Massage Therapy

A massage therapist is a trained professional who relieves pain and tension through the manipulation of various muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the body. Massage therapy can be medically therapeutic or for relaxation purposes, and there are countless benefits of massage. For example, massage has been shown to relieve conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

Many individuals also turn to massage therapy after accidents or injuries. Just as there are different functions of massage therapy, there are numerous types of massage. Some of the most popular include Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and stone massage. In addition, massages are not always given with only the hands; some therapists use their feet, elbows, and knees to massage patients and clients.

Massage therapists generally work in doctors' offices, spas, health clubs, hotels, or independently, and they often enjoy a varied schedule that usually consists of appointments with patients or clients lasting one hour to an hour and a half. Because of the high demand for massages recently, massage therapy jobs are expected to grow by almost 20 percent over the next five years.

Certification & Licensing

Massage therapy is governed by two different organizations: the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. These groups are the main organizations that provide licensing and massage therapy certifications in the United States.

There are different rules regarding licensing in every state. In thirty eight states, a massage therapist must be licensed. In Colorado, Indiana, and Virginia, a massage therapist need only be state certified. Seven states have no licensing, registration, or certification requirements at all for massage therapists. In states where regulations are imposed, the educational hours required during massage therapy programs range from 300 - 1000, and it normally takes nine months to a year to complete the required schooling. After graduation, therapists will be eligible to take state exams or register as a massage therapist. They might also be required to complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every few years and renew licenses or certifications.

Massage therapy training is usually offered at technical schools, community or state colleges, beauty colleges, and holistic schools. In order to begin a program, most massage therapy schools require that prospective students have a high school diploma or equivalency. The curriculum in school will include a coursework component in addition to a substantial amount of practical hours. The practical hours involve learning hands on massage techniques and then putting them into practice. Since massage therapists must know how the human body works, anatomy and physiology is an important class that all massage therapists must take. In addition to anatomy and physiology and general massage courses, there are many other classes required of students in massage school that teach the law and professionalism when working as a massage therapist. Some of the massage therapy courses a student can expect to take are:

  • Kinesiology
  • Ethics
  • State Laws
  • Healthcare Concepts
  • Business Practices

Besides the general coursework, students can choose to take courses that specifically teach different massage techniques and forms of massage.

Degrees Offered

Certificate or Diploma

A certification or diploma in massage therapy is usually offered at community or state colleges, technical schools, beauty colleges, and holistic schools. Although students typically put in many hours of study, they will only receive a certification or diploma in massage therapy, not an actual college degree. The certification does entitle graduates to qualify for whatever certification or licensing procedures are required in the state where they would like to practice. In a certificate program, classes are all focused on massage therapy and legal and ethical matters related to massage therapy in the state where the school is located. There are no general education requirements in massage therapy certification or diploma programs.

A certificate or diploma in massage therapy qualifies graduates to work in many different industries. Some possible job fields are:

  • Cruise Ships
  • Chiropractor's Offices
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Hotels
  • Spas
  • Sports Organizations
  • Health Clubs

Associate Degree

Some community or state colleges offer prospective students an actual Associate of Applied Science degree in massage therapy. The associate programs usually take longer than certification programs since students are required to take many general education courses in addition to massage therapy courses. General education courses often include English, math, history, and science. Therefore, an actual degree in massage therapy could take two years or more. An associate degree in massage therapy will qualify graduates to work in the same fields as those with a diploma or certificate.

Featured Schools

Programs offered:

  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Master of Science) - Online
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Certificate) - Online

We found 128 schools offering massage therapy degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 128 Massage Therapy Colleges in the U.S.

Massage Therapy Schools By Total Enrollment

1
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus
Bloomfield Hills, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 23188

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
2
Lansing Community College
Lansing, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 16011

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
3
Daytona Beach Community College
Daytona Beach, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 10420

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
4
Pensacola Junior College
Pensacola, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 9985

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
5
Waubonsee Community College
Sugar Grove, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 7602

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
6
Roane State Community College
Harriman, TN  |  Total Enrollment: 5099

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
7
Northwest Technical College
Bemidji, MN  |  Total Enrollment: 4638

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
8
Central Oregon Community College
Bend, OR  |  Total Enrollment: 4079

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
9
Rogue Community College
Grants Pass, OR  |  Total Enrollment: 4071

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
10
Kishwaukee College
Malta, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 3663

