How do I Choose the Best Massage Therapist School?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2019
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Massage therapist schools are cropping up everywhere. Deciding on pursuing a career in massage therapy is a bit different than choosing a career considered more traditional. Since it is deemed an alternative medicine profession, there are very little laws and regulations, which tend to vary depending on the location you choose to practice. However, advance training and schooling is required. When deciding on a massage therapist school, the first thing a student should consider are individual interests and intended career paths.

Since advance training for massage therapy can be varied according to interests, massage therapist schools can differ greatly. There should be some standard educational courses, such as anatomy and physiology, the study of the body and how it works, and kinesiology or how the body moves. A general knowledge of medical terms, massage theory and practice, diseases, and injuries are also a must.

Another requirement for a massage therapist school is an understanding of the contraindications of massage. Learning the contraindications, or the situations where massage would be inadvisable or likely to cause an adverse reaction, is necessary to be able to practice massage therapy safely. When choosing a massage therapist school, the medical background you attain is just as important as the massage techniques.


Once you figure out your interests, accreditation, such as by the United States Department of Education (USDE) as well as COMTA, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, should be the first requirement when choosing a massage therapist school. This accreditation assures the quality of both the education and the educators. It will also allow you to sit for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCBTMB. In many locations, having certification from the NCBTMB takes the place of an actual “license”.

Other locations require you to pass a National Certification test. This assures the education you attained meets the standards of core skills, abilities, knowledge and attributes necessary to practice safely and competently, as determined by the National Certification Board. If the massage therapist school of your choice is not accredited, you will not be eligible to sit for these exams.

Choosing a massage therapist school affiliated with hospitals or health care centers possessing a solid reputation is a way to assure a high level of training and education. Most massage therapist schools require a minimum of 500 hours of training, while others, such as New York, require 1000 hours. Knowing your state or locations requirements and laws should be taken into consideration when choosing a massage therapist school.



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