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Massage Therapy

Is Massage Therapy School Hard?

massage therapy school

Are you interested in studying massage therapy? Are you wondering what these programs are like? Can they be completed quickly? And is massage therapy school hard?

Before we dive into questions concerning how to become a massage therapist and how difficult the process may be, let’s start by defining the practice.

Massage therapy is the manipulation of the body’s tissues, ligaments, muscles, and tendons using varying degrees of movement and pressure, primarily aimed at helping clients to recover from injuries, improve posture, and relax tension.

Standard massages can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, which is why strength and endurance are essential to the occupation. In this article, we are going to walk through how to become a licensed massage therapist and what you can expect along the way.

What Do Students Find Most Difficult About Massage Therapy School?

Massage therapy is a relatively tactile profession. Training requires students to perform different massage techniques in a hands-on environment. Classroom learning is also required, as students must become familiar with basic anatomy and medical terminology before they can start administering massages.

While some may find massage therapy school difficult, those passionate about the profession should have a relatively easy time getting through it. Of course, challenges will arise. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common hardships students experience.

Admission Requirements May Vary

is massage therapy school hard

Though a career in massage therapy can be exceedingly rewarding, hard work is required to complete the prerequisites and examinations necessary to begin school.

The educational requirements for most massage therapy schools are fairly straightforward. The majority of these schools require you to have at least a high school diploma or a general educational development diploma (GED) to enroll. Prior experience is not often required.

Many massage therapy schools, including the City University of New York (CUNY), require a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 2.0 or more to graduate. This kind of performance will help you advance through the clinical aspects of training included in your massage therapy program.

It is important to note that requirements will vary by school. Some may require a criminal background check, while others are more likely to provide alternatives to a high school diploma in the form of credit hours completed in an accredited college or a university.

Cost of Tuition

One of the biggest stressors associated with any post-secondary education is the cost. Of course, tuition varies depending on certain factors. The most important things to consider are the length of the program, financial aid options, and whether or not your school will cover the costs of equipment needed to practice. You should also factor in the cost of living, especially if you plan to move on-campus.

Students who choose to pursue a degree program, like an A.A.S. in Massage Therapy, should be prepared to dedicate two years to schooling. Meanwhile, students can obtain certification in much less time. For example, the Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Program from the Chayaveda School of Massage takes less than 60 days to complete. Schools typically charge by credit hour. So the longer the program, the higher the cost.

The good news is that accredited schools do offer financial aid to those who qualify. You’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for information on which grants or student loans you qualify for. You can also contact the school directly for more information on scholarship opportunities.

The duration of your program will likely be influenced by licensing requirements in your state. Not all states require massage therapists to obtain licensure before they begin to practice. Programs can typically be completed in a shorter amount of time in those areas.

States with licensing requirements tend to demand a certain number of education hours before graduates can begin work. For instance, the New York Board requires 1,000 hours of massage therapy education for all new practitioners. In California, students are required to complete just 500 hours of study and practice.

Student Burnout

While burnout is more often associated with practicing massage therapists, many students find the physical elements of their coursework demanding.

Lab hours allow therapists to perform massage techniques in real life. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) recommends that its members offer a minimum of 500 in-class hours to ensure the highest quality of massage therapy education. While this aspect of school can be incredibly beneficial in terms of practice, it can take a toll on the body.

Massages can last upwards of an hour, and most massage therapists see clients consecutively. The continued stress that can place on your hands, feet, and back is considerable. Certain specialties, like Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and Shiatsu also last longer than a standard massage and require additional strength.

Dense Coursework

As a massage therapist in training, you will be expected to learn about muscle tissue, organ location, and body mechanics. Courses often include physiology, anatomy, pathology, kinesiology, and more.

Many massage therapy programs also include portions on how to start your own business. Students will be introduced to things like financing, marketing, and bookkeeping. These courses exist in addition to the more hands-on components of the program.

Some topics may be difficult to digest, especially for individuals who have no previous knowledge of anatomy or business. Part-time students, in particular, may find it difficult to fit in more study time when tending to work and family responsibilities.

How to Choose the Right Massage Therapy Program

many massage therapists graduate from certificate programs

The first step towards a massage therapy career revolves around finding the right program. Selecting the right massage school for you depends on a variety of factors, including course schedule, specialty focus, and financial aid options.

Consider Your Schedule

It’s important to avoid overloading your schedule. After all, massage schools present both academic and physical challenges. If you have professional or personal responsibilities you need to tend to while attending school, look for part-time options.

Most classroom instruction can also be taught remotely. You will need to physically attend class to perform specific massage therapy techniques, but a hybrid program gives you the flexibility to complete certain sections on your own terms.

You should also think about how long of a commitment you can make to school. This information should be readily available to you on your school website.

Consider Your Specialty

Remember, there are many different forms of massage therapy. You can choose to focus your massage career on prenatal massage, hot stone therapy, chair massage, deep tissue, gentle massage, reflexology, reiki, or aromatherapy.

This decision will also influence where you work.

Some practitioners will be employed through chains Massage Envy or MassageLuXe. Other massage therapists will work with cancer patients, at chiropractic offices, or open up their own private practice.

Look into the specific curriculum at each of your target schools and see if they sync up with your career goals. If not, it may be time to look into different programs. If you are bound to one school, consider expanding your interests.

Consider the Costs

Finding the right massage school for you also means settling on an appropriate price point. While program length and financial aid options are two of the biggest influences on tuition costs, there are other expenses to consider.

Credentials including bodywork licensing examination come with a fee. Local certifications may introduce additional costs. There’s also the matter of equipment to consider. While some schools cover the costs of textbooks and equipment, others require students purchase these items themselves.

Necessary items may include:

  • Massage table: (ranges between $112 to $350)
  • Massage chair (ranges between $100 to $300)
  • Linens (ranges between $20 to $40)
  • Oils (ranges between $10 to $40)
  • Hygiene products (ranges between $7 to $60)

ICOHS College provides all students with the following tools:

  • Portable Massage Table and Bolster
  • Laptop
  • All course books are included in tuition and fees
  • An ICOHS notebook and tote bag
  • Your first set of oil and lotion with hip holsters
  • ICOHS T-Shirt
  • CAMTC License fee reimbursement ($200)
  • Mandatory CAMTC background check (live scan) covered by tuition

Students will also receive a massage table and a laptop to support their studies and future careers. The laptop is for students to keep and use for online assignments, tests, and projects. All tables are portable and come with a bolster, headrest, carry case, and are available in five different colors.

FAQs

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career?

Massage therapy is a great career with high levels of job security and opportunities for advancement. Massage therapists also report high levels of job satisfaction helping improve the quality of life among patients.
Practitioners also have the opportunity to open up their own private practice, setting their own schedules and wages. Still, the profession can be physically demanding, and measures must be taken to preserve your own health and wellness.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Massage Therapy?

To become a massage therapist, you must complete an accredited program and receive the necessary licensure. Programs range from 300 to 1,000 hours of practical training and instruction, depending on the structure.

How Much Money Do Massage Therapists Make?

Massage therapists typically earn around $20 per hour. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median pay of about $43,620 per year in 2020. This same report states that employment for licensed massage therapists will balloon by an impressive 32 percent over the next decade.

Conclusion

massage industry

While massage therapy school poses certain challenges, the rewards are well worth the effort. In a survey of 1,200 massage therapists, 88% reported being “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their careers. 99% believed their work has a positive impact on their clients.

