Aspiring and practicing masseuses can find massage programs and courses at many postsecondary schools, and all that is commonly required to enroll is a high school diploma or the equivalent. In most states, practicing masseuses must be licensed. Licensure can be attained by passing a state-approved program and passing a massage therapy exam.
Masseuses, or massage therapists, provide massage and body care services to clients. Most massage therapists complete a program at a postsecondary school. Massage therapists typically need to be licensed in the state they work in, though requirements vary by state.
|Required Education||Postsecondary training program|
|Other Requirements||State licensure in most states|
|Projected Job Growth*||22% between 2018 and 2028 (for all massage therapists)|
|Average Salary (2018)*||$45,880 (for massage therapists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Training Program Information for Massage Therapists
Many postsecondary schools offer training to become a massage therapist. Enrollment in a masseuse training program generally requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may take at least 500 hours to complete. A few may grant an associate's degree while most will award certificates.
Coursework for massage therapist training programs may include anatomy, physiology, orthopedic testing and business law, as well as practical training in various massage techniques. Certain programs may focus on specific therapies such as deep tissue massage, hot stone therapy, tui na or acupressure.
Career Education Information for Massage Therapists
In most states, massage therapists must be licensed. Along with completion of a state-approved program, they must pass a comprehensive massage therapy exam. The national exams are the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTEMB). States regulating massage therapy may require applicants to take either national exam or may provide their own state licensing exam.
Employers may prefer to hire massage therapists who are certified by industry associations. Individuals may seek voluntary certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). This board offers two designations, the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB). The requirements are very similar to licensing standards. Applicants must complete a program, pass a comprehensive exam and pledge to maintain a strict code of ethical practices.
Workshops and Seminars
Massage therapy programs typically sponsor workshops that may supplement traditional curriculum. These workshops may teach advanced massage therapy techniques or specialized therapies. Employers who specialize in specific therapies may also hold workshops for newly hired massage therapists to familiarize them with the preferred type of massage.
Job Outlook and Salary Information for Massage Therapists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment opportunities for massage therapists will rise 22% over the 2018-2028 decade, which is a faster rate than average. In 2018, the BLS reported a mean annual wage of $45,880 for massage therapists, with those working in Alaska, Oregon and Washington earning the highest average salaries in the field.
Masseuses, or massage therapists, provide massage and body therapy services to their clients. Two different certifications are available for professional masseuses through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Training and certification is required by most employers, who may also provide on-the-job training for newly hired masseuses.