By Lana J. Russell, RMT
The cost of massage school varies depending on location and the type of education that you plan on getting (i.e., four-year university versus a six-month private training program). Most students can expect to incur costs associated with tuition and materials, as well as room and board.
Many costs can be defrayed by student loan programs, but as these will have to be eventually repaid, so it’s best to figure them in before you decide which massage training program you can afford.
Massage School Tuition Costs
Private massage schools typically offer programs that last anywhere from three months to two years, with both full-time and part-time options. Tuition costs for these programs range from around $5,000 to $40,000 in all, depending on the quality of the school.
Some schools also provide materials like massage tables and textbooks, as well, which provides a greater investment in your education. In most cases, you’ll graduate with either a certification of completion or a diploma, and accredited programs will allow you to sit for the national license exam.
Public schools tend to offer lower costs overall, but you’ll probably be in massage training for longer. Community college programs run about two years, and require general education requirements like math, social sciences, and English. Graduates get an Associate degree upon successful completion.
Most community college tuition costs run between $3,000 and $5,000 per year, with credits that are transferable to other public colleges and four-year universities.
How to Pay for Massage School
Most massage schools – whether they are private or public – allow for financial aid options in helping students finance their education. As long as the program is accredited or recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, you should be able to fill out a Federal Student Aid Form (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for government loans and grants.
Other payment options include private student loans, which are offered depending on personal credit scores, as well as payment plans offered through the school itself. These typically allow you to pay for your tuition in small chunks throughout the year, but may be restricted in terms of flexibility.
Things to Watch Out For
Unfortunately, there are some massage training programs that are more interested in getting students’ money than in providing a quality education. Although few massage schools post their tuition and expenses online, the information should be made available to you before you commit to the course or sign any paperwork.
It’s also a good idea to look for the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). Although this doesn’t always guarantee that a school will meet all your demands, it is a safeguard against programs that may not be recognized by employers or certifying boards.
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