You can start your journey towards a successful career at ICOHS College. Our Professional Massage Therapist certificate program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Scholarships and title IV funding are also available to help students cover the cost of tuition. Call us to speak to one of our representatives (858) 581-9460 or contact us via email for more information on financial assistance. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.  

Students attending ICOHS College will have full access to our career counseling program. They’ll also receive lifetime job placement assistance after graduation.

ICOHS College is accredited by the ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education, accet.org). To learn more about ICOHS College accreditations and licenses, visit our accreditation page.

What is it Like Working as a Massage Therapist?

What is it Like Working as a Massage Therapist

What is it like working as a massage therapist? Well, it depends. Massage therapists have the option of working in widely different environments, from fitness centers to healthcare settings or even as sole practitioners.

They also have the option to practice different massage specializations. Some may work alongside physical therapists helping heal injuries and relieve muscle tension. Others provide massage therapy in more luxury settings, working to promote relaxation and relieve stress.

More recently, massage therapists have been enjoying tremendous amounts of job security. The industry has become high in demand, especially as holistic treatments become more popular. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field is slated to grow by an impressive 32 percent over the next decade.

Still, it’s not exactly an easy industry to participate in. Below, we’ll look into the challenges massage therapists face, the benefits associated with the industry, and how to avoid burning out.

How Do You Become a Massage Therapist?

working as a massage therapist

All therapists require some kind of formal training before they can begin practice. Fortunately, you can earn a certificate in massage therapy in much less time than it takes to earn a traditional degree. Some massage therapy programs can be wrapped up in as little as five months, while others last upwards of two years. It all comes down to the type of massage school you plan to enroll in and how many specialties it covers. 

That said, most states require a minimum of 500 hours of classroom instruction before allowing individuals to apply for their massage therapy license.

Start in on an exciting new career today. Learn how much you can make as a massage therapist in today’s world.

While general education courses in anatomy or medical terminology may be completed online, there is always an in-person component to massage therapy education. That standard helps secure hands-on experience in certain techniques and training that cannot be communicated remotely.

Standard courses typically include body mechanics, Swedish massage therapy, and deep tissue massage therapy. Specialty areas like medical massage therapy, hot stone and hydrotherapy techniques, and Ayurvedic massage are also offered across different massage therapy schools.

What Do Massage Therapists Find Most Difficult?

While most massage therapists report tremendous levels of job satisfaction, there are some notorious challenges associated with the field. Below, we’ll explore the most difficult parts of becoming a licensed massage therapist.

Commitment to Clinical Work

A big part of massage therapy is continuing education and clinical work. This is where students enjoy the opportunity to apply the techniques they’ve learned to a professional environment. Most states require students to complete a certain amount of clinical lab hours, though the amount will vary state to state.

Related: How long does it take to become a massage therapist?

While this shift indicates a major milestone for massage therapy students, the work can present certain challenges. For instance, hours aren’t always flexible, and they may get in the way of existing work schedules or your ability to man responsibilities at home. It also presents one final roadblock from entering the workforce. 

That said, most students are able to complete their clinical lab hours without any major hiccups. Once complete, they can begin the application process and start earning money immediately. 

Passing the MBLEx Exam

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) year-round for prospective massage therapists. Last year, over 23,000 MBLEx exams were taken. Less than 68% of individuals passed.

The MBLEx exam is required in 45 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The test is broken down into the following topics:

  • 17% for client assessment, reassessment, and treatment plan
  • 16% for ethics, regulations, laws, and boundaries
  • 15% for guidelines for professional practice
  • 15% for benefits and effects of techniques manipulating soft tissue
  • 14% for pathology, areas of caution, contraindications, and special populations
  • 12% kinesiology
  • 11% anatomy and physiology

Fortunately, there are ways to secure a passing grade, and it all boils down to preparation. There are plenty of free resources available to help you study for the exam. The FSMTB also offers guides, FAQs, tips, and practice exams for you to review before the test.

Physical Demands

understanding the massage therapy profession

By now, we should be clear that massage therapists relieve pain, reduce stress, and rehabilitate injuries experienced by clients. What we don’t often talk about is the pain, stress, and injuries massage therapists may experience themselves.

One of the most difficult aspects of working as a massage therapist is the amount of time you spend on your feet. Massage therapists work anywhere from five to eight hours per shift. Though it is possible to relieve some of the pain this can cause by wearing the right socks and supportive shoes, prolonged stress can lead to osteoarthritis and other debilitating conditions.

And it doesn’t stop at the feet, either. According to a 2017 study, over half of massage therapists experience pain and stiffness in their hands. To preserve your massage therapy career, it’s important to avoid overexertion and practice self-care habits.

As a professional massage therapist, it’s imperative to protect yourself from legal liabilities. Many massage therapists have faced lawsuits after customers were injured at the facility, on the table, or on their way out the door. 

While most institutions are ensured, those policies don’t always extend to students or professors, especially when they step off the property to practice. Be sure to obtain your own insurance and demand clients express written consent before moving forward with treatment.

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Massage Therapist?

Now that we know why some practitioners may struggle when providing massage services, let’s focus on the many benefits the field has to offer! Check out the list below to learn more about why so many people are interested in becoming massage therapists.

Job Security

Holistic health practices have been growing in popularity and practice. More and more, patients are expressing interest in treating not just their physical ailments, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual components as well. Drug-free treatment plans are also helping drive that trend.

This growth is evidenced by the recent statistics released by the BLS. The organization predicts the massage therapy industry will balloon by 32% over the next decade, with over 20,000 new jobs opening up each year.

Related: Is massage therapy a good career?

Variety of Work Opportunities

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage therapists usually work in two different settings. Practitioners can choose from hotels, hospitals, fitness clubs, salons, rehabilitation centers, or spas.

There is also a range when it comes to the type of massage you want to practice and the demographic you want to work with. For instance, practitioners have the option of specializing in pregnancy massage, working predominantly with expectant mothers. They can also work at nursing homes, tending to the elderly population. Other massage therapists want to focus on sports massage, rehabilitating athletes and individuals in training.

Opportunities for Growth

Massage therapists can always add certain specialties to their list of offerings, attracting new clients looking for more expensive treatments. For instance, many massage therapists have increased their earnings by offering additional luxuries, including aromatherapy, acupuncture, and hot stone therapies.

You can also further your career in massage therapy by opening up your own business. As a self-employed practitioner, you’ll be able to set your own hours, rates, and even practice from the comfort of home.

How Massage Therapists Can Avoid Burning Out

massage education

Though incredibly rewarding, a career in massage therapy comes with some unique demands. Check out the tips below to learn how professionals can stay productive on the job.

Change Your Work Environment

Many massage therapists will experience the desire to change their work environment. Whether it’s the kind of clientele your facility caters to, the distance from home, or the people you work with, there are many legitimate reasons to change jobs.

Fortunately for massage therapists, there are plenty of opportunities around, and they exist in a wide variety of settings. Whether you’re looking for a more medical path or a career in luxury services, there are plenty of positions to choose from.

Learn how to start your own massage therapy business at ICOHS College. Students will learn a range of massage therapy techniques and develop a working business plan before leaving our program. Take the next steps in your career today.

Working as an independent contractor is another option that appeals to most massage therapists. If you’re thinking about taking this route, be sure to enroll in a school that emphasizes professional development in its curriculum.

Change Your Specialty

It is never too late to change your specialty. Continuing education courses are affordable and easy to access. They also don’t require too much time, meaning you can begin studying a new field while continuing to practice.

