Massage therapists are professionals who are in the business of helping people feel better by alleviating stress, relieving pain, and/or assisting them in the process of healing from injuries. They do this by manipulating the soft tissue muscles of the body in an effort to improve circulation and promote general healing of the muscles. Often referred to by the familiar term of "masseuse", a massage therapist has a high degree of personal interaction with his/her clients and is usually able to derive a great deal of satisfaction from being afforded the opportunity to help people.

Massage Therapists picture    Massage Therapists image

Massage Therapy Schools

The majority of U.S. states require massage therapists to complete a formal education program through a massage therapy school, and pass an exam to obtain a license. You can get trained as a massage therapist though private or public colleges or through massage therapy training centers or schools. You typically need a high school diploma prior to applying to these programs.

Massage therapy education requirements vary by state and program, but most schools have programs that require 500-1,000 hours of study and hands-on experience. Courses may include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Business management

Similar to health care careers, massage therapists usually have continuing education requirements to keep their certification and license current.

Massage Therapist Certification

Educational requirements for massage therapists vary widely by state and locality. Hundreds of massage therapy schools and college programs are currently in place throughout the country; however, the licensing requirements of a particular jurisdiction in which a candidate wants to practice should be checked before making a decision on which school or program to pursue. Also, candidates who are interesting in a certain specialty should try to find a school that caters to that specialty.

In general, massage schools tend to be somewhat expensive; however, most offer some kind of financial assistance including federal student loans. Most of them require a high school diploma for admittance and many also require a personal interview. A large number of schools regularly arrange internships with local massage practices so that graduates can start out with a valuable amount of practical on-the-job experience under their belts.

Massage Therapy Licensing

Licensing requirements are also quite variable and depend on the state and also by particular localities within states. Most states regulate the profession in some fashion and those that do not usually contain municipalities which impose their own requirements for a business license. Licensure typically requires some combination of education, experience, and/or the ability to pass an exam. Presently, most states require a minimum of 500 or more hours of massage training.

Many jurisdictions recognize the exam-based national certification program offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), or both. The exams, which are given at test centers across the country, do not result in licensure, as their are other requirements for that (the requirements vary by state).

A very helpful credential for a massage therapist is membership in a professional massage therapy association. Memberships help therapists network and establish contacts in the industry, which in turn often leads to finding new clients. Many of these associations require that members graduate from a nationally credentialed training program, have a state license, and/or be nationally certified by the FSMTB or NCBTMB.

Resources for Massage Therapists


  1. Massage Therapists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm#tab-4
  2. Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, https://www.fsmtb.org/

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Massage Therapy Schools

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Massage Therapy Schools jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 7100 $41,200
Long Beach 7100 $41,200
Anaheim 7100 $41,200
Aurora 3640 $43,530
Lakewood 3640 $43,530
Denver 3640 $43,530
Miami 2930 $38,740
Fort Lauderdale 2930 $38,740
West Palm Beach 2930 $38,740
Tacoma 2590 $57,050
Total Employment for Massage Therapists - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Massage Therapists
Salaries for Massage Therapists - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Massage Therapists
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Massage Therapists

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Massage Therapy Schools

To find out more about building a career as Massage Therapists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries for :
Massage Therapy Schools

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Personal Services 22,160 43% $32,480
Medical Office 14,070 27% $39,470
Hotel And Accomodation 6,810 13% $30,530
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 5,050 9% $35,740
Education 890 1% $44,990
Hospital 800 1% $40,870
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  • Massage Therapy

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

About Education Corporation of America

Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

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  • Massage Therapy/Therapist
  • One of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation teaching since 1979.
  • First massage school in California to be nationally accredited.
  • Has a successful job placement record— 86% of graduates get placed into work in massage therapy.
  • Provides massage therapist education with multiple methods to ensure every student learns the material.
  • Offers lifetime career placement assistance and holds partnerships with a variety of employers.
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  • Massage Therapy
  • Esthetician / Massage Therapy
Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy. We offer programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and holistic health, plus a combination esthetics/massage program.
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  • Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program
  • Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
  • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
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  • Massage Therapy
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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  • Massage Therapy
  • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
  • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
  • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
  • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
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Cathedral City
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  • Respiratory Therapy
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Respiratory Therapy (AS)
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
  • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
  • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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San Diego
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  • Degree - Respiratory Therapy
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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  • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Massage Therapy Schools.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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