How Much Is Massage Therapy School? Discover the Cost of Your Education

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Are you interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy? Perhaps you’re already passionate about the benefits of therapeutic touch and want to take your skills to the next level. Whatever your reason, attending massage therapy school can be an exciting and rewarding journey.

Of course, like any educational endeavor, there are costs involved with becoming a licensed massage therapist. Tuition prices will vary based on several factors, including location, program length, and type of institution (e.g., community college, vocational school, or private academy).

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” -John Dewey

In this article, we’ll explore the typical expenses associated with massage therapy programs, as well as some ways to offset those costs through financial aid and scholarships. We’ll also discuss the potential return on investment (ROI) for massage therapists once they enter the workforce.

If you’re wondering whether massage therapy school is worth the investment, keep reading. With some careful planning and research, you may find that it’s a wise decision for your personal and professional growth.

The Average Cost of Massage Therapy School

Massage therapy is a growing field, and becoming a licensed massage therapist (LMT) requires completion of an accredited program. However, the cost of attending massage therapy school can vary widely depending on location and program length.

In general, massage therapy programs range from $6,000 to $17,000 in total tuition costs. The average cost for a 500-hour program is around $9,000. For those seeking a higher level of education, a 1,000-hour program may cost upwards of $16,000.

It’s also important to note that while many schools require textbooks and uniforms, these expenses are generally minimal compared to tuition.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Massage Therapy School

When it comes to determining the cost of massage therapy school, there are several factors at play.

  • Location: Programs located in urban areas or coastal regions tend to be more expensive than those in less densely populated areas.
  • Program Length: Longer programs typically carry heftier price tags than shorter ones.
  • Type of Institution: Private institutions often charge more in tuition than public institutions.
  • Credentials Offered: Schools offering credentials beyond basic licensure may have higher tuition rates due to increased coursework and experiential learning opportunities.

Financial Aid Options for Massage Therapy School

Fortunately, there are financial aid options available to help offset the cost of massage therapy school. These include:

  • Grants: Some state and federal governments offer grants specifically for prospective LMTs. Check with your school’s financial aid office to see if you’re eligible.
  • Scholarships: Organizations such as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) offer scholarships to individuals pursuing massage therapy education. Scholarships are often awarded based on merit or financial need.
  • Student Loans: Federal and private student loans can help cover tuition costs. However, it’s important to remember that loans must be repaid with interest.

It’s also worth noting that some employers may offer tuition reimbursement for LMTs seeking further education. Check with potential employers to see if this benefit is available.

Is Massage Therapy School Worth the Investment?

“Massage therapy represents a powerful opportunity to improve health outcomes and generate healthcare cost savings… We are experiencing high demand from consumers, insurers, physicians and hospitals for non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management.” – Samuel A. Worley, Executive Director of the American Massage Therapy Association

Despite the potentially high cost of attendance, many individuals find that massage therapy school proves to be a worthwhile investment in their future careers. As wellness professionals continue to experience increased demand, LMTs can expect job opportunities to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 21% between 2019-2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In addition, massage therapists have the flexibility to work in various settings such as spas, salons, medical offices, hotels, sports facilities, and more. Some even choose to open their own private practices and become self-employed.

While the upfront cost of attending massage therapy school may seem daunting, the ROI for a career in this field can certainly make it a lucrative and fulfilling path for many aspiring healers.

Understanding the Different Types of Massage Therapy Programs

Certificate Programs

In terms of cost, certificate programs tend to be the most affordable option for prospective massage therapists. According to, a typical certificate program can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 depending on the length of the program and factors such as location and materials.

Certificate programs offer basic training in massage therapy techniques and typically last for six months to one year. They are designed to give students the knowledge and skills needed to enter the field and start practicing as soon as possible.

One thing to keep in mind is that some states require additional licensing or certification beyond what is included in a standard certificate program. For example, New York State requires massage therapists to complete 1,000 hours of supervised coursework and pass an exam before they can become licensed. Before enrolling in a certificate program, it’s important to research the requirements for your state to make sure you’re getting the education you need.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs are another option for those interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy. These programs generally take 18 to 24 months to complete and provide more in-depth training than certificate programs. They cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, pathology, kinesiology, ethics, and business practices in addition to massage techniques.

The cost of diploma programs varies widely depending on the school and location. As with certificate programs, reports that tuition for a diploma program can range from around $6,000 up to $30,000 or more. However, many diploma programs qualify for financial aid or scholarships, which can help offset the cost.

Like certificate programs, diploma programs do not necessarily fulfill all of the requirements for licensing or certification in a given state. However, they may provide a strong foundation upon which to build additional education and experience.

Degree Programs

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education in massage therapy, degree programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs offer a more comprehensive education including general education courses in addition to massage-specific coursework.