Change Your Schedule

People have many different needs when it comes to their work schedules. While some full-time practitioners may want to work the traditional nine-to-five, others prefer to engage in part-time work during nights or weekends. That way, they’re free to pursue other opportunities during typical work hours.

The good news is that massage therapy clinics, spas, and centers offer all types of hours. Self-employed practitioners have even more control over their schedules, working as much – or as little- as they like.

Change Your Rate

Certain sources suggest that massage therapists generally undercharge for their services. This finding isn’t entirely surprising, given that the industry remains predominantly female at 86%. And, as per recent analysis, women continue to earn just 84% of what men make. 

With that, it’s safe to assume that many practitioners are entitled to more money for their services. If you don’t have the luxury of setting your own rate, you can look into the highest-paying fields the industry has to offer.

The AMTA reports that individuals working in hotels, resorts, or on cruise ships make more than those working in chains, salons, and clinics.

Related: How much money can I make as a massage therapist?

FAQs

Is it hard to make money as a massage therapist?

The median salary for massage therapists in 2020 was $43,620. Though it’s a fairly average salary, therapists who are able to leave school and start their own practice can exponentially increase their earnings potential. Individuals who work in hotels, resorts, or on cruise ships can also earn high hourly rates. 

Is it worth becoming a massage therapist?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in your career. Massage therapists tend to work long days for a modest amount of money, especially early in their careers. The job also puts you on your feet for many hours at a time. That said, massage therapy does provide opportunities to create your own schedule and help others live more fulfilling lives. Massage therapists systematically report extremely high levels of job satisfaction.

How long does it take to learn massage therapy?

The average massage therapy program requires at least 500 hours of study, though some programs run for 1,000 or more hours. It should be noted, however, that massage therapy requires a continued commitment to lifelong learning and education.

What are the challenges of being a massage therapist?

While it remains an extremely rewarding occupation, massage therapy does present a unique set of challenges. The job can create a lot of wear and tear on the body, with practitioners working on their feet for long hours at a time. Conditions such as carpal tunnel and arthritis can lead to an inability to practice. Legal liability can also introduce additional challenges.

Are there benefits to massage therapy for cancer patients?

Studies have shown that massage therapy can be beneficial for cancer patients. Massage therapy can provide relief from cancer symptoms and treatment. What’s more, patients are expressing increasing interest in enhancing conventional treatments with complementary therapies, including massage.

What are some of the services massage therapists provide to their clients?

Massage therapists typically do the following:
Discuss symptoms, medical history, and desired results with clients
Evaluate clients to locate problem areas of the body
Manipulate muscles or other soft tissues of the body
Provide guidance on how to decrease pain, improve posture, and enhance relaxation

How long does the typical massage last?

A massage can be completed in as little as fifteen minutes or go for longer than an hour. Therapists may also provide additional treatments and instruct clients on specific massage techniques to practice between sessions.

Conclusion

The massage therapy field is booming, with more than 23,300 job openings expected to hit the market each year over the next decade. 

Start your journey towards a successful career at ICOHS College. Our Professional Massage Therapist certificate program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. Financial aid options apply to those who qualify. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors. 

How Much Money Can You Make as a Massage Therapist in 2022?

how much money can i make as a massage therapist?

How much money can I make as a massage therapist in 2022? If it’s a question you’ve asked yourself before, be sure to keep reading. We’re taking a deep dive into the profession and how much it pays. You’ll find the answer depends largely on education, experience, and place of practice. We’ll also explore entry-level rates and what the top earners are pocketing per year.

How Much Money Do Massage Therapists Make?

massage therapy salaries

Salaries among massage therapists vary greatly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for massage therapists is $43,620, while the lowest earners made just $22,580 per year. Meanwhile, those making the most money in the field are pocketing over $79,000, annually.

How Much do Massage Therapists Make an Hour?

f we break that down, that’s an average hourly wage of $20 or $3,635 a month, which is well above the national average.

The organization also predicts tremendous growth for the industry, with 23,000 new jobs added to the market each year over the next decade. If demand really does skyrocket, then those just breaking into the field will enjoy increased job prospects at higher rates.

Entry-Level Salaries for Massage Therapists

how do massage therapist salaries compare?

New massage therapists can expect to earn less than their more seasoned counterparts. According to Zip Recruiter, entry-level massage therapists earn an average salary of $37,000 per year. Lower rates are typically indicative of less experience on the job. They may also reflect a practitioner’s inability to market themselves effectively and sustain a healthy client base.

Other skills that can help massage therapist increase their earnings are as follows:

  • Communication
  • Skilled Technique
  • Positive Attitude
  • Business Skills
  • Basic Marketing Skills
  • Time-Management Skills
  • Commitment to Continuing Education
  • Networking Skills
  • Proper Equipment
  • Attention to Self-Care
  • Empathy
  • Self-Discipline

To attract new clients and up your earnings, try connecting with other massage therapists in your area. They can offer advice on localized trends and popular marketing outlets including social media. You can also ask them for referrals when possible.

Can a Massage Therapist Make Six Figures?

While the typical massage therapist salary rarely exceeds the $100,000 mark, it is possible. Location plays a big part here.

Make an impact in people’s lives by addressing both body and soul through the manipulation of muscles. Learn how to become a licensed massage therapist today.

For instance, the top 10% of earners in Alaska and Massachusetts make $132,950 and $112,470, respectively. Meanwhile, the individuals in other parts of the country who fall into the same high-earning category make less than half that amount. In South Dakota, $48,450 is considered a “high” massage therapist salary.

In What Areas of Massage Therapy Can I Make the Most Money?

Massage therapy is a highly varied career. Many massage therapists cater to personal care services, working in salons, spas, and rejuvenation centers. Others practice alongside healthcare providers in a more medical setting.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), individuals working in hotels, resorts, or on cruise ships make a relatively high hourly wage, pocketing over $60 an hour. Individuals working at chains, salons, and clinics, make slightly less.

Self-employed massage therapists enjoy the most opportunities to earn big in the field. The AMTA reports that those who conduct private sessions at their client’s homes or workplaces can earn upwards of $75 an hour. That said, these individuals with their own massage practice will be responsible for other upfront costs, including massage equipment, marketing material, and travel expenses.

Can Massage Therapists Collect Tips?

massage therapists make an average salary of $43, 620

Not all massage therapists report the amount they earn through tips, so it’s hard to find national data regarding this kind of income. Based on the information that we do have, the AMTA estimates that 58 percent of massage therapists accept tips over 60% of the time.

Your place of employment has a huge impact on if you can accept tips and how much you can accept. For instance, individuals working in the hospitality industry in hotels, resorts, or on cruises net an average tip of $22.40 per massage. On the other hand, those employed in a hospital or clinic only earn an average tip of $3.31 per massage.

Self-employed massage therapists who enjoy a regular pool of customers can also make good money in tips. The more repeat clients you have, the more tips you can expect.

The Top Paying States for Massage Therapy

Working as a massage therapist can yield varying compensation depending on the state you work in. According to BLS data, Alaska, Washington, and Massachusetts remain the highest paying states for massage therapists, with salaries that far exceed the national average.

