Best Massage Therapy Schools in Virginia | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

Massage therapy schools in Virginia teach more than just the technical components of massage. They also teach students to dedicate themselves to the practice of massage as a service to others.

You can choose massage schools in Virginia that can teach you everything from Swedish and deep tissue massage to sports and prenatal massage.

Massage schools in Virginia can prepare you for certification by the National Board of Certification in Massage Therapy and Bodywork.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In Virginia?

There are 18 massage therapy schools in Virginia. They range from public universities and community colleges to private institutes and academies. MT programs are available throughout the state, in large cities and small towns.

Many schools offer certificates that take a year or less to complete. Some offer associate degrees that take anywhere from 15 months to two years. Curricula include classroom lectures, laboratory sessions, and real-world clinical experiences.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In Virginia?

The cost of attending a Northern Virginia School of Massage Therapy ranges from $8,000 to $13,000 depending on qualifications, with an average cost of $10,000.

This school offers training in 5 qualifications, among which the most verified qualifications are Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Massage Therapist and CMT.

The time to complete this educational training ranges from 3.3 months to 9 months depending on the qualification, with an average completion time of 6 months.

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What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In Virginia?

A high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in massage therapy training programs. Some college training in science, psychology, and business is helpful but not required for admission.

The state of Virginia requires prospective massage therapists to complete at least 500 hours of massage therapy training at an accredited school.

Students must then take the NCETMB or MBLEx exam to demonstrate understanding of the school’s massage therapy program.

This profession is licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Licensure in Virginia allows a practitioner to enter the field of massage therapy at the entry level in the state.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Virginia?

1.      Columbia College

Located in Fairfax, this small private school offers three massage therapy programs at its Centerville and Silver Spring campuses.

Students earn certificates in 30 weeks by completing a 600-hour, 67-credit curriculum. Another certificate is available in Asian Bodywork. The associate degree program takes 70 weeks.

Ninety-one credits cover standard coursework as well as classes in Pregnancy/Special Population Massage, Myofascial Relaxation, Sports Massage, and Lymphatic Drainage Massage.

Students participate in a 100-hour practicum, work in an on-campus clinic, take field trips, and listen to guest speakers.

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2.      Fortis College-Norfolk

This for-profit network of professional colleges and institutes consists of 40 schools in 15 states. The Richmond and Norfolk campuses are among those offering certificates in massage therapy.

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The 720-hour curriculum includes 36 weeks of study. Classes start in April, May, July, August, October and November. There is training in the methods of Swedish, deep tissue, sports and orthopedic massage; as well as SPA techniques.

In the on-campus clinic, students perform massage techniques and other types of therapy. They also learn about clinic management. The school provides career services and professional development courses.

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3.      Eastern Virginia Career College

Originally a Health and Beauty Academy, this private school in Fredericksburg later expanded into additional career fields. The MT certificate program is part of the Wellness & Beauty department.

The 750-hour curriculum includes 363 hours of lectures, 252 hours of laboratory work, and 135 hours of clinical work.

In addition to the regular courses, there are modules on hydrology and the neuromuscular system, special populations, lymphatics and prenatal, hot stones and reflexology, sports massage and oriental techniques.

Students spend 90 hours receiving massages and other techniques at The Spa at Eastern, an on-campus clinic. About 85 percent of graduates pass the licensing exam on the first try.

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4.      Dabney S Lancaster Community College

This public school offers a nine-month MT certificate program consisting of 750 hours and 25 credits.

Students enroll for two semesters, either fall and spring, or spring and summer. They attend classes at either the Rockbridge Center in Buena Vista or the Roanoke Center for Higher Education.

Curriculum includes Introduction to Massage Therapy, Musculoskeletal Structure/Function, CPR, College Success Skills, East Asian Bodywork, Exercise, and three Massage Therapy classes.

Students also undergo practice. Prerequisites for admission to the program are 100 hours of anatomy and physiology and 200 hours of massage theory and application.

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5.      Cayce/Reilly School of Massage

Founded in 1987, this Virginia Beach school “provides tools for holistic health, spiritual growth and personal empowerment.”

The 720-hour certificate program, which takes only eight months, includes common standard courses.

There are also Mind/Body/Spirit classes; massage research; Nutrition, health and well-being; Introduction to Asian Theory; Business development; hydropathy; and reflexology.

Students learn clinical massage, chair massage, trigger point and sports massage techniques.

The educational program includes at least 200 hours of Swedish massage, reflexology and other procedures for the public in the student clinic; and two clinical workshops with a total duration of 55 hours.

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6.      Centura College-Virginia Beach

Students attending massage therapy programs here attend classes in Chesapeake or Virginia Beach. Both campuses offer a 945-hour, 24-credit certificate program including general education classes.

The eight-month curriculum consists of core coursework plus myology, clinical massage and success in college and the workplace. Chesapeake’s 1,080-hour, 60-credit professional science program takes 15 months to complete.

The curriculum includes the same courses as the certificate program, plus shiatsu, nutrition, critical thinking, and other classes. Students study pregnancy, sports, myofascial and deep massage. Enrolled in each program get practical experience in the student clinic.

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7.      Sylvain Melloul International Hair Academy

This small private school is located in the River Ridge Shopping Center in Lynchburg. In 2018, the company launched a massage therapy certification program.

The six-month curriculum consists of 900 hours of full-time study. There are daytime and evening schedules.

In addition to the typical courses, there are classes in Swedish Massage, Hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Sports/Specialty Massage, Acupuncture, Hot Stone Therapy, Somatic Psychology, Spa Therapy, and History and Career Opportunities.

