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Massage Therapy Schools and Programs

Massage therapy is increasingly becoming a popular alternative option in the health and wellness industries, with between 300,000 and 340,000 message therapists, including students, currently in the United States, according to the American Message Therapy Association.   Are you ready to join them?

Did You Know?

  • As of 2013, there are over 1,300 massage therapy programs throughout the country.
  • There are, on average, 37 students per massage program.
  • 91% of massage therapists have opted to take continued education courses to advance their training.

Find a Massage School

Discover Massage Therapy Schools

If you dream of becoming a  massage therapist, you must must receive training in a postsecondary institution prior to practicing. To be admitted into a massage therapy school, you will be required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent level of education and often times must go through a private interview.   Once enrolled in a program, your courses will focus on anatomy, physical assessment, kinesiology, Asian bodywork, reflexology and medical massage. In most cases, you will be required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of study in order to be eligible to become licensed. Graduates of massage therapy schools may wish to enroll in a continuing education program to further their studies and knowledge of modalities as well as specific fields of study, such as neurology.

“This program helped me so much more than just giving me education in massage.  It helped me grow as an adult,” –Former massage therapy student

Find Massage Therapy Certification Requirements

Depending on the state, you may be required to be licensed or become certified through the state board after you have completed your training at a massage therapy school. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards offers the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination that you must pass  in order to receive your massage license. If your state requires massage therapists to be certified, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork awards certification upon completion of its exam. In order to be eligible to take the certification exam, you must send your massage program transcript to the board, fill out an application form and pay the required fee, which varies per state. Be sure to check your specific state requirements for information pertaining to periodic license renewal and any other fees that may be required.

Massage Therapy Job Description

As a massage therapist you will utilize your knowledge gained during school pertaining to human soft tissue and touch to ease pain, treating injuries, alleviating stress, increasing wellness and relaxing for a broad range of clients.  Other job duties include offering advice on posture and stretching, evaluating clients and manipulating muscles, elbows and forearms. You will often use soothing lotions, oils, chairs and heat lamps.

You may choose to specialize in a particular type of massage, such as sport, Swedish, aromatherapy, hot stone and deep tissue. It’s not unusual for a single therapist to be proficient in a variety of massage techniques, also known as modalities. The type of massage you work on any given day is, more times than not, dependent on the physical state of your client and their specific needs.

Career Outlook for Massage Therapists

Many massage therapists are self-employed and must provide lotion, oils, tables, chairs and pillows for themselves. Popular work environments for you to consider include personal care, spas, private offices, chiropractor offices, fitness centers and even shopping malls. You must be careful to use proper techniques to avoid injury of your clients as well as common physical complications that can affect you, including repetitive-motion injuries and physical fatigue.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected massage therapists to experience a 20% employment growth rate from 2010 to 2020, which is faster when compared to the average of other occupations. Much of this prediction was credited to the increasing demand for massage services as well as the increased number of spas and massage clinics. Workplaces and nursing homes have recently begun employing the services of message therapists to promote relaxation, increased energy and decrease health problems.

Salary Information

In 2012, Payscale.com reported that massage therapists with 1-4 years of experience earned an annual salary of $13,000-$59,000 while those with 5-9 years experience made $15,000-$172,000. Factors that can potentially impact your earnings include client base, number of appointments, tips and whether the you choose to become self-employed.

San Antonio (Ingram Park)