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Top Massage Therapy Schools

Top Massage Therapy SchoolsClassic massage, known in the English speaking world as Swedish Massage, involves the patient laying face down on a table while the masseur performs various kneading of the back and leg muscles to facilitate a greater range of motion and treat illnesses such as arthritis, high blood pressure and stress. While it is usually performed in spas, those suffering from injury get a doctor’s recommendation to seek massage therapy.

While classic massage is the most common form of massage therapy, modern treatments can include myofascial release, the process of relaxing the fascia, a flexible, netlike membrane in the body, through deep and soft tissue massage; and Myotherapy, the process of relaxing trigger points, or taut bands of muscles; and joint therapy, the process of relaxing and stretching joints.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has also become more focused and practical spawning various forms of health care sub groups such as physical therapy, athletic massage and, to an extent, chiropractics.

The following massage therapy schools have been accredited by the The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and have been ranked according to student-to-faculty ratio based on 2010 data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Carlson College of Massage Therapy
  • European Massage Therapy School, Las Vegas
  • Sarasota School of Massage Therapy
  • Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Westport
  • Lakeside School of Massage Therapy
  • American Career College, Anaheim  
  • National Institute of Massotherapy
  • Medical Training College
  • Pima Medical Institute, Chula Vista
  • Utah College of Massage Therapy Inc., Salt Lake City
  • Academy of Massage Therapy
  • Everest College, Vancouver Massage Therapy

U.S. News & World Report released its rankings of the best vocational/technical schools in the United States in 2012. Massage therapy programs are typically found at vocational and/or technical schools. In 2012, the following schools were the best vocational and technical schools, according to U.S. News & World Report:

1.  Pennsylvania State University, University Park
2.  Ohio State University
3.  University of Georgia
4.  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
5.  Oklahoma State University

Below are some of the massage therapy focuses available from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

Classic Massage

Classic massage is applied through the fingers, palms, elbows and sometimes the feet. In general, massage therapy involves some form of rubbing the deep and soft tissue with various amounts of pressure. The pressure relaxes over worked and strained muscles which could be the result of an injury or stress.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that massage therapy can be used to treat injuries and relieve stress. Additionally, training for massage therapy tends to occur at a post-secondary institution and often requires 500 hours of hands-on experience or more before the program is completed.

Many massage therapy programs offer certificates or an associate degree. In addition to the hands on practical, massage therapy classes may also include physiology, kinesiology, business management and other health care related subjects.

According the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), 43 states currently require massage therapists to have a license and certification. The license exam is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, which provides a map of states which require licensure to practice.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports the national median salary for massage therapists of all types as $35,830 per year in May 2011. Many massage therapists also work part-time and only one in four worked full time. Because many work by appointment, their hours can vary. Employment for massage therapists is expected to grow by up to 20 percent from 2010 to 2020 as a result of an increase in spas and the increase in age of the baby boom generation (BLS.gov, 2012).

Athletic Massage

While an athletic trainer may sound as though they assist coaches with training athletes in a sport, they actually practice a form of massage therapy specialized for athletic activity. Athletic massage focuses on relaxing muscles under frequent strain or stress to prevent injury and foster growth after exercise.

However, as the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes, athletic massage is not only for releasing stress but can be used in a medical environment as well. The education required for learning the techniques often requires post-secondary health care classes in addition to massage training. Practitioners of athletic massage tend to earn a degree in athletic training, which prepares students to assess and evaluate athletic injuries as well as treat them, and be licensed in order to practice.

Classes for athletic massage may include physiology, nutrition, and anatomy as well as hands-on training. Most programs offer either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), many states require both licensure and certification for practicing athletic massage or employment as an athletic trainer. Certification is offered by the Board of Certification, Inc. and many states require the BOC certification for licensure.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also reports the national median salary for athletic trainers as $42,400 per year in May 2011 and that employment is expected to grow by up to 30 percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). Growth is expected as a result of an increasingly elderly, but active, population and better assessments of athletic injuries.

Physical Therapy

When individuals suffer from chronic injuries or require rehabilitation, massage is no longer a benefit or a luxury; it is a part of daily life. Physical therapy involves both deep and soft tissue massage but also mechanical devises used for stretching joints. Physical therapy is used to treat injuries in the spine and neck and severe sports injuries that have left patients without a full range of motion. Physical therapy, as a result, requires years of education in addition to the essentials of massage therapy.

Programs in massage therapy are often available from a bachelor’s degree up to a doctoral degree, however, according to O*Net Online, 21 percent of physical therapists surveyed felt that only a bachelor’s degree was required for employment. According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), all states require physical therapists to be licensed, and licensure generally requires a post-graduate degree. Classes may include physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, biomechanics and neuroscience, and all physical therapy programs require a bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the national median yearly salary of a physical therapist was $78,270 per year in May 2011 with most physical therapists working full-time in health practitioners or hospitals (BLS.gov, 2012). The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also reported that the profession of physical therapists is expected to see employment growth of up to 39 percent from 2010 to 2020 as a result of the aging baby boom generation and increases in medical technology that allows treatment of various injuries and illnesses.

Learn more about accredited massage therapy programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

When researching colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork provides a searchable list of approved schools providing massage therapy education. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education accredits athletic training programs and also provides a searchable list of accredited athletic training programs.

The Board of Certification, Inc. offers the standard certification examination that most states use for licensure, because BOC only certifies applications from approved institutions, it provides a list of accredited programs and home study courses which are approved for credentialing.

Sources and further reading:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation
The U.S. Department of Education
The Distance Education and Training Council
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
O*NET Online
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
Physical Therapy Examination
The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
The Board of Certification, Inc
U.S. News & World Report

Massage Therapy Schools & Colleges