Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Acupuncture and Acupressure
- Alternative and Complementary Medicine
- Homeopathic Medicine
- Movement Therapies
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Polarity Therapy
- Traditional Eastern Medicine and Herbology
- Yoga Therapy and Instructor
Naturopathy is a branch of medicine that focuses on natural and homeopathic treatments and methods. Although there are currently no schools in Virginia that offer naturopathy programs, related programs of study in massage therapy, acupuncture and oriental medicine are available at six educational institutions within the state.
Students interested in these alternative health programs might choose to earn a diploma or certificate; at least one master's degree program in acupuncture is also offered. Some schools offer alternative schedules that allow students to study part-time or in the evenings. Most focus on the hands-on development of skills. Practice sessions and other fieldwork experiences are available through some programs.
Cayce/ Reilly School of Massage
The Cayce/ Reilly School of Massage is a 2-year, private not-for-profit school located in Virginia Beach. The school offers holistic training programs in therapeutic massage with flexible class schedules. Programs are offered on a part-time or full-time basis. The school is NCBTMB approved, which means that graduates are eligible to sit for NCBTMB exams.
This school offers a 700-hour program and a 1,000-hour program in massage therapy. Both programs include instruction in anatomy and physiology, business ethics, Cayce/Reilly massage, dreams and meditation, Cayce remedies and chair massage. Students also learn advanced massage techniques in addition to taking courses in applied pathology, Asian theory, basic nutrition, hydrotherapy, Jin Shin Do, and reflexology. In the 1,000-hour massage diploma program, students can focus on areas of interest, such as herbology, iridology, Jin Shin Do, Reiki, reflexology or aromatherapy.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is a 2-year, public school that offers the Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate at the college's Rockbridge Center located in Buena Vista. Consisting of 25 credits of coursework, the program can be completed in two semesters.
The first semester curriculum includes introduction to massage, musculoskeletal structure and function, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, therapeutic massage, college success skills and the opportunity to participate in an elective internship. Program instruction in the second semester consists of classes in exercise science, Eastern-Asian bodywork, and therapeutic massage II and III.
This training program offered by this school provides students with 750 hours of training, which is required for those seeking certification through the NCBTMB.
Kings Park University
Kings Park University is a private school located in Alexandria that offers programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. This school has achieved the status of candidacy by the ACAOM. Two programs are offered by this school: the Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MSAOM) and the Asian Bodywork and Therapeutic Massage (ABTM) Certificate.
Students in the massage program complete 62 credits and 930 hours of instruction and training to prepare for the Virginia massage therapy licensing exam. The curriculum teaches students about anatomy and physiology, and various massage therapy techniques in addition to providing hands-on practicums for experience and skill development. Coursework includes reflexology, aromatherapy, Reiki, meridian theory, kinesiology, Qi Gong, Tui Na, CPR, medical ethics and professional laws.
The MSAOM consists of 158 credits of coursework and requires the completion of 2,805 hours of instruction and training, which meets Virginia's education requirements acupuncture licensure. The curriculum includes massage theory, Asian bodywork therapy, biomedical science, Asian medicine and herbology. Students complete several clinic internships and practice management sessions to acquire knowledge and develop skills by learning through observation and also through direct, hands-on experience.
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College is a 2-year, public school that offers a variety of certificate and associate's degree programs and serves more than 75,000 students at four educational centers and six campus locations, including the main campus situated in Annandale. The community college offers a Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate that can be completed in three semesters and requires the completion of between 20 to 25 credits depending on completed prerequisite coursework.
Prerequisite requirements for the certificate include five credits of coursework in human biology, health science or human anatomy and physiology as well as an introductory massage course. Upon the completion of the necessary prerequisites, students start their first semester studies and take classes in therapeutic massage, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and interpersonal communication.
During the second semester, instruction focuses on the concepts of disease, lifetime fitness and wellness, therapeutic massage II and a coordinated internship. For the final, third semester, students complete therapeutic massage III and also study entrepreneurship for the massage therapist. Students acquire hands-on experience and skill development during learning practice sessions at local health care facilities that may include hospitals, physician's offices, clinics and other similar settings.
The Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate training program offered by Northern Virginia Community College is recognized by the NCBTMB. In addition, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has approved this program.
Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College is a 2-year, public school located in Martinsville that offers a variety of academic programs at the certificate and associate's degree level to about 3,000 students annually. Program offerings include a therapeutic massage certificate program that can be completed in four semesters.
Consisting of 40 credits, the curriculum includes both general education coursework as well as program studies. Students complete classes in college composition I and II, small business management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, yoga and human biology to fulfill the necessary 15 credits for general education.
The core curriculum includes theories of massage, therapeutic massage, specialized massage therapies, concepts of disease, medical terminology and personal wellness. Students learn about the health benefits of massage, body mechanics, proper movements and techniques.
Students seeking certification should note that Patrick Henry Community College is currently listed with the NCBTMB as an assigned school.
Southside Virginia Community College
Southside Virginia Community College is a 2-year, public school that serves approximately 8,000 students at eight campus locations including the main Christanna Campus in Alberta. The school offers a training program for prospective students interested in massage therapy. The 22-credit Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate includes clinical practice applications and a student clinical experience.
Instruction focuses on teaching students about musculoskeletal structure and function, concepts of personal and community health, introduction to massage, therapeutic massage, first aid and CPR. Students learn Swedish massage techniques and aromatherapy, equipment, safety and ethics, and proper body mechanics for relaxation and full-body massage sessions. This certificate program meets the required guidelines set forth by the NCBTMB for its educational content and curriculum.
Virginia requires prospective massage therapists to complete a minimum of a 500-hour training program and pass a certification exam before applying for state licensure. Current options for massage therapy certification exams, as posted by the Virginia Board of Nursing, include passing the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), administered through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, or the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) or National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM), both administered through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). NCBTMB also offers board certification. Candidates for board certification must have completed a 750-hour massage therapy education program and 250 hours of hands-on experience.
Acupuncturists must also be licensed in Virginia. To obtain a license, one must complete an education program of at least 1,725 hours, which includes at least 1,000 hours of coursework and at least 500 hours of clinical education from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) or another approved accrediting agency.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Cayce/ Reilly School of Massage||2-year; private not-for-profit; large city|| 700-Hour Massage Diploma
1,000-Hour Massage Diploma
|Dabney S. Lancaster Community College||2-year; public; rural||Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate|| $4,350 in-state
|Kings Park University||private; large suburb|| Asian Bodywork and Therapeutic Massage Certificate,
Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
| $200 per academic credit for MSAOM**
Certificate program costs not available
|Northern Virginia Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate|| $5,138 in-state
|Patrick Henry Community College||2-year; public; distant town||Therapeutic Massage Certificate|| $4,360 in-state
|Southside Virginia Community College||2-year; public; rural||Massage Therapy Career Studies Certificate|| $4,350 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator, **School Websites