State – Median Salary – Top 10% of Earners

  1. Alaska – $82,600 – $132,950
  2. Washington – $65,140 – $86,640
  3. Massachusetts – $61,790 – $112,470
  4. Oregon – $61,220 – $96,720
  5. Nebraska – $57,390 – $79,390
  6. Hawaii – $55,700 – $89,120
  7. Minnesota – $54,400 – $83,810
  8. Maine – $53,430 – $87,240
  9. New York – $52,560 – $89,200
  10. Illinois – $49,940 – $76,900
  11. Kentucky – $49,930 – $75,440
  12. Michigan – $49,840 – $75,540
  13. Wyoming – $49,760 – $76,090
  14. New Hampshire – $49,590 – $83,930
  15. Wisconsin – $48,190 – $68,730
  16. Ohio – $48,000 – $79,750
  17. Arkansas – $47,200 – $63,410
  18. New Mexico – $46,050 – $83,750
  19. Colorado – $46,020 – $65,170
  20. North Dakota – $45,790 – $65,590

The Lowest Paying States for Massage Therapists

Now, let’s take a look at the lowest-paying states. Georgia and Louisiana offer the worst prospects for a licensed massage therapist, with Rhode Island and Nevada following close behind.

State – Median Salary – Top 10% of Earners

  1. Georgia – $23,490 – $69,490
  2. Louisiana – $23,890 – $57,630
  3. Rhode Island – $28,110 – $55,690
  4. Nevada – $28,260 – $85,180
  5. Kansas – $29,210 – $80,830
  6. South Dakota – $30,550 – $48,450
  7. California – $34,400 – $80,940
  8. Mississippi – $34,870 – $50,860
  9. Iowa – $36,120 – $68,740
  10. South Carolina – $36,170 – $60,240

Job Outlook

massage therapist salaries are growing according to the bureau of labor statistics

Career prospects among massage therapists are growing rapidly. According to the BLS, the industry will grow by over 32% by 2030, with about 23,300 new jobs hitting the market each year over the next decade. That shift far exceeds those projected for other professions and is largely attributed to individuals aging out of the workforce or transferring to different industries.

Top Companies to Work for

While massage therapists can work in a freelance or private capacity, finding employment through a company can also turn into a profitable experience. Listed below are the highest-paying companies for massage therapists.

Company – Hourly Wage

  • Soothe Inc. – $95.12
  • Zeel – $77.21
  • Great Jones Spa – $56.57
  • Oak Haven Massage – $50.77
  • Yuan Spa – $49.07

*Data sourced from Indeed.com

How Can You Increase Massage Therapist Salaries?

While it’s not always possible to influence how much massage therapists make, certain things can help increase earning potential. Continuing education, location, and place of employment remain the most important influential factors surrounding massage therapist salaries.

self employed massage therapist makes more than the national average

Education

Most states require massage therapists to graduate from a certificate or degree program and get licensed before beginning their practice But that doesn’t mean your educational requirements come to an end. A commitment to continuing education can help massage therapists expand their skill set and diversify their client base. It can also make you more marketable to high-competition employers.

Additional courses can help educate massage therapists on important business practices, as well, such as marketing and logistics surrounding self-employment. The Professional Massage Therapy Program at ICOHS College provides students with an actionable plan to start their business right after they leave school.

Geographic Location

Demands for massage therapy differ depending on your location. Salaries dip dramatically in states where demand is low. That said, it’s not necessarily more profitable to pack up and move to a high-paying state like Alaska, Massachusetts, or Washington. Though these areas pay well comparatively, the cost of living and operating your own practice may not make relocating worth it.

Place of Employment

As a massage therapist, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of potential work environments. You can even split your time between, say, working at a salon and servicing private clients for additional income.

According to research conducted by the AMTA, individuals who work out of their client’s home or workplace have the largest earning potential. Individuals who work in hotels, resorts, and cruises come next, with an average hourly pay of $56.31. These practitioners also receive the highest amount in tips.

Meanwhile, massage chains, medical offices, and integrated clinics remain the lowest paying institutions. This information is important to keep in mind when deciding which area of massage you want to study and where you can anticipate landing your first job.

Conclusion

how long does it take to become a massage therapist

The massage therapy field is ballooning, with thousands of job openings hitting the market each year over the next decade.

 Start your journey towards a successful career at ICOHS College. Our Professional Massage Therapist certificate program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. Financial aid options apply to those who qualify. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make good money as a massage therapist?

Depending on where you work and where you live, you can make a very comfortable earning as a massage therapist.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for massage therapists is $43,620, with the highest ten percent of earners pocketing over $79,000, annually.

Can a massage therapist make 6 figures?

Massage therapists don’t typically make over six figures, though it is possible. Practitioners tend to make more money in certain states over other areas of the country. For instance, the top 10% of earners in Alaska and Massachusetts make $132,950 and $112,470, respectively. Individuals who are self-employed or own their own massage business can also attract additional clients and earn higher wages.

What is the highest paid massage therapist?

According to labor statistics from the Bureau of Labor, Alaska provides the highest massage therapist salaries, with the top ten percent of earners making over $130,000 per year.

Is being a massage therapist worth it?

If you like working with people and helping them restore health and function, then a career as a massage therapist is definitely worth it. Not only do they make a comfortable living, with some earning more than six figures a year, but they also report extremely high levels of job satisfaction as compared to other professions.

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career in 2022?

massage therapy is a good career

If you’re wondering if massage therapy is a good career, consider the following. The profession allows you to help people both mentally and physically. Working as a licensed massage therapist also provides opportunities to become your own boss, allowing for a more flexible work schedule, less stress, and higher earnings.

There’s even more to it than that. Due to an increased acceptance of holistic health practices and physical vulnerabilities presented by an aging population, the demand for licensed massage therapists is at an all-time high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be over 46,000 new jobs hitting the market by 2030. That’s a 32% increase in employment.

Read on below to learn more about the future of the profession. More importantly, we’ll provide answers to all your questions concerning what makes a career in massage therapy worth it. 

Why Are So Many People Interested in a Massage Therapy Career?

is massage therapy a good career

The alternative health industry is booming, and the reasons why are varied. Not only are patients becoming more interested in an integrative approach to medicine, but they’re also taking a more active role in maintaining their overall health.

Related: How much money can I make as a massage therapist?

Massage therapy offers a complimentary kind of treatment where patients can revamp both their bodies and their minds. It’s also been thought to help increase productivity throughout the day, which is why even big corporations have started introducing massage therapy to the workplace.

This shift has not gone unnoticed, particularly among individuals who are just joining the workforce or those interested in switching careers. Demand is high, which means job security is abundant.

Many massage therapists work in a variety of work environments, from spas, clinics, resorts, nursing homes, fitness centers, and more. Others remain self-employed, providing private sessions for clients at their homes or in their own office.

Read on to learn more about just what makes a massage therapist’s career so rewarding.

7 Reasons That Make Massage Therapy A Great Career

Between ample career opportunities, and the ability to perform meaningful work, it’s no wonder why massage therapy has earned such a good reputation within the professional world. Below, we’ve outlined a few different factors contributing to the hype.

1. Training is Quick and Affordable

It doesn’t take too long to begin your career in massage therapy. Massage therapy school can be completed in anywhere from five months to two years, though most programs require a minimum of 500 credit hours to apply for a professional license. The nationally accredited professional massage therapy program at ICOHS College takes approximately nine months to complete and is based on a total of 630 clock hours.

Related: How much massage therapy school costs

2. Therapists Experience High Levels of Job Satisfaction

According to a recent career satisfaction insights survey, 88 percent of individuals are “very satisfied” with their massage therapy career. Out of the 1,2000 licensed massage therapists surveyed, 99 percent believed their work had a positive impact on patients. USA News also listed the profession in their list of  Best Jobs Without A College Degree. 

