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

Students considering massage therapy schools in Washington State have the opportunity to enter one of the fastest growing fields in America.


Many conditions respond to massage therapy, including back pain, migraines, stress and anxiety, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure, pregnancy discomfort, cancer pain and nausea, and insomnia.

As a graduate of one of the massage therapy schools in Washington State, you can have the confidence, competence, and professionalism to fulfill your potential as a professional massage therapist.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In Washington State?

There are nearly four dozen state-approved massage therapy schools in Washington State. Private and public schools range from small institutes to large colleges.

Some focus entirely on massage therapy, while others offer multiple training programs. Many award certificates are earned in a year or less. Two-year associate degrees are available at some schools.

Curricula include classes, laboratory sessions, and clinical experiences. Washington massage therapists earn significantly more than the national average.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In Washington State?

The average tuition for a massage school—tuition only, not books, massage tables, equipment, etc.—was $13,605 in 2014.

This was with the average cost of attending corporate and for-profit programs (programs with multiple campuses in different states that are mostly a corporate entity) with a skew towards the higher end of the spectrum.

The type of institution can affect the total cost, but the length of the massage therapy program and the number of credit hours included can also make a difference.

More expensive programs may be longer and offer a wider range of coursework to allow students to learn more specialized techniques such as hydrotherapy, sports massage or trigger therapy.

On the other hand, less expensive programs may involve fewer hours of instruction and focus on the fundamentals of massage therapy.

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What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In Washington State?

Massage therapy schools in Washington State are a minimum of 500 hours. This is the number that will need to be displayed in the protocol. However, the school may note that there are significant requirements for extracurricular learning and practice.

The Washington Code requires programs to be completed in at least six months. Washington programs include at least 130 hours of coursework in anatomy and physiology.

Kinesiology is considered a subtopic; this subject area must be at least 40 hours. The other 50 program hours, at least, will be spent studying pathology. Indications and contraindications for massage will be considered.

A minimum of 265 hours will be devoted to the theory and practice of massage. The student learns about the physiological effects of the presented methods. Other topics covered will include the body mechanics of the therapist. Up to 50 hours of this content area may be credited for time spent at the student clinic.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Washington State?

Below is a list of some of the best massage therapy schools in Washington State. You will find schools in all major cities such as Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, Everett and more.

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1. Cortiva Institute-Seattle

The company that owns the school has campuses in several states, including one on Pontius Avenue North. Students can earn MT certificates in as little as seven and a half months.

There are two options for the 815.5-hour, 53-credit program: full-time for 32 weeks or evening for 52 weeks. Students may need more time, but must attend school for at least half a day.

Required courses include hydrotherapy and spa preparation, acupressure and oriental theories, craniosacral massage, reflexology, Russian sports massage, trigger point therapy and techniques, and shiatsu. Students go through several practices.


2. Carrington College-Spokane

This school has 19 campuses in six western states. Six sites, including one north of Spokane, offer massage therapy certificate programs.

The program, which consists of 765 hours and 35 credits, takes about nine months. Students study Swedish, sports, deep tissue massage and chair massage; as well as shiatsu and spa techniques in dry rooms.

In addition to state-required courses, classes cover communication skills, management practices, and success skills.

General education requirements and a career development workshop are available online. The program can form part of Carrington’s Associate of Science (AS) degree in Health.


3. Whatcom Community College

This public school in Bellingham has a 60-credit certificate program that is scheduled over three quarters.

Fifteen credits are in general education courses: Business Mathematics, English Composition, Introduction to Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, and Introduction to Organizational Communication.

Eight hybrid courses include online lectures and in-person labs. Students spend an average of 20 hours a week outside of class on homework. They get hands-on experience at an on-campus clinic.

The program enrolls 18 students each year on a first-come, first-served basis. More than 90 percent of graduates pass the licensing exam, about 20 points above the national average.


4. Clever Park Technical College.

Founded in 1942, students at this community college attend classes at the South Hill campus, about a mile outside of Lakewood.

