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Massage Therapy
Degree Programs

Massage Therapy & Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Starting a Career in Massage Therapy: What You Need to Know, American Massage Therapists Association, Accessed October 2017, https://www.amtamassage.org/professional_development/starting.html
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Massage Therapists, Accessed October 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm#tab-1
  • 720 Hour Massage Therapy Certificate Programs, Colorado School of Healing Arts, Accessed October 2017, http://www.csha.net/programs/700-hour-certificate/
  • Costs and Fees, Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare of Herzing University, Accessed October 2017, http://www.osmhc.com/catalog/?dir=35
  • Massage Therapy Certificate, Nashua Community College, Accessed October 2017, http://www.nashuacc.edu/academics/certificate-programs/health-sciences-and-services/203-massage-therapy-certificate
  • Programs @ UCHA, University College of Healing Arts, Accessed October 2017, https://www.ucha.edu/programs-ucha
  • Therapeutic Massage, Tri-County Community College, Accessed October 2017, http://www.tricountycc.edu/academics/programs-of-study/therapeutic-massage/
  • School of Massage and Healing Arts, IBMC College, Accessed October 2017, https://ibmc.edu/programs/massage-therapy-programs/
  • Massage Therapy School in New York City, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Accessed October 2017, https://www.pacificcollege.edu/prospective/programs/new-york/massage
  • Become a Massage Therapist, Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, Accessed October 2017, http://www.swedishinstitute.edu/academics/massage-therapy/
  • Myotherapy Institute, Accessed October 2017, http://www.myotherapy.edu/
  • College Receives Director's Award of Excellence for Massage Therapy Program, Williston State College, August 10, 2017, http://www.willistonstate.edu/News-and-Events/News-Articles/2017Aug/College-Receives-Directors-Award-of-Excellence-for-Massage-Therapy-Program.html
  • The Annual MTSI Massage Therapy School Scholarship Award, Massage Therapy Schools Information, Accessed October 2017, http://www.massagetherapyschoolsinformation.com/massage-therapy-school-scholarship/
  • Bob King Student Scholarship Program, American Massage Therapy Association, Accessed October 2017, https://www.amtamassage.org/forms/scholarshipformintro.aspx
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As people look for natural ways to maintain and improve health, the field of massage therapy has seen a surge of interest in recent years. Massage therapists use various techniques to heal injuries, reduce stress and help clients relax. They may work independently or be employed in diverse settings such as spas and health care facilities or by sports teams.

States have taken different approaches to the occupation with some requiring massage therapists be licensed. Even in states where a license is not required, employers may prefer to hire those who meet certain requirements, such as having a formal education.

Massage therapy degree programs are offered by more than 300 accredited institutions, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. While diplomas and certificates are common in the field, some schools also award associate degrees. Although online massage therapy degrees would be convenient, they are not common since this is a hands-on occupation. Those online degrees for massage therapy that are available may still have in-person requirements.

Best Colleges for Massage Therapy Degree Programs

Massage therapy degree programs are generally offered by schools focused on holistic medicine as well as institutions, such as community colleges, that provide vocational training. Schools.com analyzed 100 schools using a comprehensive methodology and found these are the top colleges for massage therapy.

Methodology
1Colorado School of Healing Arts+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Seeing that it teaches massage therapy exclusively, it isn't too surprising that the Colorado School of Healing Arts tops this list of best colleges for massage therapy degree programs. The school's core mission is to provide a quality education that teaches best practices in the field.

The program at Colorado School of Healing Arts results in a certificate. It requires 720 hours and can be completed in 9-12 months. Upon completion, graduates should be prepared to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination.

CSHA ranks first for prominence among all the schools analyzed. It also had the seventh best graduation rate among the 100 institutions surveyed. According to CSHA, the school has an on-time graduation rate of 81 percent.

Additional Info
2Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare of Herzing University+
ADMISSION RATE
100%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

As part of Herzing University, the Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare has been offering educational programs since 1989. The school says it's "where excellence and education meet."

In addition to some technology programs, the Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare offers a diploma in therapeutic massage. Those already working as massage therapists can take continuing education classes at the school.

While the school offers classes in other fields, the majority of its graduates study massage and bodywork. As a result, Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare ranks fifth for prominence in this survey of best colleges for massage therapy degree programs. It also has the eighth best graduation rank out of 100 institutions.

Additional Info
3Nashua Community College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Nashua Community College is located in a New Hampshire city of the same name. It was founded in 1970 and is one of seven community colleges in the state. It offers nearly 35 associate degrees and more than 20 certificate programs.

