When considering massage therapy schools, research state licensing regulations to ensure each school is operating legally and that it is recognized under the state's massage therapist licensing regulations. Look for schools accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, such as the Commission on Message Therapy Accreditation. Accreditation status, program length and curriculum are often stipulated in state licensing regulations. Most states require completion of 500 hours of training, while some require 1,000 hours for licensing.
Some schools list a National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork code with each course, which means that the course meets minimum industry standards. However, an NCBTMB code does not necessarily mean the course meets curriculum requirements set by the state.
State requirements regarding clinical practice also vary; some require that clinical work be completed only after a set number of classroom hours. The length of time a school has been in business, former and current students' reviews of the school, the range of massage modalities in the curriculum, and the passing rate of its graduates on state and national examinations are other key considerations. Most schools post information about their instructors' qualifications, which is helpful in selecting a program consistent with a student's long-term goals.
While certification by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is not required for state licensing, it indicates training beyond that required for a massage therapy license, which may increase employment options. If certification is a goal, check to make sure a school's program meets the NCBTMB educational requirements for certification before making a final selection.