massage school training

Massage School

Massage Therapy

Become a Massage Therapist

To get a sneak peek at becoming a massage therapist, you can start right here. The questions and answers below can give you an easy-to-digest look at some critical topics. Learn about what you need to consider before you enroll, what you learn in massage school, and if there are master courses. We also help you comprehend critical questions that concern cost, licensing requirements, and more. It can be intimidating trying to learn everything at once, so use these questions and answers to get started.

Career Outlook
Info based on National Averages. Enter zip and program for more exact details.
Hours-required: 1600 Education and hands-on training
Licence Renewal Hours: 1000 Hands-on training
Certification Needed: Cosmetology
State Board Contact:E: P: 1.800.952.5210
Average Salary: $28,770 Annually
Job Outlook: 20% increase Between 2012 - 2022
What do you love most about beauty school?
The connections. All of the girls are so close, they are great. The teachers are awesome and have so many connections and will help you get your career started.
How do you like beauty school?
I love it, it’s a lot of fun! It makes it easier when it’s something you are passionate about. It’s so fun to go to school and always trying new things. They give you plenty time to do you homework at school too!
Can you describe a typical day?

Arrive at 8am and prep for appointments starting at 8:45.

You could have 4-5 appointments in one day doing facials, makeup, skin treatments, waxing, brows, lash tinting. My favorite part is if you don’t have appointments you can do treatments on each other! We give each other facials, makeup and the nail girls do our nails, etc! It’s so fun and we are never bored!

What’s it like juggling work and school?

I work two jobs. It can be busy but I map out the week and it keeps me out of trouble.

What would you tell someone thinking about enrolling?

Just do it! I was pretty nervous at first. I doubted myself b/c I have never been in a program I felt I could succeed. The support and encouragement of the other ladies in the class and seeing how intelligent the teachers were eased my worries. It’s a fun experience! There weren’t “know it all’s” in the class. Everyone is eager to learn and help each other.

Do you feel confident getting a job after school?

Yes! I feel confident and qualified. The teachers are great and positive. They want to set up you for success.

What inspires you?

Instagram. I could scroll all day long. I love art, makeup, clothes, house decor. I love going to Sephora and seeing all the makeup and think about the possible ways to do different things.

arrowCollapse and find my school!

Do You Want a Hands-On Career Healing Clients? Consider Massage Therapy!

Working as a massage therapist gives you an opportunity to work with your hands while making clients feel amazing. Massage therapy is such a widely accepted practice, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2017) expects this field to experience 22% growth from 2014-2024. In case you didn’t know, the national average for all occupations combined is anticipated to be 7% for the same period.

Think about that. This field is growing at over three times most other careers. Now do you see why it makes sense to consider this career path, and why you might want to figure out where to go to massage therapy school?

The following sections are designed to show you what it’s like to work as a massage therapist, as well as address other important topics that will weigh in your decision. Once you review this information, it’s up to you to take the next step and compare top rated massage therapy schools.

Whether you need to apply for employment or start training, you can likely find opportunities in your area. If you’re at this stage of the game, review our last section, which covers tips for choosing massage training.

How Do We Help Future Massage Therapists Pursue Rewarding Careers?

In our years of experience, we’ve helped over two million students connect with schools. Once you feel prepared to contact massage therapy colleges, we’ve got you covered.

All you have to do is use the search tools on this page to see a list of massage therapy schools for your state.

And while you’re here, why not take a look around? We have information about the cost of massage therapy school, and tips for finding scholarships and other forms of aid. We also have Q&A’s, license info, and tons of other helpful resources for you.

What’s It Like to Work as a Massage Therapist?

There is a complex answer to this question, which really depends upon your aspirations. What is your personal schedule like? Do you have to fit parental responsibilities into your work life? Do you have other kinds of family or life circumstances you simply can’t alter?

As you will see, massage therapy careers can be structured, or more adaptable from week-to-week.


Find a Massage School in your state

Salons & Spas

Like many other careers in beauty, massage therapy can be a 9-5 job, or you can work evenings, weekends, and just about every other kind of schedule you can think of.

Some people prefer to work in salon environments. Of course, there are many types of salons and spas that cater to different types of clients. If you can, visit the types of spas you want to work at. And why not get a massage, and see what the vibe is like? You might be able to gain insight from massage therapists who work at the salons you visit.

Independent Massage Therapy Careers

Other massage therapists build up their own clientele. Maybe they have an in-home or mobile service. In today’s over-stressed corporate world, we have seen a growth in corporate massage therapists.

In an age where the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, expect to see unique business models and strategies pop up throughout this profession. Maybe you have the next big idea for promoting this healing art?

Business & Management Skills

When you compare massage therapy training, be sure to look for professional skill development. Sure, perfecting your technique will be the main focus of your training, but that’s not all you need to succeed. Some programs teach students basic business skills, such as bookkeeping, contracts, and management skills.

Keep this in mind when you determine where to go to massage therapy school.

Types of Massage Therapy Modalities

Here are some of the most popular styles you can study at massage therapy colleges and then offer in your services.