3. Massage Therapists Are in Incredibly High Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains the massage therapy industry will grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030, with 46,500 new jobs hitting the market over the next decade. Apparently, people are already starting to notice the hike. According to the same survey mentioned above, 62 percent of massage therapists were able to land a job just one month after receiving their license.

4. You Can Work in a Whatever Work Environment You Want

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage therapists typically work in about two different settings. Hotels, hospitals, fitness clubs, salons, and massage therapy chains are all popular places of employment. 

That said, the majority of massage therapists describe themselves as solo practitioners, meaning they can perform the job out of their home or their client’s home or workplace. This is one of the most appealing parts of the profession. As independent contractors, massage therapists can create their own schedule, working as much – or as little – as they would like.

5. You Can Make Good Money By Setting Hourly Rates

The massage therapist salary varies, though most practitioners charge around $75 for a one-hour massage. Other massage therapists incorporate additional practices into their sessions such as deep tissue, sports massage therapy, hot stones, and aromatherapy to up their rates and collect more in tips.

6. There Are Lots of Opportunities For Growth

Massage therapy is a highly diversified career. Those looking to help their career along might consider becoming certified in specialty areas including Swedish massage, deep tissue, Shiatsu massage, and even acupuncture. 

Others will go on to open up their own business. A self-employed massage therapist can set their own hours, rates, and practice out of their own home or office.

7. You Don’t Have to Stare at A Computer All Day

Staring at a screen all day can cause headaches, impaired vision, and impact your ability to fall asleep at night. Fortunately, massage therapists get to largely dodge these risks, returning to their computers only to perform bookkeeping responsibilities. Other than that, it’s mostly a “hands-on” profession. 

What Kinds of Cons are Associated with Massage Therapy?

massage therapy career

While a massage therapy career offers major perks like designing your own schedule, earning high hourly rates, and not spending a fortune on school, there are some downsides to consider. Check out the list below to learn more.

1. Training Can Only Be Conducted in Person

Remote learning opportunities have exploded in the past few years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are many fields that cater to this kind of education style, massage therapy is not one of them. 

Instead, the field requires a certain amount of practical, hands-on experience. This is especially true for specialty areas like deep tissue massage or acupuncture.

As a result, massage therapists cannot necessarily work or tend to responsibilities at home while in school.

2. Clients Can Behave Poorly

Unfortunately, you can’t always control what happens on the massage table. According to a study of 1,200 massage therapists, nearly two-thirds of practitioners have experienced unwanted sexual advances from clients.

Though not quite as common, clients have also been known to make false accusations around injuries, which is why massage therapists are always advised to get liability insurance before they begin practicing.

3. The Work Can Be Physically Demanding

Massage therapy can take a serious physical toll on the body. Overuse injuries from constant time on your feet and working with your hands can lead to muscle tension and injuries such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and arthritis.

4. Flexible Work Schedules Can Lead to Inconsistent Income

It takes a very disciplined person to develop a long-term business plan and stick to it. If you want to become self-employed,  it’s important to keep in mind the levels of responsibility that come with it. Certain times of the year, like holidays or school vacations, can also lead to dips in appointments, which can have a major impact on your income. 

5. It’s Expensive to Start Your Own Business

Starting any business requires a detailed plan and a lot of spare capital. Rent, licenses, utilities, equipment, and insurance are just a few of the big-ticket items you’ll have to factor into the budget.

3 Signs That You’d Be a Good Massage Therapist

many states require massage therapists to obtain a license

1. You Like Helping People Feel Better

According to a recent study, 99% of massage therapists believe that their work has a positive impact on their clients.

2. You’re Looking For Meaningful Work

The same study found massage therapists feel their work has a positive impact on clients. When asked what mattered most to them, most massage therapists selected “helping clients feel better.”

3. You Don’t Have A Ton of Money to Spend On School

Earning an education from a traditional four-year university can cost upwards of six figures, leaving you buried in debt for years to come.  Meanwhile, massage school can be completed for just a fraction of that cost, usually somewhere between $3,000 and $14,000.

FAQs

Can you make good money as a massage therapist?

Yes, though it depends where you work. The median salary in 2020 was $43,620. As you gain experience and clientele your earning potential will increase. Self-employed massage therapists tend to earn more than those working in a spa or hotel, typically charging around $75 for a one-hour massage

What are the disadvantages of being a massage therapist?

Many massage therapists suffer from issues such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and arthritis. Additionally, nearly two in three massage therapists report having experienced unwanted sexual advances on the job.

What is the career path for a massage therapist?

Most massage therapists will begin their career as part of a franchise or chain. As you build experience and collect more clients, you can look into starting your own business.

Conclusion

Opportunities for massage therapists are exploding throughout the country. If you’re unsure about how to start your career in massage therapy, look into opportunities at ICOHS College.

Our Professional Massage Therapist diploma program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors.

Massage Therapy Schools in California

Massage Therapy Schools - California

Are you unhappy with your current job and interested in starting a new career? If you enjoy working with people in a hands-on environment, a career as a massage therapist might be for you!

The first step involves enrolling in a reputable massage therapy school where you can learn from experienced industry experts. If you’re already out west, keep reading. Below, we’ve put together an original list of massage therapy schools in California.

15 Hands-On Massage Therapy Schools in California

massage school

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for massage therapists is expected to grow by 32 percent over the next ten years, a figure that far exceeds those predicted for other professions.

Learn more about programs available in your area to become part of this exciting new wave. As per the standards set by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), these programs offer a minimum of 500 in-class hours to ensure the highest quality massage therapy education.

Massage Schools in Southern California

ICOHS College

Estimated Cost: $10,000

Program Length: 9 months

ICOHS College is located in San Diego and is home to several exciting certificate programs, including Professional Massage Therapy and Holistic Health practitioner Programs. Students can choose between morning and afternoon classes to receive our in-person training without compromising on other responsibilities.

Make an impact in people’s lives by addressing both body and soul through the manipulation of muscles. Request more information about the Professional Massage Therapy program at ICOHS College.

We provide instruction on both Eastern and Western modalities, deep tissue, basic Swedish massage techniques, and special populations. Students will be introduced to hot stone massage therapy, aromatherapy and essential oils, and advanced massage therapy and orthopedic applications.

Upon completion of the program, students will also have received instruction on how to start their own massage therapy business, complete with a working business plan. We maintain an average student-teacher ratio of ten to one, ensuring all students receive the attention, instruction, and care they deserve.

National Holistic Institute

Estimated Cost: $15,000

Program Length: 8-12 months

The National Holistic Institute (NHI) is also a popular choice for aspiring massage therapists, with locations throughout California. The organization offers comprehensive massage training and an advanced neuromuscular massage therapy program. 

Once enrolled, students receive hands-on instruction supervised by a certified massage therapist. Training revolves around core topics, including deep tissue massage, Swedish massage therapy, Shiatsu, sports massage, and myofascial therapy.

Students will have the opportunity to practice both eastern and western modalities through the NHI student massage clinic. Practical business training will also be provided.

Downey Adult School

Estimated Cost: $4,000

Program Length: 6-8 months

The Downey Adult School, once known as the DAS Career and Education Center, has been in operation for more than 70 years. Downey’s classroom instruction puts students through over 600 hours of massage therapy training. Subjects include pregnancy massage, infant and elderly massage, and advanced circulatory massage.

Students will leave prepared for work in chiropractic offices, spas, hospitals, physical or sports therapy offices, health and wellness clinics, cruise ships, and self-employed private practices.

