How do I Choose the Best Massage Therapy Program?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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When choosing the best massage therapy training program, there are many factors to consider. Unlike traditional career paths,a massage therapy program has many unique avenues to explore and study. This training does require a high school diploma or GED. Typically, a massage therapy program offer a wide range of variety depending upon the school and your personal interests.

Many states regulate or are currently considering regulating massage therapy training and practices. Therefore, the most important quality you should look for is if the school of chose is accredited. A massage therapy program should be accredited by the United States Department of Education (USDE) as well as COMTA, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. These accreditations will ensure the quality of training.

A massage therapy program usually involves at least 500 hours of training. Education for massage therapy includes such things as anatomy and physiology, a branch of biology focused on the body functions, and kinesiology, the study of movement. Strong emphasis is placed on muscles – where they are, how they work and what is causing them to become painful or work inefficiently.


This 500 hour massage therapy program usually includes in-class hands-on training. Some programs practice techniques in-class and have additional “clinic” requirements where the trainee practices on actual clients from the community. This is where the trainee performs special massage techniques and learns how to create a massage routine. This is also where the trainee can begin to put together problem solving skills to be able to provide each client with a personalized massage therapy session based upon their individual needs.

In addition to the standard anatomy lesson, massage therapy trainees can place their focus on a specific area of interest and choice of career paths. Some trainees, for example, are only interested in relaxation massage and would only be required to know Swedish massage techniques. Other trainees may be interested in working in a hospital or chiropractic office. These students would need to know things such as trigger point or deep tissue massage.

Tuition and fees for a massage therapy training program varies as does the curriculum. Some schools do offer financial aid. When choosing the right school, consider class options and general career intentions, faculty credentials and time obligations. Also look for post-graduate job placement program and consider post-graduate continuing education requirements specific to the area and scope of practice.

Since there is currently no “licensing” in most states, upon completion of the training hours, it is highly recommended to sit for the National Certification exam and obtain certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). This confirms that the training was satisfactory. It also establishes your credentials as a professional massage therapist.



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