Berkana Alumni Survey

Being discouraged by the results of massage therapy career surveys on the national level, Jill Berkana decided to poll her graduates in 2014 to hear about their experiences in the massage therapy profession. She found a major gap between what was being reported nationally and the results of her own graduates. Here graduates reported success and satisfaction at a much higher level. Here are the raw results.

4-30-2014

Participants: Massage Therapists who trained with and possess a diploma signed by Jill Kristin Berkana LMT

Sample 83 out of 213 or 38.5%

Question 1: When did you graduate?

  • 2007 – 6
  • 2008 – 5
  • 2009 – 13
  • 2010 – 10
  • 2006 – 6
  • 2011 – 16
  • 2012 – 12
  • 2013 – 15

Question 2: Do you have your license?

  • Yes – 67
  • No – 7
  • Not Needed – 6
  • Pending – 2

Question 3: How many states or provinces do you have licenses in, or where you practice legally?  Which States/provinces?

(7 Graduates had more than one license and some had 3)

  • Arizona – 3
  • British Columbia – 1
  • Barbados – 1
  • Alberta – 1
  • California – 6
  • Canada – 1
  • Colorado – 23
  • Connecticut – 1
  • Florida – 4
  • Virginia – 1
  • Georgia – 1
  • Idaho – 3
  • Dublin, Ireland – 1
  • Indiana – 1
  • Louisiana – 1
  • Massachusetts – 4
  • Maine  – 1
  • Michigan – 1
  • Minnesota – 4
  • Wisconsin – 2
  • Montana – 5
  • North Carolina – 1
  • South Carolina – 2
  • New Jersey – 1
  • Oklahoma – 1
  • Oregon – 2
  • Pennsylvania – 1
  • Rhode Island – 2
  • Tennessee – 1
  • Texas – 3
  • Missouri – 1
  • UK – 1
  • Virgin Islands – 1
  • Washington – 2
  • West Virginia – 1

Question Four: Are you in practice now?

  • 5 said no
  • 10 said on the side, very part-time, with friends and family
  • 68 said yes

Question Five: How many hours of massage are you doing per month?

  • One person said it varies so that is thrown out.
  • 1 therapist said 1
  • 3 therapists said 2
  • 1 therapists said 3
  • 2 therapists said 4
  • 5 therapists said 6
  • 2 therapists said 8
  • 6 therapists said 12
  • 1 therapist said 14
  • 3 therapists said 16
  • 2 therapists said 20
  • 2 therapists said 22
  • 1 therapist said 24
  • 2 therapists said 28
  • 3 therapists said 32
  • 1 therapist said 36
  • 2 therapists said 40
  • 2 therapists said 44
  • 2 therapists said 46
  • 7 therapists said 50
  • 3 therapists said 52
  • 3 therapists said 56
  • 9 therapists said 60
  • 1 therapist said 64
  • 4 therapists said 70
  • 1 therapist said 72
  • 2 therapists said 80
  • 1 therapist said 88
  • 1 therapist said 90
  • 1 therapist said 96
  • 2 therapists said 100

Question Six: Have you specialized in anything?

  • Deep Tissue – 8
  • Pediatric OT  – 1
  • TRE – 1
  • CST – 3
  • Mindful Expressionism – 7
  • NMT – 3
  • Thai Yoga Massage – 4
  • Arvigo Maya Massage – 1
  • Prenatal – 2
  • Hot Stone – 2
  • Oncology – 2
  • NST – 1
  • Sports – 5
  • Integrative – 3
  • MFR, Muscle Activation – 1
  • Lymphatic Drainage – 1
  • Fibromyalgia – 1
  • Cupping – 2
  • Reflexology – 1
  • CRT – 1

Question Seven: Are you happy being a massage therapist?

100% answered yes and a graduate from 6 months ago said “it’s frustrating at times”

Question Eight: Are you working for yourself?

  • YES – 44
  • For myself and with/for others – 23
  • No – 16

Question Nine: If you are working for or with someone else, do you like it and are they fair? This is what they said:

