Can I Earn a Master’s Degree in Massage Therapy

Masters Degree in Massage Therapy

Most people choose to go to massage school because it doesn’t follow the traditional education path. Although students can and do attend four-year colleges with a massage therapy degree in mind, most prefer the shorter learning period (one to two years) and the career-focused training that comes from attending a vocational or holistic health school.

The emphasis is less on book training and more on hands-on skills—both of which tend to stray from the Master’s degree path. Of course, that doesn’t mean advanced degrees in massage therapy don’t exist. If you’re interested in pursing this path, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Get a Bachelor’s Degree: In order to qualify for a Master’s degree program, you’ll first need to get a four-year degree from an accredited organization. Because massage therapy isn’t common at either of these levels, you’ll most likely have to seek out a naturalistic college or medical school.

In the case of the former, the degree might not be recognized outside of massage and holistic health circles, though, so be sure you’re on the path you want to remain on for the duration of your career. For medical schools, you might have to include other training components with massage; for example, you might need a physical therapy or nursing degree and simply specialize in massage or related fields.

Apply for the School: Because Master’s degrees in massage are rare and only offered in a few locations, competition can be stiff (and the cost can be rather high, as well). Know what training and experience you need in order to apply and meet all the qualifications. In many cases, this might include increasing your knowledge of Western massage to include several Eastern modalities.

Prepare to Fight for Your Profession: In the medical community, massage therapy still isn’t 100 percent understood or accepted. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable health alternative; it simply means that Western medicine isn’t yet prepared to acknowledge it as such. So even with your Master’s degree firmly in place, you might still encounter obstacles from medical licensing boards or even your professional peers.

In any profession, the more advanced your education, the greater your professional opportunities. Massage therapy is no different. With a Master’s degree, you might be able to teach, start your own massage school, or travel the world learning new modalities.