While some of the top schools for massage therapy have only a degree or certificate in the field, this college gives students two educational choices. Nashua Community College offers both an associate degree in holistic massage therapy and a certificate in massage therapy. Both prepare students to take the National Certification Examination for Massage and Bodywork.

Beyond that, Nashua Community College is notably for its student support services and low, 9-1 student-faculty ratio.

Additional Info
4Universal College of Healing Arts+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Universal College of Healing Arts is another school focused solely on massage therapy. For that, it ties for first place in the prominence ranking. UCHA is also one of the places to find online massage therapy degrees. Its programs combine intensive residential weekends with online coursework.

Massage therapy students at UCHA can earn a diploma, hellerwork diploma or an associate degree. The diplomas can be earned in 12-16 months while an associate degree can require two years of study. Students who enroll in the programs have a strong record of completing them, and Universal College of Healing Arts ranks first for its graduation rate.

The college has its campus in Omaha, Nebraska.

Additional Info
5Tri-County Community College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

As one of the public community colleges in North Carolina, Tri-County Community College has its campus in Murphy. It was founded in 1964, and TCCC says its's mission is to engage, inspire and enrich student learning.

Although TCCC has an open enrollment policy, the spots in its therapeutic massage program are limited. A maximum of ten students are admitted each fall. Those who do get admitted have access to a program that gives them the skills needed to work in a variety of settings. Plus, they are prepared to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam after graduation.

Tri-County Community College offers both a diploma and an associate degree in therapeutic massage. It ranks high not only for the student support it offers but also for its affordable tuition rate.

Additional Info
6IBMC College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Known more formally as the Institute of Business & Medical Careers, IBMC College is another of the top colleges for massage therapy. It has a 30-year history of awarding diplomas, certificates and degrees through its career-focused programs.

IBMC College has beauty and massage salons in three Colorado cities: Fort Collins, Greeley and Longmont. These salons are open to the public which allows students to gain real-world experience prior to graduation. Speaking of graduation, the college has the ninth best graduation rate of the massage therapy schools surveyed by Schools.com.

Students at IBMC College can earn either a diploma or degree in therapeutic massage. At 6-1, the student-faculty ratio at the college is the best among the institutions on this list.

Additional Info
7Pacific College of Oriental Medicine - New York+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

At the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, also known as PCOM, students learn how to be holistic health care practitioners. Its programs include acupuncture and nursing in addition to massage. The college was founded in 1986 and has locations in New York, San Diego and Chicago.

The New York campus of PCOM gets high marks for having a strong graduation rate and small student-faculty ratio. It also ranks ninth for the prominence of its massage therapy program. Students have access to night and weekend classes, academic advising and career placement services.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York offers students an associate of occupational studies in massage therapy. The curriculum includes instruction in both Asian and Western bodywork therapies.

Additional Info
8Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Another of the top schools for massage therapy is the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences. Located in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, the school is the oldest continuously operated massage therapy institution in the country. It was founded in 1916 and today offers a number of certificate and associate degree programs.

The massage therapy program at Swedish is intended to prepare students to take the New York State licensure exam. The school notes that over the course of the past ten years, 90 percent of its graduates who took the exam, passed it on the first try.

The Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences awards an associate in occupational studies, and students can select from either a 20-month or a 32-month program. Swedish has the third best graduation rate among surveyed institutions.

Additional Info
9Myotherapy Institute+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Myotherapy Institute ties for having the most prominent massage therapy program in this ranking of best colleges for massage therapy degree programs. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, the institute offers a comprehensive curriculum that comes in four different majors.

This program results in an associate in applied science degree and includes both general education and massage-specific courses. Students can choose to specialize in chiro-massage, long term care massage, animal massage or facial massage. There is also a 12-month diploma option available. Both programs should prepare students to apply for licensure in Nebraska.

MI offers four start times so it's convenient for students to begin classes when they are ready. What's more, Myotherapy Institute has a strong graduation rate, ranking fourth for that metric.

Additional Info
10Williston State College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

With a campus in North Dakota, Williston State College rounds out this list of the ten top schools for massage therapy. Among other things, the school gets high marks for its solid graduation rate.

WSC is a state community college that offers both vocational training and transfer degree programs. For massage therapy students, there is both an associate of applied science as well as a certificate program available. Students complete 75 hours of observed massages in the student clinic as well as 75 hours of massage outside the clinic. Among graduates who take the national licensing examination, the school has had a 100 percent pass rate during the previous three years.

Williston State College is a public institution and one of only four schools in North Dakota offering massage therapy.

