If you’re thinking about a career in massage therapy, one of the first questions you might have is: how long does it take to become a licensed massage therapist?

The quick answer: Massage therapy programs typically range from 500 to 1,000 hours of training, which can take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete depending on the program and your schedule.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what massage therapy school entails, the different types of massage therapy programs available, and how long you can expect to be in school before starting your career as a licensed massage therapist.

So, whether you’re just starting your research or you’re ready to take the next step, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about massage therapy school.

What Is Massage Therapy School?

Massage therapy school is a type of vocational school or career college that offers training programs for individuals who want to become licensed massage therapists. It is a hands-on training program that teaches students how to provide therapeutic massages to clients, relieve pain or stress, and promote relaxation.

Overview of Massage Therapy Programs

Massage therapy programs typically last between 6 months to 2 years, depending on the program’s format and the school’s requirements. Most programs require students to complete a certain amount of hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training to graduate.

During the program, students will be taught the basics of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and kinesiology. They will also learn different massage techniques, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, and sports massage.

What You’ll Learn in Massage Therapy School

Massage therapy school is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful massage therapists. Some of the topics that will be covered during the program include:

  • Massage techniques and modalities
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Pathology and disease
  • Kinesiology and body mechanics
  • Business and marketing skills

Students will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by practicing on real clients under the supervision of licensed instructors.

Types of Massage Therapy Programs

There are several types of massage therapy programs available, including:

  • Certificate Programs: These programs typically last between 6 to 12 months and focus solely on massage therapy training.
  • Diploma Programs: These programs are similar to certificate programs but may include additional courses in general education topics.
  • Associate Degree Programs: These programs last 2 years and include general education courses in addition to massage therapy training.

Online vs. In-Person Programs

Some massage therapy schools offer online programs, which allow students to complete their coursework at their own pace and on their own schedule. However, many massage therapy schools require students to complete a certain number of hands-on training hours, which cannot be completed online.

In-person programs provide students with the opportunity to practice their massage techniques on real clients under the supervision of licensed instructors. This hands-on experience is essential to becoming a successful massage therapist.

It’s important to note that massage therapy licensure requirements vary by state. Before enrolling in a massage therapy program, be sure to research your state’s licensure requirements and choose a program that meets those requirements.

How Long Does Massage Therapy School Take?

Massage therapy is an increasingly popular field of study that provides students with the knowledge and skills to help people feel better through the power of touch. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy, you may be wondering how long massage therapy school takes. The answer depends on several factors, including the program you choose and your own personal circumstances.

Length of Massage Therapy Programs

Massage therapy programs can vary in length from just a few weeks to two years or more. The most common length of a massage therapy program is around 600 hours, which typically takes about six months to complete. However, some programs may be as short as 300 hours or as long as 1,000 hours. The length of the program will depend on the requirements of the state in which you plan to practice massage therapy.

In general, states that have more rigorous licensing requirements for massage therapists tend to have longer programs. For example, California requires 500 hours of education and training, while New York requires 1,000 hours. Other states, such as Texas and Florida, require 500 and 600 hours respectively.

Factors That Can Affect Program Length

There are several factors that can affect how long it takes to complete a massage therapy program. These include:

  • Your own schedule and availability
  • The program format (online, in-person, hybrid)
  • The school’s curriculum and course offerings
  • The amount of time you’re willing and able to commit to the program

It’s important to research different massage therapy programs and find one that fits your needs and schedule. Some programs may offer flexible scheduling, such as evening or weekend classes, while others may require full-time attendance during the day.

Accelerated and Part-Time Programs

If you’re looking to complete your massage therapy education more quickly, you may want to consider an accelerated program. These programs are designed to be completed in a shorter amount of time by condensing coursework and offering more intensive training. Accelerated programs can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the program.

On the other hand, if you need to work while completing your massage therapy education, you may want to consider a part-time program. These programs allow students to take classes on a more flexible schedule and can take longer to complete than full-time programs. However, they offer the benefit of allowing students to continue earning income while working towards their massage therapy certification.