  • Borderline… Not enough for me to be loyal. It’s just to start.
  • Depends
  • Eh, working for myself is much more rewarding but they are fair, surprisingly because I have found a lot of places are not
  • Fair, yes.  The pay could be better. I’d like $30 an hr. but It feels impossible to find unless working for chiropractic’s which I find aren’t as consistent.
  • I currently work for a chiropractor and I like it very much and am learning a lot.
  • I did work for a chiropractor and no they were not fair
  • I dislike my job in _________, and really like my job in ________.  My ______ job is everything we learned in school about selfish employers, the reason I am quitting soon.  My long term plan is to be independent, once I decide where to plant roots.
  • I do. They do all advertising, scheduling, call reminders, front desk work
  • I don’t mind, yes they are fair
  • I have a business partner but he is super flaky
  • I have in the past, and I honestly prefer to work on my own. They were generally fair but more focused on money than quality therapy.
  • I have worked with fair business in the past
  • I like it and they are fair
  • I love what I do, however not the owners of the franchise.  They were fair until they expanded and will now only hire therapists regardless of experience at $12hr
  • I was working for a resort spa. I did not like it.  I was asked on several occasions to do massage after massage without a break and the pay was not quite comparable.
  • It has its pros and cons.
  • Just started working for someone recently.  She is a massage therapist and seems to treat all of us fairly with good pay.
  • mostly, not really
  • spa experience has been OK
  • They are very fair and accommodating.
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • yes – very good employers
  • Yes and yes
  • yes and yes
  • Yes I love it and yes they are fair
  • yes they are great!
  • Yes, a bit resorty but they are very fair
  • Yes, and yes
  • Yes, for the most part they are fair and compliant
  • yes, very fair
  • Yes.  They are very fair
  • Yes.  Yes, he is my chiropractor.  He pays me 35.00 an hour
  • Yes. Happy with location and kindness of chiropractor. He has very kind clients. Not stoked about low wages in the south east.
  • Yes. I am learning tons in an awesome space
  • Yes. Yes

Question Ten: If you are working for someone else, are you an employee, or an Independent Contractor.

(some are both)

  • Independent Contractors – 32
  • Employees – 17

Question Eleven: Any Benefits? They said this:

  • Yes, aflac ins., continuing edu. free massage every month, paid time off…
  • i guess flexibility ha-ha
  • Chiropractic adjustment, use of a dry sauna.  no health insurance.
  • Discounts
  • Time freedom , Chiropractic , Acupuncture, facials , waxing
  • When I worked for the resort yes but as an independent contractor no.
  • My freedom of choice
  • Paid time off, free chiropractic and massage, paid maternity leave
  • In order to get health insurance I must be on the clock for 36 hrs. Minus 1hr god lunch.  I have to be in the bldg. even if I  am not seeing clients
  • use of facilities
  • Meaning? AMTA member and yes w/ health insurance and IRA ROTH
  • changing the positive vibration of this plant and the universe
  • Besides them providing most everything, no.
  • clients get booked for me
  • for full time, yes
  • I don’t have to think about it when I leave and still do it on my own when I have time.
  • Minimal
  • use of facilities
  • Just discounts
  • No but a bonus at end of year
  • Making my own schedule. On call.
  • discounts at spa, otherwise no
  • Retirement fund and optional health care
  • Some continued ed provided/possibly future health benefits

Question Twelve: What are you earning per hour of massage before taxes?

  • sliding scale $65.00-$100.00, Home/villa visits $125.00
  • $60.00-$75.00
  • $50.00
  • $24.00-$38.00 EMPLOYEE
  • Between $30.00 and $65.00 per hour
  • $80.00 to $110.00
  • $20.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $50.00 including tips
  • $30.00-$40.00 plus tips EMPLOYEE
  • $50.00-$70.00
  • $40.00
  • $50.00-$75.00 with tips
  • $49.00 (70%) of $70.00
  • $60.00-$90.00
  • $50.00-$100.00
  • $85.00-$150.00
  • $35.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $55.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $60.00
  • $25.00/50 min $40.00/80 min +gratuity EMPLOYEE
  • $45.00-$75.00
  • $28.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $60.00-$65.00
  • $50.00
  • $50.00
  • $70.00
  • $70.00
  • $75.00
  • $70.00
  • $150 Bds ($75.00 USD)
  • $35.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $80.00
  • $70.00
  • $70.00
  • $55.00
  • $75.00
  • I was charging $55.00, standard rate for my certification in BC, but charged $95.00 when i worked at a Lodge
  • $120.00
  • $85.00-$130.00
  • $75.00
  • $60.00
  • $70.00-$90.00
  • $90.00
  • $60.00-$85.00
  • $80.00
  • $40.00 EMPLOYEE
  • €45 euro
  • 100% $35.00-$90.00 dependent on length
  • $130.00 per 2 hour session
  • $85.00
  • $80.00-$120.00
  • $60.00
  • $60.00
  • $60.00
  • $50.00 – $100.00
  • $30.00 Plus tips when working out of another facility. $75.00 when they book through myself, plus tips. EMPLOYEE
  • $60.00
  • $70.00-$90.00
  • $27.00 + tips EMPLOYEE
  • $35.00-$65.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $60.00-$75.00
  • $20.00-$120.00
  • $55.00-$120.00
  • $36.00
  • 40% commission or $60.00
  • $42.50/hr (independent contractor) $80.00/hr private
  • $70.00-$100.00
  • $45.00-$55.00
  • $27.00-$60.00
  • $120.00
  • $85.00
  • $53.00
  • $30.00-$40.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $30.00-$38.00 plus 15 – 20% tips
  • $20.00 EMPLOYEE
  • $30.00 plus tips EMPLOYEE
  • 35.00 when I work for my chiropractor; $50.00 – $75.00 in my own practice
  • $40.00 per hr/ $25.00 per half hr
  • $25.00 plus all tips/opportunity for pay raises and quarterly bonuses – EMPLOYEE