Additional Info

Massage Therapy Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

Massage therapy diplomas, certificates and degrees are intended to lead down one career path: that of a massage therapist. However, that isn't to say there aren't variations within the field. Some therapists might work with specific populations while others may specialize in a certain type of massage.

Certificate and associate degree programs in dental hygiene
Associate degree programs typically include some general education requirements while certificates focus solely on massage therapy instruction. Either way, students should graduate with the ability to perform full-body massage techniques, understand patient protocols and the laws regarding their practice. They are then ready to move on to work as massage therapists.
Massage therapist
Using a variety of techniques, massage therapists manipulate muscles and soft tissue to promote healing, wellness and relaxation. About half of massage therapists are self-employed while others work in spas, health clinics, hotels and elsewhere.

Career Outlook for Massage Therapists Majors

Interest in holistic treatments continues to be strong, and the future looks bright for massage therapists. Here's what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says about job growth in the field.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Massage Therapists$44,48095,83021.6%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
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Financial Aid and Scholarships for Massage Therapy Degree Programs

As with other fields of study, there are specialized financial aid opportunities for massage therapy degree programs. Examples include scholarship programs from the American Massage Therapy Association and the Massage Therapy Schools Information Institute. Plus, students may be eligible for government aid or direct assistance from their school.

Regents Professional Opportunity Scholarship
Applicant must be beginning or already enrolled in an approved degree-bearing program of study in New York State that leads to licensure in a particular profession. Purpose of award is to increase representation of minority and disadvantaged individuals in New York State licensed professions. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$5,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

May 31

 

 

Therapy Professionals Scholarship
Applicant must demonstrate an interest in physical, massage, recreational, or occupational therapy or psychology professions and be interested in attending a related undergraduate, graduate, or accredited training program at an accredited institution in the United States. Minimum 3.0 GPA required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

December 15

 

 

Patricia Collins Amaral Memorial Fund
Applicant must be a senior who has a minimum 3.0 GPA and who has demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership through participation in campus organizations and has rendered service of significant benefit to the campus community. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$600

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 15

 

 

Alumni Association Scholarship
Applicant must demonstrate community leadership and have met the award criteria established by the Alumni Association's Scholarship Committee. Applicant must have completed 12 credits last semester and 24 credits at Bridgewater State College as of December 31. Applicants who have transferred from Massachusetts Community Colleges, Dean College, or Quincy College are eligible to apply. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$0

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 15

 

 

Professional Organizations

The AMTA is the largest non-profit, professional association for the industry.
ABMP says it's the largest massage therapy membership program in the country in part because of the comprehensive liability insurance it can provide members.
As a subset of the AMTA, the Massage Therapy Foundation promotes research related to the field.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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Nashua Community College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
505 Amherst St
City
Nashua
State
NH
Zip Code
03063
Website
www.nashuacc.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,056
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,912
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
9
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
17%
Swedish Institute a College of Health Sciences
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
226 West 26th Street
City
New York
State
NY
Zip Code
10001
Website
www.swedishinstitute.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
888
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$14,250
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Tri-County Community College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
21 Campus Circle
City
Murphy
State
NC
Zip Code
28906
Website
www.tricountycc.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,082
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$2,363
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
84%
Williston State College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1410 University Ave
City
Williston
State
ND
Zip Code
58801
Website
www.willistonstate.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,038
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$5,233
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
23
Number of Online Programs Offered
14
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
85%
Colorado School of Healing Arts
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
7655 W Mississippi Ste 100
City
Lakewood
State
CO
Zip Code
80226
Website
www.csha.net
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
134
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$10,437
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
10
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine-New York
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
110 William St. 19th Fl
City
New York
State
NY
Zip Code
10038
Website
www.pacificcollege.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
133
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$12,205
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
10
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Myotherapy Institute
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
4001 Pioneer Woods Drive
City
Lincoln
State
NE
Zip Code
68506
Website
www.myotherapy.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
20
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$16,750
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Universal College of Healing Arts
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
8702 North 30th Street
City
Omaha
State
NE
Zip Code
68112
Website
www.ucha.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
25
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$60
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$15,390
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
100%
IBMC College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
6805 Corporate Drive, Suite 100
City
Colorado Springs
State
CO
Zip Code
80919
Website
www.ibmc.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
344
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$0
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
8
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare of Herzing University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
9748 Park Dr
City
Omaha
State
NE
Zip Code
68127
Website
www.herzing.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
104
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
100%
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$13,090
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
6
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
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