University of Antelope Valley

Estimated Cost: Unavailable

Program Length: 9-10 months

Situated just an hour north of Los Angeles in Lancaster, CA, you’ll find the University of Antelope Valley. The school offers certificates in massage therapy, which instructs students on a variety of massage therapy techniques including Swedish and Deep Tissue.

Additional courses consist of the basics of bodywork, professionalism, legal issues, and medical terminology. They also teach Introduction to Bodywork and Spa Modalities, which include facial treatments and aromatherapy.

After students successfully complete the course, they will be ready to work in various environments, including in salons, medical offices, spas, and alongside chiropractors. They will also receive professional development training to eventually open up their own practice.

North-West College Riverside

Estimated Cost: Unavailable

Program Length: Unavailable

North-West College has locations across southern California in West Covina, Pomona Valley, Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Riverside. The massage therapy program, which has been approved by the California Massage Therapy Council, or the CAMTC, takes around nine or ten months to complete.

In addition to helping heal injuries and decreasing stress among clients, students will learn to book clients and schedule appointments, evaluate clients and isolate problem areas, provide clients with guidance on stretching, strengthening, and overall relaxation, record client notes, and manipulate soft tissues throughout the body.

After receiving their certification and completing a clinical internship, students can work as massage therapists in spas, franchised clinics, physicians’ offices, hotels, clients’ homes, and fitness centers.

American Institute of Massage Therapy

Estimated Cost: $9,765

Program Length: 8-12 months

The American Institute of Massage Therapy is located in Santa Ana, California.  The school offers both a Massage Therapist program and a Massage Therapist/Sports Massage Therapist program.

The Massage Therapist program largely revolves around massage therapy fundamentals, musculoskeletal systems, basic massage, business law and ethics, individual muscles, sports massage, hydrotherapy, systems of the body and advanced and complementary techniques, clinical practicum at athletic events.

Meanwhile, the Massage Therapist/Sports Massage Therapist has a heavier emphasis on sports massage, clinical pathologies, specialty massage techniques, Asian bodywork methods, aromatherapy, and reflexology.

The American Institute of Massage therapy is approved by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA).

Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute

Estimated Cost: Unavailable

Program Length: 4-12 months

The Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute (SBBTI) has been offering training for prospective California massage therapists since 1984. Their massage therapy programs are best suited for working individuals who can’t commit to a full-time school schedule.

The program can be completed in anywhere from four to 12 months. The only requirement to enroll is a high school diploma. The school also offers financial assistance to those who qualify and veterans interested in receiving assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Northern California Massage Therapy Schools

experienced massage professionals

Skyline College

Estimated Cost: $8,500

Program Length: One year

The massage therapy program from Skyline College places a heavy emphasis on wellness and holistic health. It is a 600-hour full-time evening program that can be completed in two semesters. We will note that the school has reported low graduation rates in the past, suggesting that the curriculum is not for all students.

Graduates will walk away from the program proficient in various massage therapy techniques, including Swedish (relaxing/wellness), deep tissue, trigger point, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, PNF/MET, energy healing techniques, Ayurveda, Asian bodywork traditions, and integrative health modalities.

Experts believe that professional licensing helps enhance public safety standards and ensures worker competency across the field. Today, over 40 states issue massage therapy licenses.

Following the successful completion of their massage therapy training program, students can go on to pursue advanced certificates for holistic, complementary, alternative, or integrative medicine in various therapies.

Carrington College

Estimated Cost: $16,000

Program Length: 9 months

Carrington College offers a nine-month certificate curriculum at seven different locations across California, making it one of the most accessible massage therapy schools in the state. Earning an associate of science degree in health studies entails an additional 42 weeks of general education studies.

Students at Carrington can expect to learn Swedish massage, sports massage, deep-tissue applications, Shiatsu, and chair massage therapy. Students also attend a career-development seminar and complete an externship.

San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork

Estimated Cost: $9,330

Program Length: 6-8 months

The San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork provides a 600-hour massage therapy program. It’s one of the few massage therapy schools in California to provide a hybrid learning, though the majority of coursework is performed in a classroom setting.

Not only does the program qualify you for certification through the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), but it also provides you with the core hours needed to become nationally certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).

Subjects covered include Swedish massage, body mechanics, massage theory, deep tissue massage, neuromuscular techniques, lymphatic massage, trigger point therapy, business and ethics, and body mechanics.

Diamond Light School of Massage and Healing Arts

Estimated Cost: $1,985

Program Length: 6 months

Diamond Light Massage Therapy School is often celebrated for fusing a grounded, professional certification training in Massage Therapy with a heart-centered, spiritual approach to healing.

Diamond Light offers four different state-approved massage therapy programs, including a Professional Bodywork Therapist Certification Course, an Advanced Bodywork Therapy Training, a Massage Therapy Course, and an Energetic Healing Certification. Individual courses and workshops are also available.

Students will be introduced to subjects including massage essentials, anatomy, body mechanics, energy principles, prenatal and meditation, and energetic healing. Instructors maintain decades of experience in the massage therapy field.

Bodhi Panya Institute

Estimated Cost: $7,750

Program Length: 5.5-8 months

The Bodhi Panya Institute offers a 500-hour Traditional Thai Massage Program. Upon graduation, students will be certified massage therapists within the state of California.

The program focuses on Thai massage, though students will also study Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and other western-style massage techniques. 

Curious about industry requirements outside of California? Learn how to become a licensed massage therapist in 2022.

Courses are offered part-time two days a week, three days a week, or four days a week. The full-time schedule is five days a week. Students must have a high school diploma to enroll.

Conclusion

massage therapy schools in California

Opportunities for massage therapists are exploding throughout California, and there is now an abundance of institutions investing in the field. If you are unsure where to start, look into the massage therapy programs offered at ICOHS College.

Our Professional Massage Therapist diploma program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors. 

FAQ

How long does it take to become a California massage therapist?

California massage therapists must complete a minimum of 500 hours of education with 100 of those 500 hours meeting core curriculum requirements (a minimum of 100 hours in anatomy, physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, and business and ethics) to receive certification from the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC).

How much is a massage license in California?

The state of California does not currently require massage therapists to become licensed, though many municipalities require practitioners to become certified through the California Massage Therapy Council. Residents of California can apply for their massage therapy certification online. Applications must be completed by individuals 18 years or older along with a $200 fee, criminal background check, official transcripts from your massage school, and copies of your state-issued identification.

Do massage therapists have to be licensed in California?

The State of California does not require you to be certified by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). However, some areas require certification from the organization to receive compensation. We recommend checking with your local municipality to ensure you are operating legally.

How Long Does it Take To Become a Massage Therapist?

How Long Does it Take To Become a Massage Therapist?

How long does it take to become a massage therapist? The answer depends on where you live, what program you enroll in, and whether or not you want to provide specialty services. Read on below for a step-to-step guide to becoming a massage therapist, from education requirements to lab experience and more.

What is Massage Therapy?

how long does it take to become a massage therapist

Massage therapy manipulates soft tissues on the body to release tension and relieve muscular pain. 

Licensed massage therapists can select from a variety of techniques to specialize in. It’s not a modern method, either. The holistic practice dates as far back as 3000 BC. It’s important to do your homework to get familiar with all the opportunities available. 

Popular specialties include sports massage, shiatsu massage, Swedish massage, Thai massage, Hot stone massage, acupuncture, parental massage, prenatal massage, and medical-massage therapy.

Today, the practice is considered an integrative part of healing and restorative treatment.

Start in on an exciting new career today. Learn how much you can make as a massage therapist in today’s world .

