How to Pay for Massage School

How to Pay For Massage School

This is going to cost how much?

One of the biggest factors to consider in any educational venture is the cost of tuition and the payment options available.  There are 2 main ways that massage programs operate.

  • The first is a certificate.  At the culmination of the coursework (typically an amount of hours….mine is 1000, others vary) a certificate is awarded that will allow you to sit for the board exam in the state that you wish to become licensed.
  • The second is a degree.  Many community colleges and technical schools offer an associate degree in massage therapy.  At the culmination of that program, a degree is awarded in addition to the certificate of hours.

Within each of these options is a cost structure.  In the future, we’ll explore specifics costs, but safe to say at this point, from state to state, urban to rural, program to program….it varies.


So, how do you pay for it?

For me, as a non-traditional student with a solid family income, I was eligible for some financial aid, but only in the form of loans.  For others, there are multiple other federal options available.  Your school of choice can and should have a person specifically working on financial aid.

The person in this position is responsible for supporting you through the process of applying for any federal aid, which includes grant (money you don’t have to pay back) and loans (money you do need to pay back).

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA form); this is something that you can complete online, but please work with your financial aid person to make sure that you understand everything.  I’d say more, but I’m not the money and numbers person in my house….take my advice, talk to the financial aid person.

A word from The Suit: Be aware that many financial aid programs, not just those offered by the federal government, will use the information on the FAFSA.  Some have their own deadlines for filing the FAFSA – some as early as February each year.  Be sure to find out the filing deadlines as soon as possible.

Private Funds:

Other alternatives include scholarships.  It is likely that any school or program will have some type of internal scholarship funding.  This is a funding stream offered by the school itself or a benefactor of the school and is only open to students in a specific program.  For me, this was an excellent resource.

There are several other professionally affiliated agencies that can offer you scholarship opportunities as well.  These are often offered on different rotating schedules throughout the year and as funding is available.  The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is one of these.

Others include:

  • The National Association of Massage Therapists (NAMT)
  • Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP)
  • The Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations

This is only a sample and there are others that are specific to states and regions throughout the United States.

Most scholarships will have an expectation of some type of written response to a question.  They may also be based on your income; use your FAFSA information if this is the case.


The options that I have shared here are those that fit the majority.  There are still “schools” located nationwide that are not accredited or regulated and are still offering certificates for completion of a massage therapy program for licensure. Regulation of massage therapy is another article for another day….or two.

But know that if your chosen school or program is not accredited  or regulated then federal financial aid options will not be available resources for you.

Final Thoughts:

Aside from these more mainstream options, some schools and programs may and usually do have other alternatives.  In part, because massage attracts such a diverse student population, traditional financial aid may not be the most widely utilized.  Schools will sometimes offer other payments plans that can be set up on an individual basis between you and the financial aid officer or staff person.

No matter how you decide to ultimately pay for school or in reality no matter which school you choose; congratulations on making a decision to invest in yourself and your future.  But even more, congratulations on making a decision to help support others in their health and well-being!  You are on your way.  Until next time….breathe.


2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Mungunytuya says:


    I 4 years doing Yumeiho massage. I need learn more about massage therapy. My english is not so well so please explain me how to get reach right school and payment is not so high for me.

    Thank you

  2. karen puentes says:

    I’m 41 years old and I would like to do the program so I would like to know about the requirements to do that. thank you