There are over 1500 massage therapy schools in the US alone. There are no rating systems or help for choosing the best massage school. What is the best massage school to some is really not good for others. So the best thing to do is to find the massage school that is best for you and your needs. In 1992, there were only 190 massage schools. The phenomenal growth in massage schools has been brought on by the demand for more massage therapists.
There are 4 basic different types of massage therapy schools:
- Career training institutions: These are schools that offer more than just massage therapy programs. They will offer things like medical record keeping, cosmetology and other programs too. Most are all accredited by the US Department of Education. Everest College is an example.
- Community /Technical Colleges: These community colleges or technical colleges that are also usually regionally accredited. They usually have other programs besides massage.
- Corporate Massage Schools: Usually large companies that offer massage therapy and spa programs. They usually have many campuses in the area or in different cities. Each campus has their own program that has to be accredited (if they are accredited). Cortiva (now Steiner Education) is one of them.
- Sole ProprietorSchools: These are individually owned and operated massage schools and various spa programs. These are also what I call the ‘mom and pop’ massage schools as they are owned by committed and usually very experienced massage professionals or those who really believe in massage. Because of the high cost of being accredited, there are only about 24% of these programs that are accredited. Many of these schools are also being bought up by larger corporate massage schools.
Each type of school has their advantages and disadvantages. Also, with the number of massage therapy schools increasing so dramatically in such a short time has also brought with it a shortage of quality teachers. Often recent graduates are asked to teach classes. There are not programs in place to help teach the teachers how to teach.
Massage Therapy Schools are in the business of getting new students to fill their classes. Since massage is such a personal business that attracts caring people, what is most important is getting a quality education and more one on one training. Hands on experience and more individualized attention can usually be given in a smaller, privately owned massage school.
You can tell from the massage therapy schools website just what their intention is. If it flashes and spins around and avoids answering the most basic questions like “How much does your program cost?” or “How much will I be able to make as a massage therapist?” or it doesn’t answer questions through email or phone calls and makes you have to go into the school for an appointment – you should use caution. They are trying to sell you on their school.
A good massage school will just lay out all of your options and information and let you sit in on classes as well as talk to graduates and students. You won’t have to be ‘sold’. You will just know in your heart if it is the right fit for you and the massage school!
You can find out more about how to research schools and decide on what school is best for you in my book – A Career in Massage – Is it for you? The truth about becoming a massage therapist. In it I have a section on what to ask potential massage schools and what to ask yourself so that you can be more aware of your own needs when it comes to choosing a massage school. You will need to know things like how many hours of training will be required for you to get your massage license, what it will be like to find a job or start your own massage business and many other things that you will be faced with in massage careers. Choosing a massage school is just the first step in becoming a massage therapist and what you get out of massage school really depends on you and what you put into massage school. Your success will depend on YOU!