Massage Therapy Degree Programs

Massage therapy training programs are commonly offered as certificates or diplomas, though associate's degree programs are also available. Massage therapy is increasingly state-regulated by licensure or certification. Find out about various massage techniques you can learn, requirements to practice professionally and the career outlook. Schools offering Massage Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Work in Massage Therapy?

To work as a massage therapist, you usually need to be licensed or certified by your state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), each state has different requirements, but at least 500 hours of training and practice are often necessary. You can find massage therapy schools around the country, including community colleges and private, for-profit institutions that specialize in the field.

Most training programs grant diplomas or certificates and often take less than a year to complete. Once you meet your state or locality's training requirements, you usually have to sit for an exam. There are two at the national level: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Some states may have their own exam, the BLS reported. Once you're licensed or certified, you'll probably need to maintain your credentials through regular continuing education and training.

What Are Programs Like?

Massage therapy degree, diploma and certificate programs can vary in length and requirements. They're often designed to meet requirements for the state in which they operate. Some programs take 500 hours, but others take 750 hours. While not common, associate's degree programs are out there and include general education courses in addition to massage-specific coursework.

Most massage therapy training programs cover basic medical terminology, the structure of the human body, basic massage techniques and business practices. You also spend a lot of your time in hands-on situations, allowing you to practice deep tissue, Swedish, sports and other massage techniques. Some schools have labs, and you might get to work with the public in clinics. Due to the experiential nature of massage therapy training, you won't be able to earn a degree, certificate or diploma in an online setting.

What Might My Career Be Like?

Once you complete your massage therapy training program and meet your state's requirements, you can find work in settings such as hospitals, spas, gyms and medical offices. Many massage therapists are self-employed, and some travel to clients' homes. According to the BLS, massage therapists could see 20% job growth between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than average. Wages can vary. The BLS reported that the bottom 10% of all massage therapists made $18,300 or less per year as of May 2011, while the top 10% earned about $69,070 or more per year. The BLS determined that the median salary was $35,830 as of 2011.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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