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:

2020-01-22 17:24:39