2006 grad, Edmonton
For Katie Rees, it was all about the body.
A successful personal trainer and Pilates instructor, Katie worked closely with the human body every day, but still wanted to know more. She wanted to go back to school, and chose MH Vicars School because of the strong anatomy portion of the curriculum. She hadn’t expected to change careers, though – until she got to class.
“I wanted more in-depth knowledge to help me work with my clients, and be a better personal trainer,” she says. “I hadn’t planned on practicing massage, but I really fell in love with it.”
For Katie, going back to school was “eye-opening.” She loves to learn, and especially enjoyed learning the anatomy, physiology, and remedial exercise which are such a large part of the first-year curriculum.
“I loved being a student again. My whole brain was opening up to new things and ideas.”
Since graduating in 2006, Katie worked as an RMT in a physiotherapy clinic and a doctor’s office, before starting her own business. She owns True2Form Therapeutic Massage & Wellness Clinic in Edmonton.
As a student, Katie says she liked that MH Vicars School held its students to a high standard because it drove her to excel. Now that she’s an employer, she appreciates those standards even more, because she can be confident that when she hires MH Vicars students and grads, she’s getting the best.
She has hired several MH Vicars grads at True2Form, and regularly takes on practicum students.
“I’ve had employees from different places, and by far MH Vicars students and grads are superior,” Katie says. “They’re good therapists and they know how to talk with clients. You get good calibre people out of MH Vicars.”
2008 grad, Edmonton
On the surface, leaving a career as an intensive care technician to study massage seems like a complete left turn. But for Suzanne Belanger, who began studying at MH Vicars School after more than two decades working in hospitals, it felt like a natural step.
She’s still working in a healing profession; only now as an RMT she gets to help prevent injuries and pain rather than just treat them.
“I saw that the allopathic or Western model was lacking in empowering care and preventative care. It’s always treating symptoms, not causes,” Suzanne says. “But there are more and more people who are looking to take charge of their own health. I’m one of those people.
"My passion is treating people preventatively and one-on-one.”
So when Suzanne decided to switch careers, she chose a massage school that shared her commitment to massage as a healing tool.
When she graduated, Suzanne worked at a chiropractic clinic. But after a few years she chose to start her own business.
“Once I was tired of making money for someone else, I set up a studio space at home,” she says. “It’s fantastic, I love it. I can work less and keep more of the money.”
A large proportion of MH Vicars students become self-employed therapists once they graduate, either launching their own businesses or working as independent contractors in a clinic. MH Vicars grads are well-suited to be entrepreneurs; the independent-study format produces therapists with initiative, creativity, and a strong work ethic.
“I have complete control over my own schedule, and my working time is spent in my own home. I think it’s ideal,” Suzanne says. “I do all the work – I do the billing and the laundry and everything – but I have complete control.”