Equine Massage Therapy Schools: How to Choose

Though equine massage therapist programs are not usually offered through traditional universities, some closely-related university programs may include equine massage therapy courses. Otherwise, programs are generally offered through private, unaccredited schools, with which students should use caution when considering.

While equine massage therapy degrees are difficult to find, equine science or management programs are viable options. Students can investigate whether or not an equine science program includes equine massage therapy as part of the curriculum either as a single class or as a sequence.

10 Schools with Equine Science or Management Programs

The following public and private schools offer undergraduate degree programs in the field:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Delaware Valley University Doylestown, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $35,256
Hiwassee College Madisonville, TN 4-year, Private Bachelor's $15,543
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $13,560 (In-state) $36,360 (Out-of-state)
Morrisville State College Morrisville, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,970 (In-state) $18,020 (Out-of-state)
Oklahoma Panhandle State University Goodwell, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,461
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 4-year, Private Associate's, Bachelor's $28,932
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,936 (In-state) $24,268 (Out-of-state)
University of Minnesota - Crookston Crookston, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,646
University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $16,986 (In-state) $30,256 (Out-of-state)
William Woods University Fulton, MO 4-year, Private Bachelor's $22,160

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Students searching for schools with equine science programs might consider:

  • Schools offering internships for course credit or those that field racing teams or stables on-site since they may provide the most practical, hands-on experience for prospective equine massage therapists.
  • Students should check whether the state where they wish to practice places equine massage therapy under the category of veterinary medicine, thus requiring a vet's presence during massage practice (requirements may be checked at www.avma.org, the American Veterinary Medical Association's website).

Private Equine Massage Training Programs

There are private training academies for equine massage therapy that can often be completed in a shorter period than traditional school programs. These academies focus solely on the massage facet of equine studies rather than the collective industry. The downside is that these academies aren't usually accredited.

As a result, students should review them carefully before enrolling. One aspect of this research would be to ask desired employers whether the training program is considered reputable. Another would be to find out whether the state board of veterinary medicine has an approval process for massage programs and, if so, whether the private program has been approved.

Equine Science or Studies Bachelor's Degree Programs

These 4-year programs incorporate the business side of this industry in addition to equine science and anatomy. The business side will incorporate subjects such as accounting and finite math. Most programs allow students to choose a specific area of the industry to focus on, ending in their senior project.

Equine Management Bachelor's Degree Programs

This degree track is for students who wish to work in management positions. Many of these programs offer flexible options such as specifying the senior seminar for massage.

Students interested in equine massage therapy can pursue training programs or bachelor's degrees in areas that incorporate equine massage therapy, such as equine science or management. These are typically available at 4-year private and public institutions, although non-accredited programs that focus only on equine massage also exist.

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