There are three options for therapeutic massage. The 41-credit Clinical Massage Therapist and 44-credit Swedish Massage Practitioner certification programs provide all state-required courses.

Students study clinical, pregnancy, sports and chair massage; plus myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, hydrotherapy and mini spa.

The 103-credit associate of applied technology program adds classes in composition, psychology, communications, social sciences, quantitative reasoning, and social sciences.

Business courses teach professional ethics, goal setting, insurance billing, marketing, resume writing, and interviewing.


5. Renton Technical College

This award-winning community college in suburban Seattle offers a couple of programs. The school issues massage therapist certificates to those who earn 50 credits in three quarters.

At the on-campus clinic, students perform Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, pregnancy massage, hot stone, and sports massage; as well as acupressure and myofascial release treatments.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in MT consists of 90 credits over five quarters. There are general education requirements in math, communication, composition, psychology, and nutrition.

Electives include holistic self-care for massage therapists, massage business startups, Asian body modalities, and integrative massage.


6. Elite Cosmetology, Barber & Spa Academy

This Yakima school offers two certificate programs that go well beyond the 500 hours required by state officials. The 750-hour program meets the recognition criteria of the National Board for Certification in Massage Therapy and Bodywork.

This involves 10 months of full-time study (30 hours per week). The 650-hour alternative is part-time (20 hours per week) for approximately one year.

Both programs include required courses as well as palpation, joint function, Swedish massage, variations, healing, body mechanics, hydrotherapy, and terminology.

Students complete 50 hours of clinical work and a field trip to the cadaver laboratory at Central Washington University.


7. Inland Massage Institute

Founded in 1986 in Spokane, it is the oldest massage therapy school in the Inland Northwest.

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The 12-month, 750-hour MT program includes state-required courses as well as hydrotherapy, reflexology, acupressure, trigger therapy, spa treatments, neuromuscular therapy, aromatherapy, cranial sacral therapy, and myofascial techniques.

Students also attend classes in Swedish Massage, Infant/Prenatal Massage, Spot Massage, Lymphatic, Sports, Orthopedic and Oncology Massage.

The school has a cadaver lab where students view bodies with varying degrees of dissection. Program participants perform a 50-minute massage in the student clinic, and also practice their techniques in community facilities.


8. Victoria’s Academy of Cosmetology

This private school in Kennewick offers six certificate programs, including a 750-hour massage therapy program that takes only eight months.

Students learn the following massage techniques: therapeutic, deep tissue, trigger points, Thai and oriental, stone, elderly, pregnant, infant, chair and sports.

Along with required coursework, classes cover hydrotherapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, acupressure, shiatsu, yoga, polarity, lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, EFT emotional release, nutrition, human behavior, and client interaction.

High school graduates aged 16 and over are admitted to the school. Massage programs office for 15 beds in individual offices, there is a student polyclinic.


9. Discoverypoint School of Massage

The beautiful space in the vibrant and eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood offers a large open classroom with large windows and the latest massage equipment for hands-on learning.

Class sizes are small with a warm and inviting atmosphere that creates optimal conditions for positive learning, faculty and staff interaction, and promoting the highest quality of learning.


10. Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts

Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts is dedicated to the personal growth, educational experience, and professional achievement of our massage therapy students and graduates.

The mission is to teach students the practice of science-based massage therapy and bodywork. Northwest Academy is committed to helping people and believes that professional massage therapists can be an important part of the healing process.


How Much Do Massage Therapists In Washington State Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a licensed massage therapist in Washington is $66,110.

It is the 4th highest-paying state in the country, with 3 of the 10 highest-paying metropolitan areas: metro Mount Vernon (4th), metro Seattle (6th), and metro Portland-Vancouver (7th).

Washington also claims one of the highest employment rates for LMTs, with the Olympia metro area ranking 2nd in the nation and Spokane 5th.

The state ranks third in the number of positions and employment opportunities for massage therapists, and fourth in employment among all states in the country. If you want to consider a career as a massage therapist, choosing the right massage school is a critical decision.

