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

Massage therapy schools & programs in San Diego offer training for adults who want to actively participate in the holistic health care movement.

Through theory and extensive practical experience, students will commit to preserving the physical, mental, and spiritual components of the human body in order to improve the lives of the people they serve.

Graduates of accredited state-approved massage therapy schools & programs in San Diego California will be eligible to apply for a certificate to practice. The state no longer requires applicants to take a state exam as part of the certification process.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In San Diego?

San Diego has five massage therapy schools—private institutions with programs that qualify future practitioners for California licensure.

Each school’s curriculum includes coursework that is required by the state. Other classes vary, and programs include learning different massage techniques. Each school has a certificate program that lasts less than a year. One college also offers two-year associate degrees.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In San Diego?

Like any school or training program, a massage therapy education will vary in cost depending on where and what you study.

Certificate programs typically start at $4,000 to $6,000, while associate degree programs can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. You will also need to pay for any books or materials, which can cost upwards of $1,300.

The prices may seem high, but most massage education programs will offer some financial aid, so be sure to explore all of your options! After completing your training, you will need to pay an application and administrative fee to complete the MBLEx, which is $265.

FSMTB also offers an official MBLEx study guide for about $30, which is optional but can be a valuable resource. Once you’ve passed the exam, you’re ready to register with your state’s Board of Massage Therapists.

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What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In San Diego?

In California, your course requirements to become a Certified Massage Therapist or Certified Massage Therapist must focus on anatomy, physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, business, and ethics.

Although each school may emphasize one over another, all programs will cover these five subjects. As of May 2013, you must complete the first 250 hours of training at an approved California massage school.

The remaining 250 hours required by the California Board of Massage Therapy can be accommodated by your hours completed through distance learning or online programs.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In San Diego?

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine – San Diego

PCOM offers three MT programs. The Certificate in Massage Therapy and Asian Bodywork involves 690 contact hours. It prepares students for employment in the shortest possible time.

 The 1,147.5-hour degree program in Mechanical Engineering and Asian Bodywork includes general education classes and training in more advanced treatments, allowing graduates to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The 1,192.5-hour Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy program combines Eastern medical theory with training in techniques such as Tuyna (medical massage), Thai massage, and Asian bodywork.


Healing Hands School of Holistic Health

This facility has a 600-hour certified massage therapy program at its Escondido, Kearny Mesa, and Laguna Hills campuses.

Core courses cover Blood (Swedish) Massage, Anatomy, Business and Professional Practice. A 50-hour clinical practicum is also required. Students develop individual curricula, choosing from over 1,800 hours of core classes and electives.

They may specialize in techniques such as sports massage, deep tissue manipulation, geriatric massage, shiatsu, and tuina.

The program is available full-time or part-time; days, evenings or weekends. The school reports a graduate employment rate of more than 80 percent.


ICOHS College

Located in San Diego’s “Little Italy,” this school offers five professional programs. It is one of seven nonprofit massage colleges in the United States.

Courses in the Professional Massage Therapy Certificate Program: Energy Channels and Acupuncture; Kinesiology; Customer evaluation; physiology/pathology; Business practice; Special population groups; communications, ethics and career preparation.

Students will learn about holistic health, anatomy, circulation and deep tissue massage, passive joint mobilization, Eastern modalities, integrated Chi exercises, and strategies for success.

The on-site clinic and community events are opportunities to practice with real clients.


Healing Hands Massage School

The Healing Hands Massage Therapist program meets the requirements for massage therapist certification in California. In addition to preparing for the state certification, students will receive comprehensive skills for the work of reliable professionals in the industry.

Experienced teachers will apply a comprehensive approach to practice. Learning outcomes of the program will be aligned with an emphasis on the mind-body connection.

They cover powerful healing techniques and the importance of maintaining a relaxed posture while working. Required courses include circulatory massage, anatomy for workers, business and professional practice, and clinical practicum.

Elective courses include advanced circulatory and sports massage, deep tissue manipulation, Shiatsu and Tui Na Chinese massage techniques.


National Holistic Institute

The massage therapy curriculum at the National Holistic Institute prepares adults for a fulfilling career as a massage therapist. The program includes classroom learning as well as real-world practice as they treat clients at an on-campus massage clinic.

Dedicated faculty who are experienced massage professionals will provide ongoing mentoring to help students make the transition from student to massage professional.

Multiple learning methods, such as audio, visual, and kinesthetic, support different learning styles. Students will learn Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Prenatal Massage, and Lymphatic Massage.

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The teachers will also talk about Eastern massage techniques, such as Swedish massage, acupressure, rocking and shaking, hand and foot reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine, Thai massage and shiatsu.


AIM – Andaman Institute of Massage

The Massage Therapist program at AIM teaches students basic skills as well as advanced techniques demanded by employers. Training will be delivered in a classroom and on-site clinic where students will have the opportunity to put their skills into practice.

