Massage Therapist Training

Massage therapists need to be licensed and certified according to the state they practice in to be selected for a resort massage therapy job and usually resorts prefer their employees to be experienced in a number of relaxation methods and techniques including stone therapy, Swedish massage, deep tissue, hydrotherapy, shiatsu, and more.

Massage Therapists Require Extensive Education and Practice to get Certified

Training is provided through various schools and colleges across the country with accreditation being provided by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) is also now offering a licensing examination which is accepted in many states. Other organizations like the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) offer accredited training programs.

Not all states require certification, but for those that do you can go about getting this through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) which will give you the initials NCTMB. Most students take this exam soon after completing their massage therapy studies even in states where it is not required, because it can open a lot more doors and make you eligible to work anywhere in the country and at international resorts.

Where to Train

You should find training institutions that have been accredited by the various aforementioned organizations and associations. These are usually at small vocational colleges and community schools, but there are some larger colleges with multiple campuses that offer massage therapy programs including:

  • Everest Institute – They offer an associate’s degree in Massage Therapy with campuses in Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Virginia.
  • Carrington College – They offer a diploma Massage Therapy program covering Swedish massage among others in campuses across 4 western states.
  • Anthem Education Group – They offer a diploma in Massage Therapy specializing in sports massage, hydrotherapy, Swedish, and deep tissue.
  • Lincoln Tech – They offer a Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks Technology Program with campuses in mostly Northeastern states.

These are several popular schools, but there are many, many others in the USA and all over the world. There are also online distance learning options for those who are older and who want to study massage therapy as a second career option with the intent of working at a resort.

People can also train under the supervision of a licensed and certified massage therapist instead of attending a school, and work as an apprentice to complete their training. Whatever the training program, it should cover subjects including anatomy, kinesiology, ethical practices, business practice, and theory among other things.

Did You Know? Massage therapy is officially regulated by 33 states as well as the District of Columbia.

Length of Training

The length of massage therapy courses depends on the type of course being taken, what is being covered and where it is being taken, but generally a diploma takes around a year of full time study with an associate’s degree taking around two to complete.

Once you have completed your training you will have to become certified and licensed which will require you to practice massage therapy for between 300 and 1,000 hours, with 500 being the usual amount of time required before you can take your examination.

Training always continues outside of the regular college setup with seminars and courses always available offering new techniques so that massage therapists can keep up to date with the latest goings on in the industry. In some states in order to maintain your national certification, you will need to attend regular seminars and take additional courses.

Training Requirements

You need to have certain traits and skill sets before you can enroll in a massage therapy program as well as certain documentation. You will need to have a high school diploma and previous post secondary studies in anatomy and physiology will be beneficial.

You need to be an excellent communicator and personality will be taken into account to a certain degree. The level of empathy and personal interaction are noted when you apply for a massage therapy course, and many highly selective schools basing their admission on how likely the student will be to succeed at being a massage therapist after their studies are complete.

Quick Summary:

  • Massage Therapy is an ongoing learning process
  • You can study for one or two years
  • Certification takes approximately 500 hours of practical massage therapy work


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