Question Thirteen: Anything to Add?

  • Thanks for the great experience.. I’m hoping to get back into doing massage regularly soon.. It was a great education!
  • Massage is not my primary job. I have a number of clients that I work with on a regular basis. Some tourists and part time residence. In season my numbers are more than in the off season but not by much.
  • Massage therapy is one of the best gifts I’ve been given and one of the best gifts I can give.
  • I love my life as a massage therapist because it’s so flexible and allows me to do other work/hobbies.
  • I feel as though I am very good at what I do, well informed, well educated, intuitive, and mindful. My clients recognize and appreciate that. I am proud to be a massage therapist and am honored to have been your student. THANK YOU!
  • This has greatly changed my life. I cannot thank you enough for the incredible opportunity that you have given me. So much different than any school or teachers could have given in phila. I love what I do, though somewhat taxing on the body and I never really know if I’ll have tons of work or none…. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. It has opened up so many different opportunities and interests that have always been up my alley but never knew how to get there. Need to work on the business aspect much more! Thank you Jill!!!
  • Berkana did an amazing job setting me up for my career.  I know what I am worth, a lot.
  • Jill is the best massage mentor and if you can you should definitely look onto that asap.
  • I felt very much prepared by Berkana to begin work and have consistently heard that my body work is unlike anything my clients have received locally.  Thanks!
  • I would do it all over again if I could. I’ve enjoyed expanding my education and modalities by taking more classes at our local community college and traveling to Thailand this last year to learn Thai massage. I’m also a doula now which is a great partnership with massage.
  • It is pretty obvious that the school here doesn’t stress the self-respect and integrity of practice, as I learned through Jill Berkana.  It is a small scale example of when people are willing to work in subpar conditions, the standard universally is lowered, as it’s pretty well known throughout the area that no spa here is a great place to work.    The thing I have learned in this experience, is to have a voice, stand up for myself.  It only highlights how I look forward to having my own practice and growing as a therapist, once I plant roots.
  • I have a very busy practice. Been at the same Chiro/Spa since I moved out to CA in Oct of 2009. I maintain regular monthly clients–several of them have been with me for four plus years. CRT has changed my practice ten fold-from client wellness to increasing my revenue an additional 35% per year, over the last 3 years.   I love what I do–many referrals and often hear “That was the best massage I have ever had– your technique is amazing!”  My next venture is to take CRT, coupled with neck and shoulder massage, into larger business settings and cut back on total hours, at the same time increasing my revenue. Also looking into cross ventures with health and wellness center.   Life is good!
  • Because of the training we had with Jill,  I have the confidence and talent to make a lot of people happy. People come back because I am good at the job. I feel that my training is the reason for that! Thanks
  • Thank you Jill we love you!
  • I have to say that I am to this day humbled by and thankful for the amazing education I received training with Jill! Her passion for quality, connected, and mindful body work set the bar extremely high and has continued to be a guide in my personal practice. I am currently working with a school in Arizona that is very professional and a very nice place but I have to say that the quality of bodywork that I have experienced so far out of the students there is far below that of the education I received.
  • I really enjoy bring a massage therapist and appreciate everything I learned in school. I am always continually learning new techniques.
  • I feel that I am a few of the lucky MTs working in a spa franchise that is paid on a commission – so far.  It was made very clear to us in school that the value of the massage training (we) are receiving is valued at a minimum of $55hr.  It’s interesting to see in just the 3yrs I have been a therapist the decline of how therapists value is dwindling and worse to see an increase of practices that are starting up and hiring new therapists that feel they are forced to take it because they either lack the experience & or confidence to put on their own or worse yet…it has become the ” standard “.
  • 🙂
  • Berkana set high standards for us as massage therapists. I have been amazed at how some things I expect as a massage therapist, others therapists have no idea (cleanliness, promptness, contraindications).  Being patient in building my business and not sacrificing who I am or why I became a massage therapist has been my greatest challenge.
  • I love massaging at a spa because I’m always busy and I have a lot of friends there but the most growth for me comes when I have a home client. I can work within my boundaries and not the spas.
  • Keep up the great work Jill!
  • Even though I’m not currently practicing, going to massage school was the best decision I ever made and completely changed my life for the better.
  • 🙂
  • I am so incredibly grateful for my massage education.
  • Can’t wait to get in the full swing of things and massaging full time!
