We love it when we hear about students who came to CCMH later in life to pursue Massage Therapy as a second or even third career. Clarence Crawford is a recent graduate and former I.T. professional and senior manager. Clarence left a stable and highly paid profession to pursue Massage, which just seemed to call his name.
We spoke with Clarence to learn what made him take the plunge into a new career, why he chose our school, and to get his best advice for current students.
So Clarence, which CCMH campus did you graduate from? How was your commute, and was there any difficulty with that?
I graduated from Toronto Downsview Campus (now Midtown Toronto). I drove from Pickering!
That’s quite a trek! Why did you choose to attend CCMH?
I did my research and I interviewed with four schools in the GTA area. I looked at factors such as cost of tuition, duration of the program, textbooks, job placement support and the school’s reputation.
CCMH set itself apart from the other schools by being the only school with full Hydrotherapy facilities, and offered an articulation agreement with universities that would allow you to complete a Bachelor’s degree in approximately 2 years.
So you did your due diligence! What originally led you to pursue a career in Massage Therapy?
Long story short, I did not choose Massage Therapy, Massage Therapy chose me through various ironic/coincidental events and happenings.
At the time. I embraced the possibility of a new path in Massage Therapy after leaving the corporate I.T. world where I had worked for 18 years, and Senior Management where I spent the last 5 years. I was making a great salary as a Senior Manager in I.T. but I was not happy, and was often stressed. I was very unhappy with the bureaucracy, red tape, etc. and I decided to leave.
I don’t make as much as I did before, but I am a much much happier person now. I often say, “you can’t put a price on happiness,” and “if you find a career you love, you will never work another day in your life.”
I was also impressed with the fact that Canada has the most intense requirements for Massage Therapy practitioners in the world. Even programs in the USA require half the number of hours as Canadian programs which require 2200 hours to complete.
We are so glad to hear that you are fulfilled by your work in Massage Therapy! Now that you’re out there working, please tell us what you love about being a RMT.
I enjoy helping people help themselves get back to normal. In the corporate world, even though I.T. is the backbone of most companies, there was generally no appreciation for the I.T. support teams. However, in Massage Therapy, I had more people thank me in the first week of being a RMT than in all 18 years in I.T. combined! That speaks volumes.
That sounds very gratifying! It also sounds like you are making stronger connections with people you work with now. How do you connect with your patients?
People skills are essential to connect with your patients. I have received feedback on several occasions from patients that decided to stay with me because we have a connection. I consider this a critical part of retaining patients long term.
Typically you make a connection through the conversations you have with patients during treatment. For patients who prefer not to have a conversation during treatments, the connection occurs before treatment or after treatment in the form of home care and offering personal experience gained in other fields since I’m also a certified fitness trainer and avid gym goer. I think the key is to find common ground with your patients.
That makes total sense. Massage is an innately intimate service so connecting with your patients is very important and allows them to relax and enjoy the experience. As someone who thoroughly loves what they do, what advice can you offer current and new students?
If you truly enjoy helping people, love flexibility in hours, enjoy being self employed, and being able to work from anywhere in the world, then Massage Therapy is for you. Do not be dismayed at the intense medical studies needed when you first start school. It can seem overwhelming, but you will be so thankful and see the rewards once you finish the program.
Very motivational words. Thanks for speaking with us, Clarence! We appreciate your time and advice.