Course modules include circulatory massage, body systems, anatomy and physiology, business and ethics, kinesiology and pathology, sports massage, reflexology, deep tissue massage, Thai massage and Tui Na.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for certification to become a massage therapist in the state of California. Students must provide their own oil and linen and wear appropriate and clean clothing in class. There are full-time and part-time jobs.


American Institute of Massage Therapy

The Massage Therapist program at the American Massage Therapy Institute prepares adults with the basic skills and knowledge to work as successful massage professionals.

The curriculum covers theory and practice in massage therapy basics, sports massage, individual muscles, business law and ethics, massage basics, business law and ethics, hydrotherapy, body systems, advanced and complementary methods.

It also covers clinical practicum at sports events. Graduates will be able to take the MBLEx exam and apply for California state certification. There are daytime and evening schedules.


How Much Do Massage Therapists In San Diego Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists in California earn an average of about $40,000 a year.

The highest concentrations of massage therapists are employed in areas such as travel accommodations, recreation and entertainment, doctors’ offices, other health care practitioners’ offices, and personal care services.

The highest-paid massage therapists typically work in nursing homes, doctor’s offices, other areas of ambulatory care, specialty hospitals, and technical and vocational schools.

Massage therapy can be a rewarding career for you if you want to earn a decent salary while improving the overall well-being of others.

You will find that the strongest qualities you need to have are compassion, working well with others, and a desire to have a dynamic career in order for massage therapy to be perfect.

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In San Diego?

Each state has its own massage therapy licensing requirements, so be sure to double check with your massage therapy board to make sure you’re not missing anything.

If your state requires a certain number of hours of hands-on training, now is the time to start looking for clinics or practitioners that you would like to intern with.

San Diego requires massage therapists to pass the MBLEx before being licensed, although some states have their own exams. If you’re taking MBLEx, FSMTB has an official study guide, so grab a copy and start studying!

These tests are quite expensive ($195 to $265), so it’s in your best interest to get it right the first time, but with the right study and training regimen, you should be ready to go.

When you’re ready to hit the ground running, the first major branch in your career will be whether to work with a larger, more established practice or branch out on your own.

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Both options have their pros and cons. Starting at a reputable clinic means you’ll have a steady stream of clients, a steady income, and (if you’re a full-time employee) health insurance and other benefits.

Especially if you’re just starting out, you may feel comfortable working under the guidance of a more experienced therapist who can give you on-the-job advice to help you further your career.

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What Are The Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs in San Diego?

Massage therapists work with many different types of injuries and conditions and can be an important part of their clients’ health care routines.

That’s what makes massage therapy such a rewarding career—and quite a lucrative one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists earn about $44,000 on average.

The field is expected to grow by 21% between 2019 and 2029 (much higher than the 5% average growth for all occupations).

In the US and San Diego, there is a growing demand for massage therapists with holistic healing skills that combine the power of traditional Eastern medicine techniques with the latest scientific, evidence-based clinical solutions.

Massage therapists may specialize in areas such as sports massage, pediatrics, and reflexology, and may apply their skills in a spa, clinic, or sports-oriented environment.

Graduates from Pacific College San Diego School of Massage Therapy will have a competitive advantage in an industry that is rapidly moving toward integrated care practices.

Massage Therapy Schools In San Diego FAQs

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

Those who complete 250 to 499 hours of massage therapy training at an approved school can qualify to become a certified massage therapist.  As a massage therapy student in California, you must complete at least 500 hours of public school training to qualify as a certified massage therapist.

What Is The Requirement For Massage Therapy License In San Diego?

After graduation, you must score a passing score on the MBLEx exam or the NCETMB/NCETM exam and then pay $150 to receive your certificate. To maintain active status as a certified massage therapist, an additional $150 is required every two years.

Are Massage Therapists In Demand In San Diego?

According to California, the number of massage therapists in San Diego will grow by an average of 19.5 percent (520 positions) per year from 2014 to 2024. Employment Development Department. Federal officials are projecting 29 percent job growth statewide from 2016 to 2026, faster than the 26 percent national rate.


You must attend a school approved by your state for the discipline you wish to pursue. Check with your school and state board to make sure your program of study will prepare you for any applicable state licensure.

In early 2013, California implemented certification requirements for massage therapists who wish to practice massage professionally, so training in an accredited program is mandatory. It’s no surprise that the top state for massage therapy jobs has over 250 massage therapy programs for you to choose from.

California’s new massage therapy regulations now classify massage professionals into two categories. Certified Massage Therapists and Certified Massage Therapists are now licensed by the California Board of Massage Therapy and fall under two separate certifications.

References – Massage Therapy Schools In San Diego, CA


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