  • I am only doing massage here and there while I figure out what else I would like to add to it while going to school.     Thanks for the awesome experience! Hope you are doing well and hope to see you in Denver soon!
  • There was a point when I worked in a medi-spa. The doctor was paying me less than other therapists there using the excuse of trying to build the business. I was using my lotion as well as my massage table. I didn’t appreciate the treatment so I left to work for myself doing mobile home visits.
  • It’s slow going starting your own business. I don’t want to work for someone else, but may have to start so that I can pay the bills, feed my family. I can make money “cleaning houses” but I don’t want to clean houses, I want to practice massage. Anyways , it’s a complicated situation, not black/white.
  • I am so blessed to have this career. I have been able to be a mostly stay at home mom and work part time on my own schedule. My clients have been with me for many years, through 2, now 3, pregnancies & they are like family. I will continue on this path always!!!
  • I love you and the amazing education and skill I learned because of you!
  • Changed my life! I love what I do!
  • I am working as an independent contractor out of two locations. I work six days a week but I only do a maximum of 5 hours of massage per day. Some people think I am crazy for working six days but this allows me to do the things I enjoy. That is the great thing about being an independent massage therapist, YOU are in control of your schedule. I can chose my days off or manipulate my schedule in order to do the things I want.
  • It is my strong belief that massage therapists should be paid well for their knowledge and education.  A good massage therapist could mean the difference between a life of pain and a pain free life.
  • I really appreciated the aspect of being your own professional champion, it’s definitely more challenging, but rewards and confidence outweigh the obstacles.
  • Life is short, and I am happy
  • Massage has had a huge impact in my life. It has supported me to grow and expand my education and services as a Holistic Health Practitioner. No matter how successful I become in other areas I will always keep massage in my practice to keep the art strong and to keep me grounded. I am so grateful…
  • Business is starting to pick back up again –  I enjoy massaging on my own time and at my own pace. The freedom of being your own boss is rewarding. You can control the traffic of bringing in clients. I don’t advertise as much. I’m only word of mouth as I partake in other business ventures. However, I find myself having balance from my busy life, helping my clients relax from their busy life. It’s a place if serenity for myself and for the client. 🙂
  • I loved being a massage therapist when I lived in Boston. I worked part time while I was finishing college. Now I live in NYC and getting licensed would require going back to school. I figure if I’m going to back to school, why not add to my wonderful knowledge base from a different field like PT. I still do massages for the same price for friends or referrals very rarely as I’m studying a lot right now. I think what you’re advocating, Jill, is super important. I sometimes pay $20 for a quick 15 min chair massage after a manicure. A massage therapist doing their work with the knowledge and skills they have to offer a client that will bring them peace, relaxation, and feeling great, along with a host of other wonderful health benefits is definitely worth more than that. It is important for the client to realize too that if they’re paying $20 for an hour long full body massage, because their therapist is likely worn thin or because it’s not worth it to them to put that much effort into it anymore, the client might just get the quality they paid for. Not only does under paying hurt the therapist, but it hurts the client when there is no incentive for the therapist to put their heart and soul into their work because if they did they would just burn out.
  • Every massage I’ve ever given resulted in a very loyal client.
  • The training I have received is outstanding. I am head and shoulders above any other therapist. I have challenged and succeeded the boards in Canada. I wouldn’t want to be trained under anybody else.
  • I love being a massage therapist. I have connected with so many different people and it’s a continuous journey learning about myself and others. I really love the financial freedom and working for myself allows me to enjoy time off and setting my own hours. I’ve used the art of massage to travel the world and gain lifetime memories and experiences. This is an extraordinary career and I can’t picture doing anything else. After graduating and getting out into the real world, I’ve realized that the tools I learned at school really set me apart as a therapist. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the education I received was unparalleled, and put me a step ahead in the business and massage world. Thank you for everything that you taught me, it’s opened up so many doors for me and I am forever grateful!
  • I will not let these people put rose colored glasses over our industry and tell us that everything is the way it is supposed to be. Stay bright and true and do the best we can each and every day. We are the light that will consume the dark <3
  • Still hoping and networking to open a pregnancy wellness center. Still the dream!
  • Thank you Jill look forward to training with you again in the future x
  • Thank you Jill for doing what you do!!!!
  • Thank you for the opportunity for me to answer some questions that may inspire others to pursue MT as a career
  • You Rock Jill!