Swedish massage therapy

Perhaps the most famous type of massage, this practice typically applies lotion and oil, along with long, kneading hand movements. The smooth style helps stressed out clients relax.

Learning Swedish massage can open doors to careers in spas, salons, cruise ships and resort environments, and more professional settings. As you go through the list of massage therapy schools near you, ask each of them if they include this style in the curriculum.

Hot stone massage

For the more initiated massage clients, this practice uses hot stones to regain the body’s energy balance. The heat from the stones also helps gently loosen up tight muscles. This style is considered relaxing, compared to some of the deep tissue treatments some clients desire.

Deep tissue massage therapy

Speaking of digging deep into your muscles, this style of massage is widely used by athletes and individuals with pain. When you give a deep tissue massage, your client will likely be sore for a couple of days – if you do your job right! Sometimes, deep tissue massage is part of an overall plan for rehabilitation in healthcare patients.


We are including this foot-focused massage because it’s sort of a curveball compared to traditional or popular styles. This method uses pressure points in the feet to relieve the bodies’ internal organs.

When people work on their feet for long periods of time, and work stressful jobs, this can be a good way to re-charge. If you are looking for an additional service to add to your repertoire, look into top rated massage therapy schools that include reflexology training.

Thai massage

This massage style is meant to re-align the body. The masseuse uses stretches and methods of compression, while mixing in pressure point work on the client. This style is unique in that it helps increase a person’s flexibility and range of motion.

For people who are trying to re-take their health, this can be a good way help your body heal. Clients overcoming injury can also benefit from this practice.


If you have ever experienced aromatherapy, you probably agree it’s a blissful experience. The therapist uses scented oils that have a variety of intended purposes. You will design the aroma based on your clients’ needs. Are they looking do de-stress, find balance, re-energize, or heal in another way?

Checklist for Contacting Massage Therapy Schools

Now that you’re all excited about becoming a massage therapist, take a deep breath. Don’t enroll in the first program you look at.

You should contact and compare at least three massage therapy colleges, if possible.

Why? Simple: There can be a big difference in the cost of massage therapy school, duration, accreditation, and training opportunities. Some schools might have a variety of financial aid options, while others are limited.

Become a Board Certified Massage Therapist

To make sure you earn the trust of prospective clients and salon owners alike, ask each school about Board certification. This is the highest voluntary credential you can achieve as a registered massage therapist (RMT).

Certification is administered through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Be sure to ask each massage school what the pass rate is for their graduates who take their certification exam.

Ready to view top rated massage therapy schools near you?

Now that you have absorbed the basic facts about working as a massage therapist, let’s take the next step.

To find out what your state requires, and how you can prep for massage licensure, view our list of massage therapy schools in your area.

Once you find out where to go to massage therapy school, let us know! It makes us feel awesome to know we continue to help cosmetology and beauty students make their career dreams come true!

About Massage School

Thinking about enrolling in massage school?

If you are considering enrolling in massage and bodywork training, you are probably curious about how much the program costs, how long it will take to complete, what you will learn in the program, and more. Beauty Schools Directory has answered many of the most common questions about the education that helps you become a licensed massage therapist (LMT), so you can decide whether taking the next step in your career is the right decision for you.

Massage School Courses & Course Length

What Do You Learn In Massage Therapy School?

Massage therapy is the field of wellness and bodywork that focuses almost exclusively on the manipulation of muscle and tissue to enhance performance and function, relieve pain and stress, and promote overall health and wellness in the body. During your training you will learn subjects such as anatomy and physiology (bones, organs and tissues), kinesiology (motion and mechanics), pathology (diseases and conditions), business ethics, and more. Below is a list of potential classes you may see in your school’s curriculum, but it is not an exhaustive list:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • History of Massage
  • Pathology, Diseases & Conditions
  • Benefits & Effects of Massage
  • Business Ethics & Boundaries
  • Massage Laws & Regulations
  • Safety, Sanitation & Sterilization
  • Client Assessment & Consultation
  • Treatment Selection & Planning
  • Business Management – Marketing, Finance, etc.
  • Massage Modalities (Sweedish, Deep Tissue, Shiatso, Thai, Sports, Hot Stone, Lymphatic, Prenatal, etc.)
  • Myofascial Therapies
  • Alternative/Chinese Medicine (Meridian, Acupressure, etc.)
  • Energy Work

Massage school will involve a combination of training methods, including lecture from professors, hands-on practice with fellow students, and then real-life work on clients from the community. This training helps prepare you to succeed on your written and practical exams to get licensed.

Do these classes sound incredibly interesting to you? Find schools near you to compare your options.

Are there advanced or master level massage courses?

There are many options for massage therapists to continue their education with either advanced courses or master-level classes. There are lots of ways you can hone your skills and become more specialized in a specific massage technique or modality to set yourself apart from others, too. Some states even offer Master-level practitioners’ licenses. As mentioned above in the board exams Q&A, many therapists decide to pursue board certification, which may call for additional training and certifications.

Professional body workers may wish to look for advanced or master courses at conferences, workshops or seminars, through online or book training guides, or state board approved continuing education courses.

Massage School Enrollment Requirements

What are the requirements to enroll in massage therapy school?

