Massage Therapy Training in California

Massage Therapy

One of the most popular career choices across the nation these days is massage therapy. If you like to work with others in an intimate setting and enjoy a flexible schedule, then look into massage schools in California. To become a California massage therapist, successful completion of accredited vocational training program that includes basic theory and hands-on massage techniques are required, along with passing the state exam.

A massage therapist in the Golden State could work for themselves as a mobile business that travels to different locations, or seek employment at a healthcare facility, fitness center or day spa. The opportunities are as diverse as California itself - from Napa Valley to San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles.

State License Requirements
Hours for Therapist
Hours for Practitioner

Becoming a massage therapist in California requires completion of training that includes both the theory of massage and hands on massage techniques. Students also must pass an exam regulated by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) called the NCETMB - National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Unlike some other states, California has two different levels of certification. The first - Certified Massage Practitioner - requires 250 hours of training and education. It will be phased out by 1-1-2015. The other level of certification is the Certified Massage Therapist (CMT). CMTs in California take 500 hours of massage education and training and at least 250 of those hours must be at an approved California massage therapy school. The other 250 hours may be through a school or through a continuing education provider.

Education Details

Massage therapy is a very popular career choice across the country. You might enjoy becoming a massage therapist if you desire a career as an alternative medical professional. Massage therapists expertly apply pressure to the body to promote healing from injuries and relieve stress. Some of the procedures massage therapists in California learn to perform are Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, acupressure and neuromuscular massage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), massage therapists can specialize in over 80 different types of massages, called modalities. Most California massage therapists specialize in several modalities.

License Renewal
License Renewal Hours
2 Years*
License Renewal Period

California requires massage therapists take a program with a minimum 500-hours of practical experience. Once you complete your training and obtain your license, you’ll need to renew it every two years and pay a $150 fee with your application. California also has requirements for continuing education units. You must take 30 hours between each renewal period to keep your license in good standing. This is why it’s critical to speak with massage therapy schools near you to make sure you’re on the right track with training and licensure.

Job Outlook Increase
Between 2012 - 2022

California massage therapists can earn an average annual salary of $38,140 before tips. The average annual wage of massage therapists in the United States was $34,900 during the same period. Most massage therapists earn a combination of wages and tips. Because most California massage therapists work by appointment their schedules and the hours worked each week vary widely. In addition to hours giving massages, massage therapists also spend time writing patient progress notes, scheduling client appointments and other general business tasks.

Working as a Massage Therapist

California massage therapists can either work for themselves by traveling to different locations or they can work at a healthcare facility, fitness center or spa. The opportunities are as diverse as the Golden State itself. California is ranked first in the country by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the highest current employment of massage therapists.

The state also has three of the top ten metropolitan areas with the highest current employment in the country:

  • #1 Los Angeles greater metropolitan area
  • #8 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
  • #10 San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metropolitan area

Napa, California is rated #1 in the nation by the BLS with the highest concentration of massage therapist jobs and job locations.

State board Contact Information

California Massage Therapy Council One Capitol Mall, Suite 320 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-669-5336 Fax: 916-444-7462 Email: There are a lot of reasons why massage therapists should join professional organizations. It allows massage therapists to network and keep up with the latest information needed to be certified in the state of California. Below, massage therapists can find a couple of the associations available in California to help them along their way:


Find the Beauty Schools in California that interest you below,

Milan Institute

2822 F Street,
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Program: Massage Therapy

Welcome to Milan Institute We are pleased that you are considering a career in cosmetology! There's always room for qualified professionals in this challenging field. Whether you like working with hair, skin, or Welcome to Milan Institute We are pleased that you are considering a career in cosmetology! There's always room for qualified professionals in this challenging field. Whether you like working with hair, skin, or nails, your certification will allow you to select a career path that suits you. You are on the threshold of a great opportunity. Your license to practice cosmetology will be an unlimited passport to a world of glamour, excitement, and many other rewards. To start your career journey right, plan to make the most of your education. With every lesson, you will be one step closer to working in your dream field. Our Mission To provide our students with a solid foundation in the theory and practice of cosmetology To uphold the highest standards of excellence in our faculty, staff, students, and educational programs To promote service to the community by encouraging student council involvement Student Consumer Information Goals & Objectives To instruct students in the proper and current methods of cosmetology To qualify and prepare students for the state board examination To graduate qualified, competent, competitive students To assist students in job placement Career Programs Certificates are awarded upon completion for all locations We believe that each student at Milan Institute holds the key to his or her success. Our staff and instructors strive to help each student develop the professionalism that will open a world of creativity and knowledge. Milan Institute offers a college atmosphere conducive to learning and individual growth. Excellent training and job placement assistance enable our students to become enterprising professionals. Milan Institute offers both theory and practical instruction. The clinical area is well equipped for hands-on instruction in all areas of cosmetology. A library/media source area offers books and videotapes on cosmetology basics, as well as on more advanced areas of this field of study. Additional theory assistance is available on a one-on-one basis. Programs only offered in English at all locations except the Cosmetology program at the El Paso campus.  Cosmetology 1500 Hours / 50 Weeks Cosmetology is an exciting, fast-paced career that is constantly evolving with new ideas, techniques and equipment. Cosmetologists work with a variety of people each day, assisting them with their beauty needs. Cosmetologists shampoo, cut, perm, color and style hair. They may also provide manicures and pedicures or apply acrylic or gel nails. Course covers: Hair cutting, styling and coloring All aspects of skin care All aspects of nail care Possible careers: Professional stylist Make-up technician Platform artist Product representative Salon owner or manager State board member/examiner Skin care specialist Esthetician Course covers: Bacteriology Facials Hair removal Makeup (application, composition, etc) Salon business skills Possible careers: Skin care specialist Make-up consultant Image consultant Product representative Salon owner Platform artist Theatrical make-up artist Retail specialist Manicurist Uncover a Career of Beauty and Creativity If you're looking for a career in the beauty industry that lets you reveals your talent and creativity, becoming a Manicurist could be the perfect profession for you. As a graduate of the Milan Institute Manicurist program you will have the skills in manicure and pedicure procedures, the use of all manicuring implements and supplies, application of artificial nails, repair of broken or split nails and the care of nails and hands.   Programs Vary by Location
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2020-09-22 12:10:42