  • Being a massage therapist has been extremely challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The ride has been far more than I had ever expected. Ultimately it has pushed me into the depths of personal growth and I am grateful to be working for myself.
  • I appreciate my training and creating an integrative approach for myself and other’s self-care.  I have found it difficult, for myself, to generate a business that adequately supports my needs.  And so I am still doing nursing work.  However, I have not given up on massage and finding…eventually a team to provide both intregral approach for clients and for each other.   All the best in your ongoing growth.
  • I check out a lot of books from the library.    I also enjoy videos from such people as Erik Dalton and the massage nerd.    Jill, hope you are well.  I am willing to be a mentor to any of your students in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Can’t wait to get my license and website. Then finish last 50hr and be ME certified!
  • Jill Berkana is an idol, motivator, supporter, and a constant inspiration. My massage path would be entirely different without her presence. I see every single day in my profession how lucky I am that I had my training for Jill.
  • Berkana has changed my life in so many ways. Jill has given me confidence in my knowledge and ability to succeed. I am very excited to continue my education and career in artistic bodywork. Thank you.
  • LOVE what I do, believe I have gotten an incredible education at Berkana and am ready to dive into continuing education to increase my knowledge and skills for clients.
  • I have tennis elbow and may stop working for a few months during my healing.  I have talked to a lot of massage therapists at my spa who used to have their own business and prefer the convenience of the spa, because they do it all for us… the therapists are busy, come in, work and then get to go home.  Our spa provides retirement and health benefits for full time employees.
  • I am finishing up graduate school at USC for a master’s in Occupational Therapy. Being able to work part time doing massage has been great. Many clients have commented on the presence and awareness I bring to this work which is something I attribute to training with Jill! This has also served me well in the hands on aspects of training to become and occupational therapist. Thanks!
  • I have not regretted one moment or cent that I spent receiving training and knowledge from Jill and her fellow instructors. I never expected that my knowledge gained during my schooling would be so influential in not just my massage profession but also my everyday life. Also after working with many different therapist have realized that Jill’s curriculum is way more encompassing than many other massage schools in creating a solid groundwork for a flourishing career in the field of massage. I am very grateful for all the work, love, sweat and care her and team put into their program to make such a rewarding experience.
  • Thanks for this amazing trade. It has allowed me to travel the world without a worry of having a job. I love being able to help people of all needs in various locations: in resort towns, yachting industry on secluded beaches, private villas and spa, and more. Next step Physical Therapy Doctorate while continuing massage.
  • <3
  • Berkana bodywork changed my life and now I can more positively be a presence in the life of others.
  • I love what I do! Thank you for giving me a solid foundation to build on. I work at two resorts in Florida during the winter – plus some private clients. In the summer I have been working in Alaska… this career has been a great journey!
  • Want to attend advanced trainings when you have them next! 🙂
  • Massage Envy is disgracing our profession and devaluing our facilitation.
  • I love being a massage therapist. It is going to take me some time, but I plan on keeping on with developing my own business. In the meantime, the company I work for is very fair and wants us all to be happy and make money.  Doing mobile massage is very hard work, but it is rewarding as well! At some point, I hope to have my own studio and collaborate with other bodyworkers.
  • I am only working very part time right now because I am going to acupuncture school full time. I love doing massage and it is what has inspired me too continue my education. The body has so much to say! Having a massage background has greatly enhanced my learning at school. Before going back to school I was an independent contractor, making $40-60 an hour, with room to grow if I had stayed. That was a great set up for me, however life sometimes takes us elsewhere. I am grateful every day to have gone through such a wonderful massage program!! Many thanks, and all good medicine!
  • I love what I do for myself and for others
  • Many thanks!!!
  • I worked in marketing and sales before massage school so I have hit the ground running.  I’m listed in most directories, have my website up and running, I have participated in several music/arts festivals (with one event planned for each month over the summer).  Though I have only been doing this for a few months, I’m starting to see many of my new clients returning, with several of them coming once a week.
  • Miss you!
  • I believe I am in a very great place that will allow me to focus on improving my skills.  In the future I will be looking to start my own practice, but until then many of the opportunities I am exposed to through my current employer are amazing and I am learning oodles of information and tools along the way.

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