Regardless of the program you choose, completing a massage therapy education can be a rewarding experience that opens up many career opportunities. Whether you’re looking to work in a spa, healthcare facility, or start your own business, massage therapy can be a fulfilling and lucrative career path.

What Are the Requirements for Massage Therapy School?

If you’re considering pursuing a career in massage therapy, you may be wondering what the requirements are for massage therapy school. Here’s what you need to know.

Education Requirements

Most massage therapy programs require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may also require prerequisite courses in subjects like anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. These courses can typically be completed at a community college or online.

Massage therapy programs can vary in length, but they typically range from 500 to 1,000 hours of instruction. This can take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete, depending on whether you attend full-time or part-time.

Certification and Licensure

After completing massage therapy school, you’ll need to become certified and licensed to practice in your state. This typically involves passing a national certification exam, such as the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), as well as any state-specific exams or requirements.

It’s important to note that certification and licensure requirements can vary by state, so be sure to research the specific requirements in your area.

Continuing Education

Once you’ve become a licensed massage therapist, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses to maintain your license. These courses can help you stay up-to-date on the latest massage techniques and research, as well as fulfill any state-specific requirements.

Continuing education requirements can also vary by state, so be sure to check with your state licensing board for specific requirements.

How Much Does Massage Therapy School Cost?

If you’re considering a career in massage therapy, it’s important to know the costs associated with attending massage therapy school. The cost of tuition and fees can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location of the school, the type of program you choose, and whether you attend full-time or part-time.

Tuition and Fees

On average, the cost of tuition and fees for massage therapy school can range from $6,000 to $10,000 or more. This cost typically covers the cost of instruction, textbooks, and any necessary equipment or supplies. However, it’s important to note that this cost may not include additional fees such as application fees, registration fees, or lab fees.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Fortunately, there are several options available to help offset the cost of massage therapy school. Many schools offer financial aid in the form of grants, loans, or work-study programs. Additionally, there are several scholarships available specifically for massage therapy students. These scholarships can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, and can be a great way to help pay for your education.

Additional Costs

It’s important to factor in additional costs when considering the cost of massage therapy school. These costs can include textbooks, uniforms, and any necessary equipment or supplies. Additionally, you may need to pay for licensing fees or certification exams after you graduate. It’s important to research these costs ahead of time so you can budget accordingly.

Overall, while the cost of massage therapy school can seem daunting, there are many resources available to help make it more affordable. By researching your options and planning ahead, you can achieve your goal of becoming a licensed massage therapist without breaking the bank.

Is Massage Therapy School Right for You?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy, it’s important to consider whether or not massage therapy school is right for you. Here are some factors to consider:

Skills and Qualities Needed for Success

Massage therapy requires a unique set of skills and qualities. To be successful in this field, you should have:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Great attention to detail
  • Good physical stamina and dexterity
  • An interest in anatomy and physiology
  • Empathy and a desire to help others

If these qualities describe you, massage therapy could be a great career choice.

Career Outlook for Massage Therapists

The career outlook for massage therapists is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the continued popularity of massage for health and wellness purposes.

Additionally, a career in massage therapy can be a flexible and rewarding one. Many massage therapists are self-employed, which allows for more control over their schedules and work environment.

Choosing the Right Program

If you’ve decided that massage therapy school is right for you, it’s important to choose the right program.

Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. These accreditations ensure that the program meets high educational standards and will prepare you for a successful career.

You should also consider factors such as program length, cost, and location. Some massage therapy programs can be completed in as little as six months, while others take up to two years. It’s important to find a program that fits your schedule and budget.


Becoming a licensed massage therapist can be an incredibly rewarding career choice, both personally and professionally. However, it’s important to do your research and understand the commitment required to complete massage therapy school before making any decisions.

By understanding the different types of programs available, the requirements for certification and licensure, and the costs associated with massage therapy school, you can make an informed decision that sets you up for success in this exciting field.

So, whether you’re just starting your research or you’re ready to enroll in a program, we hope this guide has provided you with the information you need to take the next step in your massage therapy career.

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