How Much Does Massage School Cost?

Costs main cover image
$ Low: $4,000-$6,000 $ $ High: $10,000-$25,000+

Massage therapists are employed in clinical settings like hospitals and retail settings such as spas, providing plenty of bodywork treatments for relaxation and assistance in recovering from injury.

The massage therapists often travel to the offices and homes of their clients.

There are more than 80 different types of massage specialities, and in general, the massage therapists develop skills in more than one area of massage.

To work as a massage therapist, people should possess formal training, and state-issued licenses are typically required.

Typical Costs

As many as 1,500 schools are providing massage therapy training programs in the U.S., where the costs of these schools vary significantly and start from $4,000 to $6,000 and reach as high as $10,000 to $25,000 or more.

Popular Programs

There are public and private programs, and the private programs are not more costly than the programs offered at community colleges.

However, some private programs can be quite expensive, as the AKS Massage School in Virginia which offers 650 hours of training for $10,000, and The Massage School in East Hampton, MA, providing an 800-hour program for $3,600-$5,600.

The cost of community colleges varies based on the program offered.

For example, the Aloha Massage School in Maui provides a one-year program for $4,300 for in-state students.

The Community College of Vermont requests $13,000 for a two-year associate’s degree program in massage therapy for in-state students and $26,000 for out-of-state students.

At the same time, the book costs for massage programs which students usually pay at community colleges, are several hundred dollars per semester.

What Is Included

  • The massage programs usually require classroom training, including courses in anatomy and physiology, where students typically learn about the circulation, muscular and skeletal system, followed by massage work on clients.
  • The students learn basic skills like draping patients for privacy and sanitary techniques in their first classes to be ready when they begin to work with clients.
  • However, before working on private clients, students usually practice the skills they learn in class on family members, volunteers and community members.
  • Further, there are courses on massage theory; such as learning the difference behind Thai and Swedish massage.
  • The students practice the development of treatment plans, keeping patient notes, and learning professional ethics and conflict resolution.
  • The various types of massage techniques are taught in most programs, including the Swedish massage, the Asian bodywork, and massage for special populations, such as the elderly.

Additional Costs

  • The license costs typically vary by state and are around $100.
  • Annual or biannual renewals are needed; for example, in Texas, the initial license costs $117 and a biannual renewal $106, while in Georgia it’s $125 for the initial license and $85 for a biannual renewal.
  • Most states make the massage therapists pass an exam, such as the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work’s exam for about $200.
  • Some cities or counties regulate massage in addition to, or instead of, the state.
  • One can check the county and city licensing boards for fees.
  • The optional materials, including the massage table, can cost up to $1,100.


  • Certain schools, including the Atlanta School of Massage, provide financial aid such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, and further offer tuition assistance.
  • Other schools provide scholarships and payment plans, such as Lauterstein-Conway Massage School.
  • One should check the individual schools to see which financial aid programs they participate in, and most have financial aid offices.

Shopping For Massage School

  • The Massage Register provides links to licensing requirements by state and links to state licensing boards.
  • The training programs usually allow students to meet the licensing requirements for the state.
  • The admissions office need to be able to provide information on how many of the school’s graduates pass the exam.
  • The prospective students ask admissions officers about job placement rates for graduates.
  • All accredited schools are presented at the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Leave a Comment