Top 10 Massage Therapy Schools

Female massage therapist performing holistic massage techniques on her client.
The massage therapy profession is projected to grow over 20 percent faster than average, creating an excellent job outlook for this therapeutic career.

Massage therapists help people reduce stress, relieve tension, induce relaxation, relieve pain and help rehabilitate injuries with massage, or the manipulation of the body’s soft-tissue and muscles. They do not only treat those with injuries, but people from all walks of life looking to increase their general well-being and health as massage is a good way to do that. Once used primarily for injuries, athletes and rehabilitation, massage therapy has grown in popularity as a way to reduce stress and relax.

There are a variety of different types of massage that a massage therapist might administer, depending on the needs of their clients.

Examples of massage types are deep-tissue massage, Swedish massage, acupressure, sports massage and neuromuscular massage. As a massage therapist, you can choose to specialize in a particular type of massage or you may generalize in a few methods.

Some massage therapists work for themselves and travel to their clients homes, some work in rehabilitation clinics, chiropractor’s offices, other medical clinics, sports clinics, fitness centers, private offices, or spas and resorts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the job outlook for massage therapists has a projected growth of 20% from now until 2020. This job field is currently experiencing above average job growth and is expected to continue to do so. Average salary for this profession is around $45,000 annually, according to Salary.com.

We’ve put together a description of 10 popular Massage Therapy diploma and associate’s degree programs offered by the following schools…

Medical Career Institute

medical-careers-institute logoSuccessful completion of this program will earn the student an Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy. The goal of this program is to provide students with the knowledge and tools to become either Licensed Massage Therapists in North Carolina or Certified Massage Therapists in Virginia.

Students will learn not only the foundations of business, but they will also complete their general education requirements during this program. The emphasis on the massage therapy program is on massage for medicinal use and rehabilitation purposes and student will have hands on training through clinical experience and an externship, giving them the ability to put what they have learned to good use.

Once they have completed this program they can take the National Certification Exam. In order to actually practice massage after passing the National Certification Exam they must apply to the relevant authority to be either licensed or certified. In North Carolina, students may apply to by Licensed Massage Therapists through the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy. In Virginia, students apply to the Virginia Board of Nursing for their certification to be a Certified Massage Therapist.

Program Length: 15 months

Campus Locations: Newport News, VA & Richmond, VA

Everest University

everest-logoEverest offers an entry-level massage therapist program, designed to get students introduced and working in the field. One of the big draws to Everest is their flexible schedules, so that you can easily get the education you want without a full disruption of your schedule.

This program will educate students on basic health and wellness, anatomy, massage techniques, and body mechanics through a mixture of classroom learning, technical skills, and clinical practice. After completing this program students will be prepared to find employment in chiropractic offices, health centers, private practice offices, physical therapy clinics, and spas. Classes in Swedish massage, pre-natal massage, geriatric massage, deep tissue massage, neuromuscular massage, myofascial massage, sports massage are taught to prepare students for a wide variety of types massage, widening the hiring potential for the students.

Program Length: Varies by campus

Campus Locations: Varies – Everest has campuses in 24 states

Florida Career College

florida-career-college logoFlorida Career College offers a program awarding a diploma as a massage therapist, which is designed to prepare graduates to begin working as a massage therapist and pass the National Exam. Coursework consists of general and applied health science courses like basic anatomy, physiology, and massage techniques.

Also included are a course in ethics and a review course specifically designed around helping students pass the National Exam. Upon completion of the curriculum and passing the National Exam, students can apply to practice massage in the State of Florida. Florida Career College also offers a flexible schedule and students can take one class at time, making it easy to fit schooling into their work and home schedule. The clinical training for this program takes place on campus, at their onsite massage therapy clinic.

Program Length: 11 months

Campus Locations: Hialeah, FL; Miami, FL; Pembroke Pines, FL; West Palm Beach, FL

San Joaquin Valley College

san-joaquin-valley-college logoStudents can choose from two programs, a Certificate of Completion or an Associate of Science degree as well as receiving a certification for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Graduates of both programs are eligible to take the National Exam upon graduation.