Most massage therapist schools require you to be at least 16 years of age, and have achieved either a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Check with your state or your potential schools before you enroll to be sure. Take a look at our enrollment requirements page to learn more. Contact your state's licensing department to verify if any changes have been made in the enrollment requirements.

Massage School Cost

How much does massage school cost?

The cost of tuition for massage schools can range depending on the courses in the curriculum, hours of instruction required by your state, as well as location, facilities, and equipment required to purchase for your program. Because of the cost of business facilities, massage and bodywork schools inside or close to major metropolitan cities like Los Angeles or Chicago will likely cost a little more, whereas smaller, more rural areas or suburbs that may be accessible with a bit of a commute may be cheaper. For each massage school you're interested in, be sure to ask admissions reps what their tuition costs are and what exactly this costs includes – such as textbooks, lotions and oils, massage tables or chairs, and so on. Massage schools that teach around the national average of 500-600 hours tend to have tuition that costs on average $6,000 to $10,000, including the cost of textbooks and supplies.

Everyone is looking for something different when it comes to choosing a massage school. If cost is at the forefront of your mind, be sure to ask the schools you contact about their accreditation, the availability of financial aid, whether they have scholarships you can apply for, if they do financing or have payment plans, and for tips on how you can keep the costs down. Also consider asking about whether they offer job placement assistance after you graduate, which can make paying off the school expense less intimidating.

Massage Therapist License Requirements

How to Get Your Massage License

Whether you are pursuing your massage therapist license or advanced certification, there are some consistent steps in the process across state lines. In order to get licensed or certified for massage and bodywork in your state, it all begins with education.

Most states require you to attend an approved school of massage therapy for a minimum number of hours, get hands-on training in the student clinic, and sit for the state's board exams.A few states do allow apprenticeship in lieu of or as a supplement to school to get those massage training hours.

Once you have passed the board exams specific to your state, you are required to renew regularly, usually every two years. Some states require massage continuing education hours to renew your  license, and some require taking a safety and sanitation quiz to renew, while others simply require the license renewal fee.

Steps to Getting Your Massage Therapist License

During your education to become a massage therapist, you will learn about human physiology, explore muscle groups, train for different types of massage and review therapist ethics. You may also get other valuable information that is relevant to becoming a successful licensed massage therapist (LMT), such as business and economics courses.

You should also get the opportunity to apply your knowledge under the guidance of an experienced massage therapist by working in a student clinic. this is where you will learn to perfect your technique and may even start to build your clientele.

Upon completion of most massage and bodywork training programs, you will have a diploma or certificate in massage therapy. You might still be required to take an exam to be certified by the state you want to work in. The current test is the MBLEx. In addition, some states have certifications versus licensure.

If you have specific questions about the requirements for a massage therapy career in your state, the chart below will help you find the massage requirements in your state. Or to learn more about licensing for other beauty- and wellness-related programs in your state, visit our State Beauty License Requirements page.

Most states will require massage therapists to take continuing education courses (CEU) to remain certified. The classes keep your skills up to date and help you continue to improve your skills as an LMT. You can find a list of NCBTMB-approved CEU providers on their website as well.

State-by-State Massage License Hour Requirements

In order to become a licensed massage therapist, you will need to meet the requirements of your state. Although the specifics vary from state to state, the national average is a minimum of 500 to 600 hours of education and many require an exam.

Look through the list below to find out what your state's requirements are to be able to sit for the board exams and get licensed. Note that some states have varying levels of massage licenses, and some states leave the minimum number of hours required up to the counties or cities within the state.

Last updated December 21, 2015


State Hours
Alabama 650
Alaska Varies by Municipality
Arizona 700
Arkansas 500
California 250 Practitioner / 500 Therapist
Colorado 500
Connecticut 500
Delaware 300 Technician / 500 Therapist
Florida 500
Georgia 500
Hawaii 570
Idaho 500
Illinois 500
Indiana 500
Iowa 500
Kansas Varies by Municipality
Kentucky 600
Louisiana 500
Maine 500
Maryland 560 Therapist / 500 Practitioner
Massachusetts 650
Michigan 500
Minnesota Varies by Municipality
Mississippi 700
Missouri 500
Montana 500
Nebraska 1000
Nevada 500
New Hampshire 750
New Jersey 500
New Mexico 650
New York 1000
North Carolina 500
North Dakota 750
Ohio 750
Oklahoma Varies by Municipality
Oregon 500
Pennsylvania 600
Rhode Island 500
South Carolina 500
South Dakota 500
Tennessee 500
Texas 500
Utah 600
Vermont Varies by Municipality
Virginia 500
Washington D.C. 500
West Virginia 500
Wisconsin 600
Wyoming Varies by Municipality

What board exams do I take after graduation to get licensed?

After completing your education program, many massage students take one of the written national examinations for therapeutic massage and bodywork. This test is administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). About 80% of states (all but 11) use the NCBTMB board exam. Other states may use the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) from the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).

Licensing is different than NCBTMB board certification, which requires 250 hours minimum of hands-on experience, at least 750 hours of education (which includes the hours you earn in your initial training program to get licensed), passing a background check, and CPR certification.