As more people turn to massage therapy for alternative pain relief and stress management, the job outlook for massage therapists in Washington looks better than ever.

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In Washington State?

To become a massage therapist in Washington, the first step is to graduate from high school with acceptable grades or obtain a GED. After that, the student must enroll in an accredited higher education institution with a state-approved MT program.

The Ministry of Health requires that training programs consist of 500 hours or more. Approved programs lasting at least six months include at least:

  • 265 hours of massage theory and practice
  • 130 hours of anatomy and physiology
  • 50 hours of pathology
  • 40 hours of kinesiology
  • 4 hours of HIV/AIDS training

Another 55 hours must teach clinical and business practices such as medical terminology, hygiene, record keeping, customer interaction, and state and local laws.

The rest of the coursework is at the discretion of the schools. The programs differ in the massage techniques and other therapeutic methods they teach. Most have classes in Eastern and Western modalities.

Graduates apply to the Department of Health for a license. The process involves passing the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).

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The test contains 100 questions on client assessment, development of treatment plans, benefits of massage, pathology, contraindications, and treatment for special populations, laws and ethics. To take the exam, applicants apply online to the Federation of State Boards of Massage Therapy.

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Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs In Washington State

Once your massage therapy license application is approved and you receive your massage therapy license by mail, you are free to seek employment and offer massage services.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists will grow by 22% between 2018 and 2028. Some of the places you can find work include spas, fitness centers, resorts, and medical facilities.

You can also use the knowledge and skills gained to start your own massage business or offer mobile massage services, serving clients in their homes. In this way, you will experience the business side of massage.

On the other hand, working in a medical facility, spa or salon allows you to get on-the-job training from more experienced colleagues. It also gives you access to a ready-made market and clientele without having to sell your services, as is the case with running a business.

Massage Therapy Schools In Washington State FAQs

Are Massage Therapists In Demand In Washington State?

Massage therapy is an ever-evolving field that strives to help people relax and de-stress after a stressful day, and Washington, D.C. is a great place to enroll in one of these massage schools.
Massage colleges in cities like Seattle, Washington, with its abundant natural beauty of rainforests, mountain ranges, and rocky coastlines, as well as strong liberal and holistic movements, are poised to prepare their students for future careers as wellness practitioners. Get paid to help people feel their best with a massage therapy education in Washington.

What Is The Requirement For Message Therapy License In Washington State?

To obtain a license in Washington, the state Department of Health requires at least 500 hours of training at an approved school. The content of this curriculum is very specific and is outlined on the Department of Health website. In addition to massage techniques and theory, the state expects training in business practices, ethics and HIV/AIDS. Students take an exam on laws and regulations related to massage. Finally, students must take the NCBTMB or MBLEx national certification exam.

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

In Washington, massage therapists must complete at least 500 hours of hands-on training in a state-approved program before they can pass a written exam and apply for a license. It will cost $106 for the initial application. Once you get your license, you’ll need to renew it every two years. The fee is currently $81. Washington State also requires massage therapists to complete at least 24 units of continuing education each year. That’s why it’s important to talk to schools and compare programs. With all these requirements, you’ll want to start off on the right foot!

What Is The Requirement To Work As Message Therapist In Washington State?

After completing your training, you will need a license to become a full-fledged massage therapist. To do this, you need to submit a massage application to the Massage Board for approval after passing the national exam. Other licensing requirements include 4 hours of HIV/AIDS training, first aid and CPR cards, and an application and initiation fee. The board will then review your application and issue you a massage license so you can begin your practice. Since the license expires on your birthday, you can renew it 90 days before it expires.


The Washington State Department of Health approves schools with the following criteria: 130 hours of anatomy and physiology, 50 hours of pathology, 265 hours of massage therapy theory and practice, 55 hours of clinical/business practicum, and a first aid certificate from the American Red Cross. . Listed above are approved massage therapy schools in Washington to help you get started in your massage therapy education.




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