According to the National Holistic Institute, more than 40% of U.S. citizens seek massage therapy for pain relief, injury rehabilitation, and migraine control. More than 50 million adults have discussed the practice with their doctors in the past few years.

3 Steps to Becoming a Massage Therapist

1. Get Your Education

To become a massage therapist, you must complete a certification or degree program. There, you’ll take courses on body mechanics, massage ethics, physiology, and anatomy. Educational requirements can typically be completed within a year, allowing graduates to enter the workspace in a much shorter time frame than in other fields.

Today, there are over 245 massage therapy institutions within the United States. Before enrolling, it is essential to consider location, graduation rate, tuition fees, and how many people found work in the field after completing the program.

Understanding the Costs

As far as costs go, massage therapy schools are a lot more affordable than your standard university. Though, tuition will vary depending on the length of the program and where it’s located. The average cost starts at around $5,000 and can reach up to $25,000.

The shorter the program, the less it will cost. Programs range from 300 to 1,000 hours of in-class instruction and practical training. That said, there are additional costs to take into consideration. Some schools provide students with a massage table to help them practice. Others require them to purchase one on their own. The average price for this equipment hovers around $500.

Online vs. On-Campus Options

As of now, no massage therapy training program offers online learning exclusively. While some may claim to be 100% remote, recognized institutions always require some hands-on component so that their students can gain necessary practical experience. 

The online component of these programs focuses on general education courses like human anatomy and nutrition.

Program Length

The duration of programs depends on the type of massage school you plan to enroll in and how many specialties it covers. Some programs can be completed in as little as five months, while others may last upwards of two years, though most programs require a minimum of 500 credit hours to apply for a professional license. 

The nationally accredited professional massage therapy program at ICOHS College takes approximately nine months to complete and is based on a total of 630 clock hours.

2. Obtain A License or Certification

massage therapy program

In most states, a massage therapist requires a license to practice. To obtain this credential, they must pass either the MBLEx or the BCETMB exam. There are only a few states, including Kansas, Vermont, and Wyoming, where individuals can skip this step and immediately begin practicing massage therapy.

In areas where it is required, licensure allows individuals to open up their own massage business and work independently.

Make an impact in people’s lives by addressing both body and soul through the manipulation of muscles. Learn how to become a licensed massage therapist today.

Costs largely depend on the program you attend and where you plan on becoming licensed or certified. Graduates of ICOHS College are qualified to sit for the licensing exam from the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), which comes with a $200 application. We support all graduates in obtaining licensure, including reimbursing them for this fee.

3. Begin Your Work Experience

As a licensed massage therapist, you can begin your experience across various environments, including spas, including rehabilitation facilities, clinics, hotels, and wellness centers. According to the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association), massage therapists work in two different environments, on average.

Unlike most other professions, massage therapists are able to structure their schedules with a great amount of flexibility. Typically, massage therapists work about 25 hours per week. That’s about eight or nine hours per day or around five massages. Late nights and weekends provide additional work hours for individuals who may have other responsibilities to tend to during the standard workday.

How Long Does it Take to Achieve Success in the Field?

To see your practice take off, you’ll first need to obtain a license or certification. Starting your own massage therapy business takes around 300 hours to 1000 hours of training, on average.

From there, you’ll need to start building up a loyal client base. Networking with local organizations, staying on top of current trends, and advertising your services can help attract new massage clients quickly.

You can also gain additional credentials from your massage school to help distinguish yourself from the competition. Do some research about what massage techniques are most popular in your area, and act accordingly.

Conclusion

treatment goals & massage therapy

The massage therapy field is ballooning, with 23,300 new jobs opening up each year over the next decade. 

Start your journey towards a successful career at ICOHS College. Our Professional Massage Therapist certificate program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. Financial aid options apply to those who qualify. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors. 

FAQs

How long does it take to train to be a masseuse?

Massage therapy school can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year and a half to complete, depending on the program you select. You should also factor in the time it takes to obtain a license and certification as well.

Can you make good money as a massage therapist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), massage therapists earn a median annual income of $43,620, with the top ten percent of earners making more than $79,000 per year.

Is it worth becoming a massage therapist?

Most massage therapists remain incredibly satisfied with their careers. If you are passionate about health and healing, then you may be a good fit for the industry. Massage therapists are also hugely in demand. In addition, they enjoy good earning potential and are able to make a measurable impact in the lives of their others.

How Much Does Massage Therapy School Cost in 2022?

How Much Does Massage Therapy School Cost

An increasing number of people are looking into how much massage therapy school costs, and with good reason. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the job outlook among massage therapists to grow by 21 percent over the next ten years. That estimate far exceeds those predicted for other professions.

The reasons behind this kind of growth relate to a few different developments. The aging baby boomer population has helped increase demand for good masseurs, for one. The growing popularity of spas has also contributed to industry growth. There’s been more of a recent focus on holistic health, as well. That, coupled with an increasing amount of stress in society, makes a great recipe for demand.

Read on to learn more about the costs associated with breaking into the field and the available financial aid options.

How Much Does Massage Therapy School Cost?

massage therapy program

Tuition costs vary depending on the duration of the massage program. Most state boards demand students receive at least 500-600 hours of massage therapy training before working in a professional setting.

Other accredited massage therapy schools may require more time in the classroom, which can significantly bump the price up. Still, the range typically falls anywhere between $3,000-$15,000 for a one-year program.

Other factors that can impact tuition price include whether you are attending a public or private massage school. Public colleges, including community colleges and vocational schools, typically offer more affordable and expedited programs than private institutions.

Interested in more affordable education opportunities? Learn about the many benefits of vocational schools. Start your journey with ICOHS College!

The application fee and costs associated with your student massage table, linens, lotions, creams, textbooks, student liability insurance, and other study materials will also affect the price of massage therapy school tuition.

Financial Aid Options for Massage Therapy School

While it’s true some massage schools cost more than prospective students are able or willing to pay, accredited institutions will offer financial aid to help them cover the tuition. Check out the list below to learn more about some of the most popular options.

Federal Financial Aid

Each year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides billions of dollars in grants, student loans, and work-study from the U.S. Department of Education. The form takes just about an hour to fill out online. Within 3-5 days, you’ll hear back about what kind of federal aid award package you are eligible for.

ICOHS College is committed to helping you navigate through the financial aid process. Schedule an appointment with our Financial Aid Counselor for help completing your financial aid paperwork.

Scholarships and Private Grants

There are a number of private institutions offering financial assistance for students enrolled in massage programs. A few of the most popular scholarship initiatives include:

Payment Plans

Different financing options may also be available, depending on your massage program. Contact your admissions representative today to learn more about installment agreements and monthly payment plans if you can’t pay in full.

IRS Tax Credit and Deductions

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit offers deductions for higher learning initiatives of up to $2,000, depending on your income. The policy also allows you to deduct costs associated with certifications, licenses, and memberships.

The American Opportunity Credit is another option for students enrolled in eligible massage programs. This program offers a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. Note that this option is not available to individuals who already have a four-year degree.

You can learn more about tax deductions for massage therapists today.

Veterans Benefits

Most schools offer veteran assistance programs as well. The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA) workforce development program provides as much as $4,000 in financial assistance for career training to eligible military spouses. 

Are you a member of a military family and in need of financial support to help pay  for school? Learn more about MyCAA program requirements today.

Meanwhile, other elements of the GI Bill may qualify veterans or active duty service members for full to partial tuition assistance. Funds are also available for books, fees, and housing allowances.

