Top School in Sacramento for Becoming a Massage Therapist

School and Ranking Information

Students looking for massage therapy training in Sacramento have about seven schools to choose from. The top three schools in this area, based on location and program offerings, are:

  • Winner: National Holistic Institute is the only school of the top three located in Sacramento. It has multiple accreditations and offers business courses in addition to therapy training for aspiring professionals.
  • Runner-Up #1: Fair Oaks Massage Institute students can complete just one or all of the modules offered at this school, depending on their educational needs.
  • Runner-Up #2: Massage Therapy Institute offers specialized training and small class sizes.

All three schools found here prepare students for certification as massage practitioners or therapists in California and are approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Students with an interest in massage therapy will need to acquire certification through the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) as Certified Massage Practitioners or Certified Massage Therapists after completing 250 or 500 hours of study, respectively. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) also offers a Licensed Massage Therapist credential to those who complete 500 hours of massage education.

School Comparison Chart

Category National Holistic Institute Fair Oaks Massage Institute Massage Therapy Institute
Location Sacramento, CA Fair Oaks, CA (19.2 miles from downtown Sacramento) Davis, CA (14.3 miles from downtown Sacramento)
School Type Private, for-profit Private, for-profit Private, for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2011) $15,396 (Massage Therapist and Health Educator),
$7,657.75 (Advanced Neuromuscular)*
$1,527-$6,431 per module (based on total hours required for each module)** $1,025 (100-hour program),
$2,400 (250-hour),
$4,950 (500-hour)***
Massage Programs Offered Core 900-Hour Massage Therapist Training Program, Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program Swedish Massage Therapist Program, Deep Tissue Massage, Massage Practitioner, Holistic Massage Therapist, Holistic Health and Massage Practitioner, Advanced Holistic Health and Massage Practitioner Massage Therapy Fundamentals, Massage Therapist 250 Hours, Massage Therapist 500 Hours
Noteworthy First massage therapy school in California to receive accreditation Specialty certifications are available for health professionals Offers monthly payment plans

Sources: *National Holistic Institute, **Fair Oaks Massage Institute, ***Massage Therapy Institute

Winner: National Holistic Institute

  • Accredited by numerous organizations, including the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training and the American Massage Therapy Association
  • Career support available to all graduates
  • Offers federal financial aid, payment plans and veterans' assistance grants

The National Holistic Institute has two distinct programs: Core 900-Hour Massage Therapist Training Program and Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program. The core program offers comprehensive training in 23 subjects, including anatomy, prominent specializations of massage and an overview of career development, which delves into the business side of becoming a massage therapist. Shiatsu, Thai massage, acupressure and Chinese medicine are some of the specializations covered in this program. This program also qualifies students for the exams to become fully certified massage therapists.

The advanced program is for massage therapists who have already completed at least 500 hours of training. It teaches 16 specialized subjects in five individual, 90-hour modules totaling 450 hours. Any one of the specific modules can be taken to gain the skills separately. Modules include shoulder and thoracic, neck and head, lumbar and pelvic, and lower and upper extremities.

Runner-Up #1: Fair Oaks Massage Institute

  • Free continuing education classes offered monthly
  • Instructors have extensive experience in bodywork and massage
  • Offers basic massage, acupressure and other courses to the general public

The programs at this institute are offered in the form of modules. The most basic module is the 130-hour Swedish massage therapist program, which covers prenatal, deep tissue and hot stone massage. Students can also find a 120-hour deep tissue program that can be added to the 130-hour program and covers chair massage, trigger point therapy and myofascial release, among others. The holistic massage therapist program requires 500 hours of instruction and combines the 120-hour and 130-hour programs with an additional 250-hour module covering acupressure, kinesiology, reflexology and other advanced concepts.

The last two programs are the 720- and 900-hour programs. These are essentially the same program, which combine the previously mentioned modules with specialty classes like guided visualizations, herbs and injury management. The 900-hour program has additional teaching requirements and elective classes. Completion of the first two modules prepares students for certification as Certified Massage Practitioners, while completion of the first three can lead to certification as a Certified Massage Therapist through the CAMTC. National certification can also be acquired after completing the first three modules.

Runner-Up #2: Massage Therapy Institute

  • Offers training in specialized massage therapy areas, such as oncology massage and sports massage
  • Class sizes range from 6-20 students
  • Offer classes on weekends and evenings in addition to daytime classes

The Massage Therapy Institute offers three main programs. The first is a 100-hour introduction to massage, which covers basic techniques and concepts, including posture, body mechanics, anatomy and hygiene. Next is a 250-hour massage therapist program that prepares students to become certified through the CAMTC. The final core program is the 500-hour program, which expands on ideas taught in the first two programs through 250 additional hours of elective courses and anatomy and pathology courses; this program also prepares students for CAMTC certification. The institute also offers continuing education courses in such areas as oncology, acupressure, neuromuscular therapy, medical and sports massage, cranial sacral balancing and Thai massage.

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