Massage therapy is fast becoming the preferred alternative for many physical conditions.
While there are ailments and conditions that strictly require medical interventions, many people veer away from the cost and invasive nature of most medical treatments.
If you are considering becoming a certified massage therapist and looking for information, you probably have a question about the length of a program. How long is massage therapy school?
So, how long does it take to be a massage therapist?
If you want to become a massage therapist, you will find that the number of required hours varies from 500 to 1000 training hours, with a national average of 560 hours.
And that’s just the hours in school. To sit for a board certification exam, there will be another set of hours required for minimum hands-on supervised experience.
For this reason, the required education and hands-on training for LMTs, or licensed massage therapists, are regulated by states.
Different states impose varying minimum lengths for LMT training, and you should check with your state to get the most accurate information about how long does massage therapy school take.
- 500 hours – for the states of Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia
- 560 hours – Maryland
- 570 hours – Hawaii
- 600 hours – Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin
- 650 hours – Alabama, Massachusetts, and New Mexico
- 700 hours – Arizona and Mississippi
- 750 hours – New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Ohio
- 1000 hours – Nebraska and New York
Several states have different training length requirements per municipality. These are the states of Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. A CPR certificate is required in most of these states.
Where to learn to be a masseuse
There are around 1,440 career schools, private massage schools, and community colleges offering massage training programs.
Students may attend fulltime or part-time, and arrangements can be made for students to attend night and weekend classes.
Is massage therapy hard to learn?
Massage therapy training programs may vary in content and focus, but the following subjects are typically taught and generally included in the curriculum:
- History of Massage Therapy
- Physiology and Anatomy for Massage Therapists
- Pathology (Conditions and Diseases of the Human Body)
- Kinesiology (Motion and Mechanics)
- Massage Modalities (Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, Swedish, Thai, Lymphatic, and others)
- Myofascial Therapy
- Benefits & Effects of Massage Therapy
- Oriental and Alternative Medicine & Concepts
- Energy Work
- Client Assessment & Consultation
- Treatment Selection
- Business Ethics
- Safety & Sanitation
- Laws & Regulations
- Marketing & Financial Aspects of the Business
Lectures are usually provided by resource persons, professors and practitioners.
Hands-on practice and supervised training are integrated in the program to give the students a realistic simulation of the actual work and prepare them for the licensure.
How much does massage therapy school cost?
Tuition costs vary depending on location, hours required by the state, and inclusions in the cost.
Schools located in or near metropolitan cities will generally cost more than schools in the suburbs or less urban areas.
A school in New York requiring 1000 hours of instruction will necessarily cost more than a school in Maryland requiring almost half that length of training period.
Considering that the cost of conducting business in New York will be higher, too, the difference in tuition will be significantly huge.
Some schools also require packaged costing that cover not only tuition, but also books, uniforms and supplies.
On the average, schools that run on a 500-hour to 600-hour training period costs from $6,000 to $10,000 for tuition, books and supplies.
What happens after the training?
After the training, go for certification or licensing. All but 11 of the states use the certification issued by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards administer another exam, the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination or MBLEx, which is the one used by other states.
What is the NCBTMB board exam?
As mentioned, most of the states require massage therapists to pass the NCBTMB board exam and be nationally certified.
The board issued two types of certifications: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB), and the National Certification for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM).
To be eligible to take the exam, you must have completed a minimum of 500 hours of training from an accredited massage therapy school and program.
A scaled score of 300 is required to pass the test which contains 160 multiple choice questions. You will need to pay a testing fee of $225 upon application.
How is this different from MBLEx, and which one should I take?
MBLEx is the competency credential required by some states. Take the MBLEx if it is the required exam by your state licensing board.
The test comprises of 125 multiple-choice questions equivalent to 900 scaled score. You will need to score 600 to pass the test. An exam fee of $195 will be assessed upon application.
Where do LMTs find work?
One of the reasons why LMTs like their chosen career is the flexibility that it allows them in terms of managing their time.
That is also basically the reason why more than two-third of LMTs are into independent practice. They are able to arrange their work around their personal lives and responsibilities.
But it may interest you to know that LMTs work in a variety of workplaces, such as:
- spas and resorts
- alternative wellness centers
- rehabilitation clinics
- gyms and fitness centers
- sports venues and organizations
- cruise ships
- on site (offices, airports, clients’ homes)
- doctors’ clinics and offices
- massage offices
- chiropractic offices
- nursing homes and facilities
- and even in hospitals and traditional wellness facilities.
How do I become a licensed massaged therapist?
Becoming a massage therapist involves these important steps:
1. Complete a massage therapy program accredited by the US Department of Education.
2. Pass the exam administered by the NCBTMB or the FSMTB, depending on which competency credential is required by your state or municipality.
3. Find employment in massage therapy and wellness centers, or practice under a licensed therapist.
4. Understand your state’s liability insurance requirements. If you feel you are prepared to practice on your own, you may start your own business and independent career in massage therapy.
The alternative healthcare and wellness industry thrives and gains acceptance from a significant part of the population.
Massage therapy is not only physically beneficial; it has its psychological and emotional advantages as well. If it’s a career you believe your talents are aligned with, start asking for more information about schools offering the program in your area!
I hope that answers the question about how long is massage therapy school.