Students learn to communicate with clients and healthcare professionals. They spend 120 hours in clinical settings, including the school’s “full-service salon.” Sylvain has a 100 percent acceptance rate, although program slots are limited.

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8.      Chester Vocational College

This small vocational school in the town of the same name offers a one-year, 64-credit MT certificate program.

Core courses include health care and health science, clinical care and pharmacology, mother and child, psychology and career development. The curriculum includes general education classes in English, literature, mathematics, and computers.

There is instruction in Shiatsu, Thai massage, Chinese medicine, trigger therapy, myofascial release, Rolfing, and sports massage.

The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, better than the average for Virginia colleges. Students practice their skills for 100 hours at the school’s day spa and complete two externships.

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9.      John Tyler Community College

This school is located in Chester, but MT students attend classes at a six-building campus in the Richmond suburb of Midlothian. Advisory committees of local business leaders guide all JTCC technical programs.

The three-semester MT career training curriculum takes less than a year to complete. Students must complete at least 18 credits.

They take standard courses as well as structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, business skills for the healthcare professional, nutrition, cardiovascular care and principles of psychology.

The classes teach the techniques of Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone, prenatal massage, and infant massage. The program includes hands-on experience in on-campus labs and internships.

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10. ECPI University

A private school with 19 campuses in Virginia and the Carolinas, East Coast Polytechnic Institute was formerly known as ECPI College of Technology. MT students attend classes in Richmond and Newport News.

The certificate program provides 645 contact hours during 10 months of full-time study. There are daytime and evening class schedules.

Students take regular core courses and study medical and specialty massage techniques. There is a career orientation class, the school provides employment services.

Program participants get practical experience in the student clinic and during internship. Classes start every five weeks.

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How Much Do Massage Therapists In Virginia Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for massage therapists in Virginia is $41,490. State salaries range from $22,460 to $68,260 excluding tips.

Many massage therapists specialize in one or more massage techniques, allowing them to increase their earning potential. Massage therapists even carry their equipment into shopping centers and businesses, and offer on-site massages to employees and busy shoppers.

This flexibility of hours and practice locations is one of the main attractions of a massage therapy career. If you think this career might interest you, check out massage therapy schools in Virginia.

Most massage therapists find work in spas, salons, resorts, hospitals, wellness practices, gyms, sports facilities, and clubs, as well as in private or group massage practices.

They can also work for themselves as solo practitioners, providing massage therapy in their own home or office, or in the homes of their clients. Some massage therapists visit businesses and provide chair massages at the workplace.

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In Virginia?

To become a massage therapist in Virginia, you must attend an accredited post-secondary school that is licensed by the Virginia State Board of Higher Education. The MT program must consist of at least 500 hours.

National standards require programs to include courses in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology. There are usually classes in business, law and ethics, and hygiene. Students study a variety of massage techniques and other therapeutic methods.

Upon graduation, the prospective practitioner must pass the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), administered by the Federation of State Boards of Massage Therapy.

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The organization has an online registration process that involves a fee of about $200. Students take the exam at a Pearson VUE testing center in the state. The company reports the results to the State Council.

Practitioners will be required to renew their licenses each year, which involves receiving 24 hours of continuing education. This should include at least 1 hour of professional ethics.

Massage therapists recognized by the National Board for Massage Therapy and Bodywork Certification are exempt from the CE mandate.

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Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs in Virginia

Analysts have predicted a 26.6% growth in massage therapist employment in Virginia between 2014 and 2024. If so, 1,130 more massage therapists will appear on the scene!

Sentara Healthcare – Woodbridge – Massage Therapist – Certified

Riverside Wellness Center – Gloucester – Massage Therapist

UVA Medical Center – Waynesboro – Massage Therapist

Fashion Forward Salon – Haymarket, VA – Massage Therapist

University of Richmond – Richmond – Massage Therapist

Massanutten Resort – McGaheysville – Massage Therapist PT

Great Eastern Resort Management, Inc. – McGaheysville, VA – Massage Therapist FT

Massage Therapy Schools In Virginia FAQs

Are Massage Therapists In Demand In Virginia?

From Richmond to Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a hot and growing market for massage therapists. Massage services are in demand in spas, salons, hotels, hospitals, physiotherapy offices and health centers, as well as in the private sector.

What Can I Learn In Massage Therapy Schools In Virginia?

Common techniques taught include medical massage, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, shiatsu, myofascial massage, and pregnancy massage.

What Is The Requirement For Massage Therapy License In Virginia?

Virginia cosmetology license renewals occur every two years at the end of the month in which your license was first issued. The cost of renewing a cosmetologist’s license is $105. You must complete 24 hours of continuing education to renew your license.

How Many Licensed Massage Therapists Are In Virginia?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,070 licensed massage therapists in the state in 2016. The agency projects that number will grow to 5,080 by 2026. That would be a job growth rate of 25 percent, about the same as the projected national average of 26 percent.

Conclusion

The massage program should be at least 500 hours. Additionally, a school located in Virginia must be approved by the State Board of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV).

Students attending schools physically located in other states may also receive a qualifying education; their schools will be mandated by various agencies. All states bordering Virginia set standards of at least 500 hours, and some have higher standards.

There are many options in the state. Programs are offered by community colleges and vocational colleges; the latter may be specifically focused on massage or may offer other health or aesthetic programs. Some Virginia community college programs offer traditional academic credit. However, some are not creditworthy.

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