advanced RTT members must also have studied at least once in Thailand and have completed at least 10 hours of Thai cultural studies. At least three years must have elapsed since the completion of the practitioner’s first training in Thai massage.

Registered Instructor: The minimum requirements to become a Registered Instructor are 500 hours of formal hands-on training with at least three different teachers or schools, and 40% of this training must be with teachers or schools affiliated with THAI. Registered Instructors must have a wide range of study and experience with many different teachers over a minimum of 3 years. In addition to manual techniques, they should also have some study experience in Thai acupressure protocols and basic knowledge of Thai element theory.

Hands-On Training

With formal hands-on training, a student learns Thai massage by performing massage on other students under an instructor’s guidance. Working with instructors and other students in person provides opportunities for more significant interaction. More importantly, the instructor can work with the student to provide guidance.

Certified Thai Practitioner: NHPC requires a practitioner to have at least 150 hours of in-person training.

Registered Thai Therapist (RTT): THAI requires 250 hours of formal hands-on training for a Registered Thai Therapist.

Advanced Registered Thai Therapist (Advanced RTT): The minimum requirements to become an Advanced RTT are 350 hours of formal hands-on training. Advanced RTT members must also have completed at least 10 hours of Thai cultural studies.

Registered Instructor: The minimum requirements to become a Registered Instructor are 500 hours of formal hands-on training. In addition to manual techniques, they should also have some study experience in Thai acupressure protocols and basic knowledge of Thai element theory.

Schools Attended

In the Western tradition, becoming an expert means becoming more and more specialized in your field. Thai massage is not a static discipline with an established set of techniques taught identically in every Thai massage school. Schools share a basic understanding of Thai massage, but each school does Thai massage a bit differently.

Two Thai massage practitioners from two different Thai massage schools will do Thai massage differently. So to become more proficient in Thai massage, a practitioner must learn from more than one school.

Certified Thai Practitioner: NHPC requires that practitioners only study at one NHPC-approved school.

Registered Thai Therapist (RTT): THAI requires formal hands-on training with two different teachers or schools, and 40% of this training must be with teachers or schools affiliated with THAI.

Advanced Registered Thai Therapist (Advanced RTT): The minimum requirements to become an Advanced RTT are 350 hours of formal hands-on training with at least three teachers or schools, two of which must be associated with THAI. Advanced RTT members must also have studied at least once in Thailand.

Registered Instructor: A Registered Instructor must have a wide range of study and experience with at least three different teachers or schools, and 40% of this training must be with teachers or schools affiliated with THAI.

Client and Teaching Hours

Simply learning new skills is only the first step to proficiency. Once a practitioner learns new skills, the next step is to practise the acquired skills deliberately. Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition, leading to new knowledge or skills that can develop into more complex understanding.

Neither NHPC nor THAI requires specific hours of client practice or teaching practice for their designations.

Years Experience

The final component to proficiency is experience. The difference between practice and experience is that practice is usually done in a controlled environment. But the real world has many more variables. The more you encounter various variables, the better you become at dealing with and anticipating them.

Certified Thai Practitioner: A practitioner may apply for certification upon completing their hours of hands-on training at an approved school.

Registered Thai Therapist (RTT): THAI requires that 18 months pass after a student first studies Thai massage before they are eligible to become an RTT.

Advanced Registered Thai Therapist (Advanced RTT): THAI requires at least three years of practice before a practitioner can qualify as an Advanced RTT.

Registered Instructor: A Registered Instructor does not require more hours of practice than an Advanced RTT, simply more training.

Sirius Health Practitioner Roadmap

A Student Practitioner requires no formal hands-on training, and the Apprentice Practitioner requires 60 hours of training, equivalent to taking Levels 1 and 2 at most Thai massage schools. The Certified Practitioner must meet the exact requirements of NHPC, while THAI requirements define the education requirements for the Registered, Advanced and Instructor Practitioners. The Senior Practitioner must receive an additional 500 hours of hands-on training after becoming a Registered Instructor.

The Student practitioner does not require any hours of practice as it is a learning position, but the Apprentice practitioner requires at least 60 hours of training. For a Certified Practitioner, Sirius Health requires at least 150 hours of client sessions and 150 hours of training.

Once a practitioner is certified, we set the bar even higher, requiring 10 hours of practice for every 1 hour of study needed from a previous level. For example, to move from being Certified to Registered, a practitioner needs to accumulate 10 hours of practice for each of the 150 hours they spent training to be Certified. Likewise, a Registered practitioner must complete 10 hours of preparation for each 250 hours they spend training. And so on up the list.

If a practitioner wishes to advance beyond the level of Advanced RTT, they will need additional skills such as communicating well, organizing subject material and more. The best way to learn is to practice teaching Thai massage, so we require teaching hours equal to hands-on training for both the Instructor and Senior Practitioner.

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