Beverley Giroud Discusses CRSMT, Cortiva Institute Closing, and the Future of Massage Therapy Education


Beverley Giroud Discusses CRSMT, Cortiva Institute Closing, and the Future of Massage Therapy Education

Beverley Giroud, Director of Education at the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy, sat down for a short interview. Beverley has been a massage therapist for over 20 years. She serves as a Commissioner on the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation and is currently a board member for the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. Beverley is also the author of the textbook: “Ethics and Professionalism for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers.”

Beverley, thank you for taking the time to interview. Could you describe your role at the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy?

Hello, I am Director of Education for the school as well as an instructor. I’ve been with the school for seven years and have been fortunate to see it through transition and growth. The journey has been rewarding and I feel I’ve grown with the school. I feel proud to have been given the responsibility of creating and maintaining the curriculum and educational objectives.

I understand this May, you and CRSMT expect to graduate the largest class yet for this program… what’s your reaction to that news?

The staff, instructors, and I are elated to have a cohort of 28 students start and finish our massage therapy program. Over the years, our team has been mindfully growing, and adjusting our program with the goals of professional and ethical excellence and providing a fulfilling study abroad student experience. We have been able to create a superb education within a unique tropical setting and cultural experience while maintaining the high standards that we believe in. I truly feel that has led to our successful enrollments, retention, and pass rates.

Could you tell us a little about the program offered at the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy, and how it fits into the wider massage education landscape?

We are a massage therapy school owned by a US company that operates in a tropical beach town called Sámara on the Pacific Coast of the Central American nation of Costa Rica. We offer 600 and 700-hour programs that are designed specifically to cater to US based students who travel abroad for their education. Both programs are intensive and allow a student to complete their education in 4 and 5 months respectively. We truly strive to achieve a level of excellence comparable to the best schools located within the United States while providing a unique and culturally immersive study abroad experience.

Our school’s credibility is of utmost importance to us. We are proud of our COMTA Endorsed Curriculum status, a 100% pass rate on the MBLEx, as well as consistently high retention rates.  In addition, we are an NCBTMB assigned school. All of our students are eligible for Board Certification. We are also an NCBTMB Approved Provider and offer continuing education at our campus.

Beyond our credentials, we place a strong emphasis on career longevity for our graduates. Our curriculum focuses on the things we feel are critical to a massage therapist’s success and their ability to stay in the field as long as they desire. So, beyond the sciences and technical skills, we create a strong foundation of body mechanics, professionalism, ethics, business and marketing, and critical thinking skills. We feel this has been a great formula for the success of our graduates, and we endeavor to be among the top choices for anyone considering a massage therapy education.

What are your thoughts on the massage education industry overall this year as we hear news of the Cortiva Institute school closures?

I’ve been passionate about the massage education industry since I attended school over 20 years ago. I graduated from a well-established and highly regarded massage therapy school and have always strived to model what I experienced there. I know there are many in my ranks who work in and support our industry with the same passion and desire to educate at a high level.

It is also clear that a shifting economic environment has produced new challenges for massage therapy schools in the United States. The overall trend is that enrollment levels nationwide have fallen in recent years.

News of Cortiva closing is sobering and the sheer volume of closures has rocked the massage education industry. There are far-reaching impacts beyond the current students who are affected, and it is causing many leaders in various aspects of the industry to think about their own vitality. We at CRSMT remain positive and are framing this in the context of the nationwide trend by staying our course and continuing to make our program a solid and prudent choice for prospective students. 

On a grand scale, I am hopeful that the industry’s leaders and regulators can find common ground to create uniform standards that would help elevate the massage therapy profession to the status and credibility it deserves. I am also hopeful that schools can serve as experts and ultimately contribute to bringing the industry together and propelling us forward.

What does this mean for the industry of massage therapy, and for future students of massage therapy?

Enrollment and graduate numbers have dwindled and continue to decline. The Cortiva Institute closures are being perceived as a “sign of the times” and it has certainly validated and continued the downward trend in numbers for the massage education industry. Meanwhile, we know that the demand for qualified massage therapists continues to rise. Employers are in need of competent and ethical practitioners. It is my hope that future students of massage therapy will enjoy a higher quality of education. The schools that survive this trend will be those who take the opportunity to re-examine their business and educational practices in order to continue to increase enrollment numbers and provide highly qualified massage therapists to meet industry demand.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Additionally, I spoke with CRSMT’s Director of Admissions, Tammy McGee, who let me know she has received several inquiries from current and prospective Cortiva Institute students regarding opportunities to enroll at the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy. She has requested that anyone affected by Cortiva Institute closing down, please feel free to learn more about CRSMT at this link, and use the form to contact her with any questions.

The author and interviewer, Bill Burden, is a photographer, and marketer based in Sámara, Costa Rica. He holds a BA in Latin American Studies and an M.Ed. in International Education. He has provided marketing leadership to the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and the Asociación CREAR for the last 3 years. He is passionate about travel, nature, and education, and loves working in the areas where these ideas intersect.

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