How Much Does a Massage Therapy Degree Cost?

massage therapy degree costJust like any other degree program costs, massage therapy tuition varies according to the school, location, program length, and any specialties you choose to pursue. Unfortunately, that fact isn’t much help when it comes down to budgeting for your massage therapy education. So we’ve nailed down some straight answers about how much you can really expect to pay for your massage therapy degree.

How Much is Massage Therapy Tuition?
At the low end, massage therapy tuition runs about $6 per hour; at the high end, it can cost you $17 per hour. On average, you’ll be paying $9 to $10 per hour. If you want to become a nationally certified massage therapist, you’ll need to complete at least 500 hours in a massage therapy degree program. So the average massage therapy tuition for a full program would be $5,000 – about $3,000 at the low end and $9,000 at the high end.

Be aware, though, that many states require more than 500 hours of massage therapy coursework (anywhere from 570 to 1,000 hours), which could translate into an average of $10,000 in massage therapy tuition costs. On the other hand, in the 10 states that don’t regulate massage therapy, you can enroll in a 100-hour massage therapy degree program for just $1,000. Find out your state’s massage therapy licensing requirements to determine the average massage therapy degree costs where you live.

What Are Some Hidden Massage Therapy Tuition Costs?
If your massage therapy tuition is not all-inclusive – and most are not – you’ll need to factor additional expenses into your budget. Hidden costs may include textbooks, a massage table and chair, uniforms, linens, massage oils, and oil holsters and bolsters.

Another key component of a massage therapy degree program is CPR and first aid courses and certification, which costs about $65 for first-time certificants. CPR certification must be renewed annually and first aid certification must be renewed every three years. Savings tip: Local hospitals and community colleges may offer these courses for free.  

Are There Any Massage Therapy Completion Costs?             
At the end of your massage therapy program, you’ll have to pay to take your state’s licensing exams. National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) exams, which are required for licensure in 35 of the 40 states that regulate massage therapy, cost $225.

Once you pass your certification exam, you’ll need to pay anywhere from $50 to $300 to apply for and obtain a license from your state. After that, you’ll need to take 6 to 18 continuing education units (CEUs) each year; NCBTMB-approved CEUs generally cost the same as regular degree program hours. Your state license renewal may cost anywhere from $25 to $150 per year.

More Info on Massage Therapy Financial Aid
Accredited massage therapy degree programs may seem spendy, but unlike fly-by-night courses, these programs offer the possibility of federal financial assistance. If your program is accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the Department of Education, you may be eligible for financial aid for massage therapy school, which includes federal loans, grants, and scholarships. Recognized accreditors include the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences, Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, and Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training.

Now that you have a better idea of how much a massage therapy degree costs, you can plan your finances accordingly. Happy budgeting!