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's

Browse All 128 Colleges With Massage Therapy Programs


Title City State Enrollment
A Spiritouch Institute Inc Madison WI No Data
Academy of Healing Arts Massage & Facial Skin Care Lake Worth FL 170
Academy of Medical and Business Careers Las Vegas NV 749
Academy of Medical and Business Careers Las Vegas NV 39
Academy of Medical Arts and Business Harrisburg PA 213
Academy of Professional Careers San Diego CA 187
Advanced Career Training - Atlanta Campus Atlanta GA 655
Advanced Career Training - Jacksonville Campus Jacksonville FL 152
Alexandria School of Scientific Therapeutics Alexandria IN 79
Alternative Conjunction Clinic & Sch of Mass Ther Lemoyne PA 56
Ashmead College Seattle WA 260
Ashmead College - Everett Campus Everett WA 135
Ashmead College - Tacoma Campus Fife WA 306
Atlanta School of Massage Atlanta GA 416
Atlantic Technical Center Coconut Creek FL 1570
Baltimore School of Massage Linthicum MD 146
Bancroft School of Massage Therapy Worcester MA 100
Berks Technical Institute Wyomissing PA 693
Berkshire Community College Pittsfield MA 2494
Blue Cliff College - Metairie Metairie LA 140
Boulder College of Massage Therapy Boulder CO 252
Brenneke School of Massage Seattle WA 201
Career Technical College Monroe LA 174
Career Training Academy Monroeville PA 117
Central Oregon Community College Bend OR 4079
Charles of Italy Beauty College Lake Havasu City AZ 30
Colorado School of Healing Arts Lakewood CO 274
Computer Learning Network - Resident School Mechanicsburg PA 249
D G Erwin Technical Center Tampa FL 853
Dawn Training Centre Wilmington DE 72
Daytona Beach Community College Daytona Beach FL 10420
Delta College Inc Covington LA 181
Desert Institute of the Healing Arts Tucson AZ 158
Educorp Career College Long Beach CA 487
Ehove Career Center Milan OH 181
Empire Beauty School - Pottsville Pottsville PA 60
Euro Hair Design Institute Jacksonville FL 127
Everest College - City of Industry City Of Industry CA 352
Everest College - Merrillville Merrillville IN 85
Everest College - Ontario Ontario CA 294
Everest College - West Los Angeles Los Angeles CA 318
Everest Institute - Atlanta Atlanta GA 536
Everest University - Jacksonville Jacksonville FL No Data
Florida College of Natural Health Pompano Beach FL 298
Florida College of Natural Health Miami FL 314
Florida State College Boca Raton FL 43
Fortis Institute - Forty Fort Forty Fort PA 99
Glendale Career Schools Glendale CA 1128
Golden State College Visalia CA 206
Gordon Phillips School of Beauty Culture Norristown PA 36
Great Lakes Institute of Technology Erie PA 277
Greenfield Community College Greenfield MA 2277
Headlines Academy of Cosmetology & Massage Rapid City SD 51
Health Enrichment Center Inc Lapeer MI 218
Heritage Institute Falls Church VA 122
Humanities Center Institute of Allied Health School of Massage Pinellas Park FL 326
Institute of Cosmetology & Esthetics Houston TX 61
Institute of Psychostructural Balancing San Diego CA No Data
Jean Madeline Aveda Institute Philadelphia PA 169
John Jay Beauty College Kenner LA 25
Keiser College Pembroke Pines Pembroke Pines FL No Data
Kirtland Community College Roscommon MI 1307
Kishwaukee College Malta IL 3663
Knox County Career Center Mount Vernon OH 71
La James College of Hairstyling and Cosmetology Mason City IA 94
Lansing Community College Lansing MI 16011
Lewis School of Massage Therapy Hobart IN No Data
Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center Miami FL 275
Loraines Academy Inc Saint Petersburg FL 142
Loving Hands Institute of Healing Arts Fortuna CA No Data
Medical Arts Massage School Raleigh NC 12
Medical Training College Baton Rouge LA 104
Merrillville Beauty College Merrillville IN 196
Minnesota State Community Technical College - Wadena Wadena MN No Data
Modern Institute of Reflexology Lakewood CO No Data
Moler Beauty College New Orleans LA 123
Morgan Community College Fort Morgan CO 1757
Myotherapy College of Utah Salt Lake City UT 35
National Institute of Massotherapy Akron OH No Data
National School of Technology Inc Hialeah FL 502
National School of Technology Inc Miami FL 544
National University of Health Sciences Lombard IL 710
Nationwide Beauty College Pomona CA 34
Nevada Career Institute Las Vegas NV 178
New Hampshire Community Technical College - Nashua/claremont Nashua NH 2176
New York College of Health Professions Syosset NY 885
Northern New Mexico College Espanola NM 681
Northwest Technical College Bemidji MN 4638
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus Bloomfield Hills MI 23188
Ohio College of Massotherapy Inc Akron OH 356
Ohio Institute of Health Careers Columbus OH 142
Omaha School of Massage Therapy Omaha NE 51
Omega Institute Pennsauken NJ 161
Pensacola Junior College Pensacola FL 9985
Pinnacle Career Institute Lawrence KS 146
Pinnacle Career Institute Kansas City MO 146
Praxis Institute Miami FL 176
Provo College Provo UT 464
Ridge Career Center Winter Haven FL 156
Roane State Community College Harriman TN 5099
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