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Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

Seattle
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Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

I am currently licensed as a massage therapist in the US (1200 hours education). I want to relocate to Panama and am wondering if there is organized schooling for this down there, if so, will my credentials carry over? Who would I contact for specific information? I really appreciate any response. Thanks.

Bocas del Toro
8 posts
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1. Re: Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

Hi Meg,

I am not an expert in this field, but if you want to live and work in Panama it is not as simple as it might sound. Panama citizens are studying abroad and their decrees are acepted here. However, I do not know how this applies to foreigners. People that I know to have special skills so far have only worked on a voluntary basis.

Washington DC...
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56 posts
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2. Re: Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

Meg,

In Panama, when people think of massages, they think of it in an erotic nature, so trying to set up a business there, might get miscontrued. So, I would suggest, locating all the spas in the city and hotels and asking if they are looking for a licensed person.

good luck

Salt Lake City, Utah
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622 posts
17 reviews
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3. Re: Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

I don't necessarily agree with the previous post. They may think the same in Manhattan, 42nd street. Prostitution in Panama is legalized. That may sound awful to foreigners, but in Panama it has helped control this practice from the public health standpoint, and cuts down significantly on "street walkers" and the abuse that comes with that. There has been an increasing trend of "massage parlors" that are really brothels. I guess it has more to do with globalization than anything. Having said that, there's still plenty of reputable, serious massage therapy providers, usually at "esteticas", hotel's spas or private social clubs. You may not have a problem at all providing massage therapy in Panama, as I think most providers aren't really certified. Your problem may be working in Panama at all. Panama's retiree program laws are aimed at atracting foreigners who are retired and financially independent, so you'll find it very difficult to obatin a work permit. You may want to consult with an attorney in Panama about that before you make any big moves.

Panama City, Panama
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17 posts
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4. Re: Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

As a foreigner now working in Panama I can tell you first hand that employment is very difficult to simply apply for and recieve. A labor law in Panama pertaining to immigrants is that for every 10 employees a firm has, only one may be a foreigner. Firms that violate this are hit with some pretty hefty fines. Costa Rica did away with this law, and consequently has a larger oriental community but also a brisk electronics industry that Panama does not have. So, read as much as you can about employment. The ex-pat sites are good at this. Most often its a contact that you make that knows somebody. As our local Panamanian experts on this board will attest, everybody here is either related or knows somebody who knows somebody...it's a small country...you can be 200 miles away from Panama City and still meet three people you know and two of them are cousins! Moral of the story, when comes to employment-it's a question of who you know. Unemployment is over 20% despite a fairly robust economy. But outrageously union friendly laws and petty corruption keep Panama three steps forward and two steps back.

5. Re: Will my Massage therapy education transfer to Panama?

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