Conclusion

learn massage techniques today

Becoming a massage therapist isn’t always cheap, but plenty of financial aid options are available to those who qualify. Besides, the paperwork is likely worth it. Increased employment options among massage therapists mean easy access to job security and financial independence.

If you’re interested in a career as a massage therapist, look to ICOHS College! Our Professional Massage Therapist diploma program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve overall health and wellness among clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors. 

Scholarships and title IV funding are available for our IT programs and additional course offerings. Give us a call at (858) 581-9460 or email us to learn more about what financial assistance programs we support. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. 

We also offer career counseling services to all students as well as lifetime job placement assistance. Our staff works hard to help graduates land jobs they’re passionate about.  

FAQ

How much does massage therapy certification cost?

The price of a massage therapy certification depends on where it is issued. Residents of California, for instance, can apply for their massage therapy license online from the California Massage Therapy Council. Applications must be completed by individuals 18 years or older along with a $200 fee, criminal background check, official transcripts from your massage school, and copies of your state-issued identification.

Do massage therapists make good money?

According to the BLS, massage therapists earn a median annual salary of $43,620, with the highest 10 percent of earners over $79,000 annually.

The top-paying states for massage therapists are Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.  Additionally, it is not uncommon for massage therapists to take on private clients as independent contractors for supplemental income.

How long is therapeutic massage school?

Massage professionals must complete at least 500 hours of in-class instruction. The time it takes to satisfy these requirements depends on your course schedule and whether you are a full or part-time student. Massage therapy training programs can take as little as six months or up to 15 months to complete.

Massage Therapy Careers for Health and Longevity

massage therapy school

Health and wellness are essential elements for living a dynamic lifestyle. With our fast-paced routines and so much going on around us all the time, it’s important to intentionally invest in physical wellness for sustainable longevity. Massage therapy can not only be used as an avenue towards personal wellbeing but is also in high demand as our culture becomes more health conscious.

Becoming a massage therapist is a fulfilling profession, as it creates stability and connection between you and your clients. It’s also possible to work from almost anywhere in the world, whether you want to live on an island and work at a resort or opt for self-employment and entrepreneurship in your current residence. The options are expansive, and the career field is currently growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the massage therapy industry is going to increase by 23% between now and 2022, which is more rapid than average for most industries.

 

Getting Certified as a Massage Therapist

If you are someone who finds wholeness in helping people become their best selves, then pursuing a certification in massage therapy is a great next step. With ICOHS College, you can uncover your strengths as a health practitioner. By enrolling in our Professional Massage Therapist program, you can decide the exact role that suits your interests. From chiropractic to vacation therapy and medical ventures, there is a path for anyone interested in pursuing a career in holistic wellness through massage therapy.

Getting started as a massage therapist doesn’t require a huge up-front educational investment, and this certification will equip you with all of the skills you need in order to confidently get the ball rolling.

 

What to keep in mind when considering massage therapy as a career:

  • According to ZipRecruiter, you can make between $42,765 to $64,884 per year as a massage therapist in the state of California
  • Top earners in the field can make up to $82,580, meaning there is a lot of room for advancement in the industry
  • Mobile massage therapy is on the higher end of the pay scale if you are interested in personal entrepreneurship

 

Through the ICOHS Massage Therapy Certification program, you will receive hands-on training with anatomy, body techniques, and even career development. After getting certified, you’ll have the freedom to choose exactly what kind of work schedule you want. You’ll be able to decide to work from home, as a mobile practitioner, or join a wellness clinic. And with ICOHS career placement and post-program advising, you’ll be in great shape to get set up with a career you love!

Opportunities for health practitioners are in high demand and provide a ton of personal freedom towards pursuing several career paths. While it’s clear that you can have plenty of independence as a massage therapist, it is even more rewarding to know that you can make a difference in someone’s overall wellbeing. You’re guaranteed to work in a calm and soothing environment, simultaneously investing in your own personal health.

 

Get Started on Your Path Towards Career Wellness

If you believe that a career as a massage therapist is something that would bring you fulfillment as an individual, ICOHS is ready to provide you with the next step. Based in San Diego, California and motivated to set you up with a lifelong career, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get started.

Here, you’ll receive hands-on training from our instructors while adding to your knowledge of cultivating a healthy lifestyle.

To take the first step, send us a chat or request information about our in-depth program.

6 Popular Massage Therapy Techniques

Learn about different massage types at ICOHS College
Massage therapy can help people of all types depending on the type of massage technique. Massage therapists word in hotels, spas, resorts, clinics and more. Massage therapy can be used to help those that are dealing with injuries, those that need stress-relief, and those that just want to experience the benefits of massage.
There is a variety of massage techniques that massage therapists can learn and practice. Each one can help with different types of issues ranging from muscle pain, back pain, and more.
Deep Tissue Massage
This technique focuses on treating musculoskeletal issues, like strains and sports injuries. As the name suggests, it involves applying a lot of pressure in slow and deep strokes. This helps target the inner layers of your muscles and tissues in order to reduce tension and break down any scar tissue that tries to form following an injury.
Deep tissue massage can help alleviate the pain that stems from deep in the muscles. After receiving a deep tissue massage, you might feel sore due to the amount of pressure that is used. But, the long-term benefits are worth the temporary pain.
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Shiatsu
Shiatsu originated from Japan. It focuses on the acupressure points in the body in order to relieve stress and pain. The goal is to stimulate the acupressure points to improve the flow of energy within the body. This can help relieve stress, treat pain, and contributes to overall health.
Unlike other types of massage, there is no oil or lotion that is used. Massage therapists that do shiatsu massage therapy rely on their fingers, thumbs, and palms to apply pressure to parts of the body. It can regulate nervous system activity and promote good circulatory and lymphatic health.
Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is actually the standard type of massage that is offered in most spas, clinics, and more. Therapists will start with lotion or oil paired with broad general strokes to start the massage. Then, they transition into focusing more on your problem areas.
This the type of massage you might be most familiar with, especially if you’ve gotten a massage before. There are a handful of strokes that Swedish massage therapy uses regularly. It helps provide full-body relaxation for those looking for pain and stress relief.
Reflexology
Reflexology focuses on applying different levels of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears. Unlike other types of massage, it is only focused on these parts of the body. Those that practice this technique are known as reflexologists.
Reflexology is based on the idea that areas of the foot are linked to organs and systems of the body. This means that when pressure it applied to these areas, it is believed to bring relaxation or healing to the linked area of the body. There are foot charts that indicate which specific parts are linked to each part of the body.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massages are quite common in spas. This type of massage is done by placing smooth, black stones are that slightly hot on the shoulders and back. The warmth of the stones can make people feel more relaxed. Heat relaxes the muscles which allows the massage therapist to work deeper into the muscles while applying less pressure.
This technique shouldn’t be painful at all. Even though the stones are heated, they shouldn’t be heated to the point of causing the patient pain. If you ever feel pain during a massage therapy session, please be sure to tell your massage therapist.
Aromatherapy Massage
An aromatherapy massage is actually a subset of Swedish massage therapy, but they use oils and lotions that contain essential oils. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant oils that usually have a relaxing aroma. When you inhale the essential oil scent or absorb them in your skin, it is thought to affect your emotions in a positive way.
Essential oils are used for aromatherapy
Some examples of essential oils used are lavender, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, and chamomile oil. There are more that have different properties that range from calming to energizing. Essential oils may cause an allergic reaction, so you should be cautious and aware before getting an aromatherapy massage.
If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist and learning some of these techniques, check out our massage therapist program: https://icohs.edu/programs/professional-massage-therapist/

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