Average Cost of Massage Therapy School

by Terry on February 3, 2011

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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra deleon December 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I was wondering if I needed to have a ged or high school diploma in order to take classes?

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Cassundra Levias May 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I am trying to find a school close to me in East,Tx. Can you help please?!

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Julie A. Akins March 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

I am looking for a school in Yakima Washington and I also would like to know where I might be able to get a grant that I don’t have to pay back or loan that I don’t have to pay until I start working. I am currently not working and my husband only brings home 466.00 a week net, we are struggling and I need to get a job asap and I have seen Online courses and was wondering if that is an option for me? Are online classes reconized in the State of WA to get your license?? What is the difference between a certificate and License?Thank You
Julie

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Cody Taylor January 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I was wondering if going to a school that offers a 7 month type of program was worth it. Do are the certifications worth the time and money. I understand that something is better then nothing at all. Yet I would like to be viewed as a serious professional.
Thank you. Cody

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amanda leonard September 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

I would love to become a massage therapist but I just don’t have that kind of money.. I live in Florida .. I was looking at a school that offered an online course but when I went to their website it had no mention of a course in massage therapy.. Am I missing something or what???

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