Best Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

Since choosing the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we’ve compiled a ranking of the best massage therapy schools in Pennsylvania to help you make that decision.

Pennsylvania has high hopes for both massage therapy schools and students. After some time between training and licensure, future massage therapists will take the licensure exam.

The Pennsylvania State Board recognizes the importance of this test. Pennsylvania schools must provide prospective students with information about how their students did on the test in the previous two years.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania?

There are dozens of massage therapy schools in Pennsylvania, from the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to smaller cities and towns. The number of these colleges continues to grow.

There are approximately five schools within a 25-mile radius of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that offer massage therapy programs, and all but one are for-profit institutions.

The only public school on the list is a large community college with programs for massage therapists that range from a short-term certificate to an associate degree.

Students can choose a private school or a regionally accredited institution. They receive diplomas or certificates. Neither work experience nor on-the-job training is required, and there are no massage therapy apprenticeships in Pennsylvania.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In Pennsylvania?

Lackawanna College offers some of the most affordable certificate courses in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Tuition for the massage therapy program is $7,500 and includes a massage table, books, licensing exam fee, American Heart Association CPR certification, massage therapy training subscription, and clinical practicum.

The physical exam, background check, state license fee and scrub are an additional $215.

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What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania?

Accredited massage therapy programs at Pennsylvania institutions of higher education include at least 600 hours of coursework. A minimum of 175 hours must cover anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology.

Another 250 hours or more are devoted to the assessment, theory and practice of massage therapy. This includes safety, sanitation and hygiene.

In addition, students must complete 25 hours in massage ethics, business and law; and learn about HIV and its risks. They receive CPR training from the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or another board-approved organization.

Online learning is not acceptable. Work experience and other practical experience do not qualify for program credits.

Because massage therapists are considered mandatory reporters in Pennsylvania, they are expected to complete three hours of child abuse identification and reporting training from the state Department of Human Services.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania State Board of Massage regulates massage colleges in the state. Practical experience in a student clinic is usually a component of the training program at these Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania listed below.

1.     Lackawanna College

Here, massage therapy students attend classes at the school’s Lake Region Center or Sunberry Center in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Graduates receive certificates upon successful completion of 720 hours of training, which includes 96 hours of clinical practice at The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Classes include anatomy and physiology, pathology, related techniques, massage theory, massage research, kinesiology, therapeutic and medical massage, hydrotherapy and sports massage, Swedish massage, and business ethics and law.

Tuition, fees, and other expenses are less than $7,500. There is financial assistance.


2.     Butler County Community College

Butler, located in the community of the same name, offers a certificate program. The required 32 credit hours take one year to complete.

Students take initial, intermediate and advanced classes in therapeutic massage, theory, technique and practice. Additional courses: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Business Mathematics, Microcomputers, College, Technical Writing, and Intermediate Algebra.

About 80 percent of students receive scholarships to pay for their education, and about three-quarters of them graduate debt-free. The school has academic and career advisors, as well as tutors. Advanced training is available for practicing massage therapists.


3.     Pittsburgh Technical College

The “Therapeutic Massage Therapist” program at this school issues certificates to its graduates. The faculty includes teachers who have worked in their specialty.

The school boasts a massage lab with private cubicles, massage tables and chairs, and spa facilities.

Classes offered in four quarters include Kinesiology, Swedish Massage, Spa Modalities, Steps to Career Success, Medical Massage, Anatomy and Physiology, Pregnancy and Infant Massage.

They also include Deep Tissue Massage, Career Development, Clinical Massage, business ethics, and diseases and diagnostic procedures. Students also complete an internship at a local resort, spa or other facility.


4.     Pittsburgh Career Institute

Students can graduate from this school’s massage therapy program in 10 months or sooner. The curriculum includes lecture, didactic and clinical programs.

After completing coursework, students participate in an externship in a real-world environment that gives them hands-on training.

Classes include Medical Terminology, Pathology, Neuromuscular Therapy, Kinesiology and Joint Movement, Muscle Anatomy, Anatomy and Physiology, Sports Massage, Hydrotherapy and Spa Mods.


5.     Great Lakes Institute of Technology

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, GLIT offers a 10-month diploma program that offers “hands-on experience in a clinical setting.”

Training covers Swedish Massage, Sports Massage, Shiatsu, Neuromuscular Techniques and Special Needs Massage. Students also gain the business skills necessary for independent practices.

In addition to four classes in massage techniques and two in clinical massage therapy, coursework includes career success strategies, basic medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, myology, pathology, and professional massage practice.

Nine local employers (eight in Pennsylvania and one in New York) have recently hired GLIT graduates to work in salons, spas, hospitals and chiropractic clinics.


6.     Platt College-McCann-Allentown

The massage therapy degree program at this school consists of five semesters that require eight months. Education takes place not only in classrooms, but also in computer, medical and surgical laboratories.

Coursework focuses on Swedish massage, therapeutic massage, anatomy and physiology, and kinesiology.

Other classes include massage therapy theory; Somatic psychology; Massage pathology; law, business and ethics; Hydrotherapy and aromatherapy; and special population groups.

