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How to Pick the Best Massage Therapy School for a Great Career and Money?

Thai massage, Ayurvedic massage, Swedish massage, Balinese massage, Shiatsu massage, hot rock massage, deep tissue massage – with so many different types of bodywork currently “en vogue”, and with each system promoting its own benefits, how can you even begin to know how to find the right massage therapy school?

Want to Become a Professional Massage Therapist? Check State Requirements.

In recent years, massage therapy has become increasingly popular in the west.

To operate as a professional massage therapist, however, you have to have a license. Having a massage therapist license means you must attend a massage therapy school.

Successful massage therapists attend well-reputed massage therapy schools that teach them not only massage techniques, but also how to run your own massage therapy practice.

The first thing you should do when considering a massage therapy school is to check your state’s requirements for licensure.

Some states, such as New Mexico, may only require 650 hours spent in a massage therapy school, while other states, such as New York, may require as many as 1,000 hours spent in school. A few states have no licensing requirements at all – but that doesn’t mean that you should skip massage therapy school altogether.

Understanding What Makes a Good Massage Therapy School

Consider Accredited Schools for Your Massage Therapy Certification

Although there are many different styles of massage, a good massage therapy school will at least expose you to all different massage modalities, along with the philosophy of body work, basic human physiology, anatomy, and kinesiology.

In fact, most accredited schools are required to teach at least anatomy and physiology, so make sure that the school you’re looking into offers these courses.

Unaccredited schools still may have a few outstanding programs, but generally speaking, you want to earn your license from an accredited massage therapy school.

Ensure You Get Enough Hands-on-Training

Additionally, because a massage therapist’s “bread-and-butter” is very hands-on, you want to make sure you attend a school that emphasizes both giving and receiving massages.

Classroom learning is fine, but the lion’s share of your education shouldn’t be spent with a textbook in hand, but with another’s body in hand. A good massage therapy school will also require you to complete a hands-on clinical internship before you graduate.


Massage therapy schools are all a little different, each one offering an emphasis on a slightly different philosophy and approach to bodywork. Make sure that the approach of the school matches your own approach to bodywork.

Once you’ve decided on the school that best matches your own philosophy, check to see whether or not they’ve been accredited by a reputable accrediting body, and see if you can check in with some of their graduates to see how the program worked for them. Above all, make sure that the education the school has to offer takes place outside the classroom at least as much as it does inside the classroom.

Do plenty of research on each massage therapy school you’re considering before making the leap.

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