Required Credentials for Massage Schools

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Whether you are starting your career in massage therapy or you want to establish a massage school, it is important to learn all the required credentials related to the massage therapy industry. The fact is, most states in the US require certifications and other relevant credentials before a massage therapist can operate a business. In today’s post, we are listing down the required credentials for establishing massage schools:


Certification is a term that describes the public announcement that a specified quality or standard has been achieved or exceeded by a certain practice. For instance, a beauty clinic could provide certifications from regulatory bodies as proof that the establishment has met the standards of said regulatory boards. The seal of approval denotes the competence of the person or the quality of the service.

Of course, the integrity and credibility of the certifying agency should be unquestionable too. If not, then the certification has no value to the public.

Professional certification involves a formal process to determine and acknowledge that a person has met the recognized standards. These standards include training, education, experience, skills, ability, and exams of knowledge. This certification process is voluntary.


Licensure is a non-voluntary process in which a government agency regulates a profession. The process grants an individual to engage in an occupation as long as said individual achieved the degree of competency required to ensure public safety, health, and welfare. Licensure is always based on the action of a legislative body. The licensing law outlaws anyone to engage in an occupation without a license.

The difference between certification and licensing is that the former is offered by a non-government agency. These agencies are typically comprised of professional associations. On the other hand, licensure is required by an individual to engage in an occupation. Without a license, a person or a business, cannot engage in a certain occupation nor operate in a specific industry, respectively.


Accreditation is a non-governmental process that evaluates agencies, institutions, and educational programs. This process is different from licensure and certification because it does not involve individual practitioners. Usually, accreditation is given to schools, universities, or specialized educational program, such as massage training. An institution can obtain accreditation by submitting a self-evaluation report, being subjected to periodic evaluation, site inspections, and assessment by an independent board or commission.

Building a Career in the Massage Therapy Industry

In the US alone, there are around 300,000 and 350,000 massage therapists. These figures include massage therapy students. The rising number of massage therapists illustrates the rapid growth of the industry. The public recognizes the importance of this profession to the health.

At the moment, there are more than 300 accredited massage therapy institutions in the United States. Most of these institutions feature multiple campuses that offer specialized training and massage therapy programs. Training programs in massage therapy require a high school diploma. It helps if an individual obtained post-secondary education. Other useful educations are previous studies in science (specifically physiology and anatomy), business, and humanities.

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