The school provides career assistance in resume writing, interviews and portfolio creation. There are workshops and externships. Graduates can return for continuing education courses that keep them up-to-date on industry trends and technologies.


7.     Platt College-Berks Technical Institute

Located in Wyomissing, near Philadelphia, Berks teaches students the theory and practice of massage therapy, as well as anatomy and business skills.

Students also attend classes in Swedish massage, therapeutic massage for special populations, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy.

The diploma program provides an externship at the end of the course work. The school also has its own clinical facility where students receive hands-on training alongside classmates and licensed massage therapists.


8. Mercyhurst University Northeast Campus

The massage therapy program at this two-year school in Northeastern Pennsylvania provides professional certifications to its graduates.

Courses include Swedish Massage, Oriental and Body Massage, Massage for Special Populations, Pathology, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Business Law and Ethics.

In addition, students participate in three clinical rotations to gain practical experience. Participation in the seminar is another requirement of the program.


9.     Northampton County Community College

Massage therapy students attend classes and undergo laboratory training at NCACC’s Bethlehem campus, which bills itself as “one of Pennsylvania’s most affordable colleges.”

The one-year certificate program consists of 23 credits of general education plus 13 credits of massage therapy instruction.

Students learn how to “develop therapeutic treatment plans and apply appropriate massage techniques with an emphasis on whole-body healing.”

Classes include College Success, Introduction to Computers, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Communication, and Massage Procedures.


10.  Allegheny County Community College

There are two options for massage therapy students. A minimum of 60 credit hours is required to earn an associate degree.

Coursework includes medical terminology, human biology, massage therapy principles and procedures, psychology, computer information technology, musculoskeletal palpation, massage therapy, pathology, massage therapy methods and business Mathematics.

The certificate program requires a minimum of 19 credit hours. Classes include: Basics of Emergency Care, First Aid and Sports Injuries, Special Topics in Physical Therapy, Principles and Procedures of Massage Therapy, Musculoskeletal Palpation Massage Therapy, and Introduction to Physical Therapy.


How Much Do Massage Therapists In Pennsylvania Earn?

Some therapists can make a full-time income working part-time if they have specialties that are in demand. The annual median salary for licensed massage therapists in Pennsylvania ranges from $17,200 to $90,380.

The annual average salary is $43,160 excluding tips. The York-Hanover metropolitan area also ranks third in the nation for the highest salary for a massage therapist, with an average annual salary of $76,930, according to the BLS.

If this career and its potential sounds interesting, consider one of Pennsylvania’s many massage therapy schools to get started!

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In Pennsylvania?

To obtain a massage therapy license in Pennsylvania, you must first complete training at an accredited facility.

The Pennsylvania Board of Massage requires certification from the NCETMB/NCETM, better known as the National Certification Board for Massage Therapy and Bodywork. To practice legally, you must obtain either the NESL or the MBLEx.

Consider joining the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Massage Therapist Association after you receive your license.

This will allow you to network with other massage professionals in Pennsylvania and will also provide you with opportunities for continuing education in which you may participate.

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Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the 12 states with the most massage therapists. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in this industry to grow from 3,700 positions in 2016 to 4,540 in 2026 (about 500 new opportunities each year). That would be 22 percent job growth, less than the projected national rate of 26 percent.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Licensed Massage Therapist

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company – Massage Therapist Apprent.

Four Seasons – Philadelphia, PA – Massage Therapist – Spa

SandCille Spa & Treatment Studio – Erie, PA – Massage Therapist

Lehigh Valley Health Network – Allentown, PA – Massage Therapist

Willow Valley Communities – Willow Street, PA – Massage Therapist

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Farmington, PA – Massage Therapist

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company – Hershey – Massage Technician

Massage Therapy Schools In Pennsylvania FAQs

What Is The Requirement For Message Therapy License In Pennsylvania?

Upon successful completion of the educational component, students must take the MBLEx, NCETMB, or NESL exams. They are then licensed as massage therapists in the state of Pennsylvania. Additional training and specialization may occur as your career progresses, and practitioners must attend continuing education courses to maintain their license in this state.

How Do I Renew My Message Therapy License In Pennsylvania?

Cosmetology licenses in Pennsylvania are renewed every 2 years. Practitioner licenses are $67 to renew, and cosmetology instructor licenses are $105. You will need to complete 24 hours of continuing education before you can renew your license.

Are Massage Therapists In Demand In Pennsylvania?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy is one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in the country, with a projected 22% increase through 2026. Licensed massage therapists work at many luxury resorts and spas, as well as with chiropractors, physical therapists, and doctors.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Massage Therapist In Pennsylvania?

The student will need at least 600 hours of higher education and training. A minimum of 175 hours will be in the combined areas of anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and pathology. HIV must be provided.


Massage therapy schools in Pennsylvania can help you start your career as a massage therapist. Training as a massage therapist is a great opportunity to work in a variety of settings. Hospitals, sports facilities, and physical therapy offices are just a few examples of places where Pennsylvania massage school graduates are hired.

Once you’ve trained through one of Pennsylvania’s programs, you can be ready to help your clients relax and regain their vitality.



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