San Joaquin Valley College’s massage therapy program goes over business aspects of being a massage therapist, client relationships, massage techniques with a focus on medical massage and bodywork therapy. The main massage techniques that are taught are Swedish massage, spa therapy, deep tissue massage, and neuromuscular massage and include both classroom and clinical work.

Program Length: 15 months for an Associate of Science degree and 7 months for a Certificate of Completion

Campus Locations: Bakersfield, CA; Modesto, CA

Harris School of Business

harris-school-business logoBy giving students an overview of the massage therapy field, students in this program will learn about various subjects including basic massage fundamentals, anatomy and physiology and body mechanics in relation to massage techniques. Also included are business classes as applied to the massage industry.

Students will have a mixture of classroom learning and an externship that will allow them to get hands-on learning and practice while being supervised; your 120-hour externship can be listed on your resume and the school has a placement center to help you find employment after graduation.

Program Length:

Campus Locations: Cherry Hill, NJ; Dover, DE; Hamilton/Trenton NJ; Linwood, NJ; Wilmington, DE

Carrington College

carrington college logoThe campuses in California offer both a Certificate and Associate Degree program. The locations in AZ, ID, and WA offer a certificate program only. Both programs teach client communication skills and basic client relationship skills to help you connect with your future clients.

Through a mix of classroom, lab work, and an externship, students will be prepared to take the National Exam and begin their career as a massage therapist. Courses taught include a focus on body mechanics, anatomy, professionalism, physiology, and massage techniques in the following modalities: reflexology, chair massage, pre-natal, Swedish, sports, lymphatic facilitation, neuromuscular, shiatsu, and deep tissue; making this one of the more comprehensive massage programs out there.

Program Length: Certificate of Achievement in Massage therapy is a 9-month program. Program length for receiving an Associate of Science degree in Massage Therapy varies by location.

Campus Locations: Phoenix, AZ; Boise, ID; Spokane, WA; Antioch, CA; Pleasant Hill, CA; Sacramento, CA; San Jose, CA; San Leandro, CA; Stockton, CA

Arizona College

arizona college logoWith working students in mind, this diploma program offers flexible classes for both morning and evening, making it easy to attend with minimal disruption of the student’s schedule, which is very practical for students who are working.

Client relationships, anatomy, physiology, business, ethics and the following massage techniques are taught: trigger point therapy, Swedish, specialized population massage, pre-natal, reflexology, oil treatment and therapy, sports and injury massage, abdominal massage and hydro-therapy.

Not only does Arizona College have a flexible schedule, but also they have a peer mentor program, placement assistance and tutoring for lab work, all of which contributes to their high graduation rate. Upon graduation of this program, students can apply to the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy to become licensed in order to practice massage in the state of Arizona.

Program Length: 30 weeks

Campus Locations: Glendale, AZ

Vista College

vista college logoOffering a diploma and certificate for massage therapy, Vista College’s comprehensive program combines classroom study, hands-on training, and an internship to prepare students for entry-level jobs as a massage therapist.

With an emphasis on general health and well-being, including stress relief, injury recovery and sports injury rehabilitation, this program is designed to help students discover which specializations they might want to lean towards by teaching various massage techniques including hydrotherapy, Swedish massage and Ayurvedic therapies.

Program Length: Less than a year

Campus Locations: Beaumont, TX

National University of Health Sciences

If you have already met your general education requirements for an Associate’s Degree, upon completing this program you will earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy. For students without any prior courses, they can obtain a Certificate in Massage Therapy.

For extra hiring power, students can combine the massage therapy program with the college’s Chiropractic Assistant Certification Program, which is available to be taken as weekend courses. Designed for busy students, National University of Health Sciences offers evening only classes, allowing students who are working the chance to complete the program.

Combining anatomy, business and communication skills, and massage techniques, this program will allow students to prepare for a promising career in the field. Massage techniques that are taught are deep tissue, sports, chair, Swedish, trigger point and orthopedic massages with the following specializations: pediatric, infant, pregnancy, cancer, and geriatric massage.

Program Length: One year

Campus Locations: Lombard, IL