The cost of degree programs varies widely depending on factors such as school, location, and degree level. reports that tuition for an associate’s degree in massage therapy generally ranges from around $8,000 to $30,000, while tuition for a bachelor’s degree may be upwards of $60,000.

In some cases, earning a degree in massage therapy can lead to career opportunities beyond just practicing as a therapist. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree, for example, may be qualified for jobs in research, education, or healthcare management.

“It is important to note that while the overall costs of each program vary greatly based upon these factors, most students find that enrolling in one of the top schools for massage therapy pays off in the long run.” -The Massage Therapist Development Centre

When considering how much massage therapy school costs, it’s important to weigh the benefits of different types of programs against your own financial situation and career goals. Certificate programs may be the most affordable option, but they may not provide enough training for licensure in your state. Diploma programs offer deeper education but may be more expensive. Degree programs can lead to broader career options but come with a higher price tag.

No matter which type of program you choose, investing in quality education and training is crucial to success in the field of massage therapy.

Financial Aid Options for Massage Therapy Students

If you are interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy, you may wonder how much massage therapy school will cost. The cost of tuition and other expenses can vary widely depending on the program you choose and your location. However, financial aid options are available to help make your education more affordable.

Federal Student Aid

The U.S. Department of Education offers federal student aid programs that can help eligible students pay for college or career school. These programs include grants, work-study opportunities, and loans. To qualify for federal student aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Grants are funds that do not need to be repaid. For example, the Pell Grant is a federal grant for undergraduate students who demonstrate significant financial need. Another option is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), which provides additional assistance to students with exceptional need.

Work-Study Programs allow students to earn money while enrolled in school by working part-time jobs either on campus or off-campus at approved locations related to their field of study. You’ll typically earn hourly pay at least equal to the current federal minimum wage.

Student Loans are also available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. While these loans do require repayment (with interest), they offer low fixed-interest rates and flexible repayment plans to help ease the burden of debt after graduation.


In addition to federal aid, scholarships are another option to look into when considering how to finance your massage therapy education. Unlike loans, scholarships are a form of gift aid that does not require repayment. Some popular scholarship opportunities for massage therapy students include:

  • American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Scholarship
  • Massage Envy Scholarship Program
  • N.C.T.M.B. (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) Scholarship Fund

Scholarships are typically awarded based on merit or need-based criteria. To apply, you’ll generally need to complete an application and provide transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.


In addition to federal grants, massage therapy students may be eligible for state and local grants as well. These grants can vary by location but can provide significant financial assistance to those who qualify. For example, the Oregon Opportunity Grant is a need-based grant available to Oregon residents attending eligible institutions within the state.

You can research specific grants available in your area using resources like the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. This site allows you to search for scholarships, grants, and other forms of aid specific to your field of study and geographic area.

Work-Study Programs

We mentioned work-study programs earlier, but it’s worth mentioning that many massage therapy schools have their own work-study programs as well. Like federally funded work-study programs, these positions allow you to earn money while gaining valuable experience related to your field of study.

The requirements to participate in these programs vary among institutions. However, they generally require good academic standing, as well as a certain level of professionalism and dedication to the program.

“Investing in yourself always pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin

If you’re passionate about pursuing a career in massage therapy but concerned about the cost, remember that financial aid options are available to help make your education more affordable. Whether through student loans, grants, scholarships, or work-study programs—do your research and see which options could help make your career goals a reality.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Massage Therapy School

Location of the School

The location of a massage therapy school can greatly affect how much tuition will cost. Schools located in large cities or affluent areas may charge more due to higher costs of living and overhead expenses. On the other hand, schools located in rural areas or smaller towns may have lower expenses and be able to offer lower tuition rates.

“It’s no secret that the cost of living is higher in some parts of the country than in others, and this applies to tuition as well.” -David Bakke, Money Crashers

Type of Program

Massage therapy programs come in various formats such as certificate programs, diploma programs, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. The level of education you pursue can impact the cost of your education. Certificate programs generally cost less than a degree program but may provide fewer employment opportunities while a bachelor’s degree in massage therapy would likely cost significantly more.

“The type of program you choose can affect the overall cost, as shorter-term certificate programs are often cheaper than longer associate or Bachelor’s Degree options.” -Best Colleges

Institution Type

The type of institution offering a massage therapy program can also play a role in determining its cost. Private institutions typically charge higher tuition rates compared to public schools because they rely on tuition payments rather than funding from state governments.

“On the average, private colleges were among the most expensive at $47,9%6. Public four-year colleges charged an average of $20,090 for out-of-state students and $8,893 for in-state students. In contrast, community colleges had the lowest tuition costs; their average in-district tuition and fees were $3,730.” -The College Board

Duration of the Program

The length of time required to complete a massage therapy program can impact tuition costs as well. Programs that are longer in duration and require more coursework may cost more than shorter programs. Additionally, students who take longer to complete their program may have additional expenses such as housing or transportation.

“There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to comparing massage therapy programs with different lengths and structures. In general, certificate programs will have fewer credit hours (and thus lower overall costs) than associate degree programs.” -Massage Magazine

Is Massage Therapy School Worth the Investment?

If you are considering a career in massage therapy, one of the first questions you may have is whether or not getting an education in this field is worth it. Here is some information that may help you make your decision.

Career Opportunities in Massage Therapy

The demand for massage therapists continues to grow as more people realize the benefits of massage for stress reduction and overall health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this field is expected to increase by 21% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As a result, there should be plenty of job opportunities available for those who complete their massage therapy training.

Potential Earnings in Massage Therapy

While compensation can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and type of employer, the median annual wage for massage therapists was $43,620 as of May 2019, according to the BLS. However, it is important to note that many massage therapists work part-time or supplement their income with other jobs, which can affect their earnings.

Job Satisfaction in Massage Therapy

A survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association found that 96% of massage therapists were satisfied with their careers. Many practitioners enjoy the freedom of being self-employed and setting their own schedules. They also appreciate the opportunity to help others feel better both physically and mentally through the power of touch. This sense of fulfillment can lead to high levels of job satisfaction.

“Massage therapists get to form personal connections with clients and provide healing and relaxation.” -San Diego Union-Tribune

If you are passionate about helping people and interested in pursuing a career in massage therapy, investing in your education can be well worth it. You have the potential to enjoy a fulfilling career with plenty of job opportunities and the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in people’s lives.

Tips for Finding Affordable Massage Therapy Schools

Research Different Schools

If you are interested in becoming a licensed massage therapist, it’s important to research different schools that offer massage therapy programs. Each school will have its own curriculum, tuition costs, and requirements for admission. By doing your research, you can find a school that fits your budget and offers the education you need to become a successful therapist.

One way to start your search is by looking online for massage therapy schools in your area or nearby cities. You can read reviews from current and former students to get an idea of their experiences and the quality of education they received.

Another option is to attend informational sessions held by local massage therapy schools. These sessions allow you to meet instructors and ask questions about the program, admissions requirements, and financial assistance options.

Consider Online Programs

Many massage therapy schools now offer online programs that allow students to complete coursework and training remotely. This can be a great option if you are working full-time or have other commitments that make attending classes in person difficult.

Online massage therapy programs provide the same level of education as traditional programs, but offer greater flexibility and convenience. Some schools may require on-campus visits for hands-on training, so be sure to check the requirements before enrolling.

Look for Scholarships and Grants

Massage therapy school can be expensive, but there are ways to offset the cost. One option is to look for scholarships and grants that can help cover tuition expenses.

You can start your search by contacting massage therapy associations or organizations that support student education. Many of these groups offer scholarship opportunities for aspiring therapists. For example, the American Massage Therapy Association Foundation awards annual scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 for students enrolled in accredited massage therapy programs.

In addition to scholarships, you may also be eligible for federal or state grants. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in applying for government financial aid programs like the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

If you are a military veteran or on active duty, there may be additional financial assistance options available through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” -John Dewey

Investing in your education as a massage therapist can open doors to a rewarding career helping others improve their physical and mental well-being. By researching different schools, considering online programs, and looking for financial assistance opportunities, you can find an affordable massage therapy school that meets your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of massage therapy school?

The average cost of massage therapy school ranges from $6,000 to $10,000. However, the cost may vary depending on the type of program, location, and length of the program. Community colleges and vocational schools offer more affordable programs, while private institutions tend to have higher tuition fees.

Does the cost of massage therapy school vary by location?

Yes, the cost of massage therapy school can vary by location. Tuition fees are generally higher in urban areas compared to rural areas. Additionally, tuition fees may vary depending on the type of massage therapy program and the level of education, such as certificate or associate degree programs.

Are there any financial aid options available for massage therapy school?

Yes, there are various financial aid options available for massage therapy school. Students can apply for federal grants, scholarships, and loans. Additionally, some schools may offer in-house financing or payment plans to help students finance their education. It is recommended to research and apply for financial aid options as early as possible.

How long does it take to complete massage therapy school?

The length of massage therapy school programs can vary depending on the type of program. Certificate programs typically take 6 to 12 months to complete, while associate degree programs can take 2 years. Some schools may offer accelerated programs that can be completed in less time. It is important to research and choose a program that meets your career goals and schedule.

What are the job prospects for graduates of massage therapy school, and how much can they expect to earn?

Graduates of massage therapy school have good job prospects, with employment projected to grow 21% from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage for massage therapists was $42,820 in May 2020, with the top 10% earning more than $80,630. Salary varies depending on factors such as location, experience, and type of employer.

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