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

Massage therapy programs and schools in Southern California provide students with the training and skills necessary to provide therapeutic and relaxation massage.

Massage therapy classes can teach general deep tissue massage techniques or perform specialized services such as hot stone therapy.

As the most populous state in the US, it’s no surprise that Southern California also has many registered massage therapists as well as massage therapy schools.

However, do not let this discourage you. Competition in the business world is healthy, and with a smart game plan and dedication to being the best in your industry, you’ll have more than enough room to enter the market.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In Southern California?

Yes, there are several massage therapy schools in Southern California and the number continues to grow. Many private institutes provide education and training that prepares students for state certification.

Some public colleges offer associate degree programs that include general education coursework and other extracurricular activities. Students may complete some initial curriculum requirements online.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In Southern California?

The total cost of massage therapy schools in Southern California is $9,000.00, which includes the application fee ($75.00), textbooks and supplies ($300.00), and tuition ($8,625.00). Tuition is based on an hourly fee, which is $17.25 per hour of instruction.

What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In Southern California?

Prospective massage therapists in California may wish to obtain voluntary certification to demonstrate their skills to potential employers.

Before applying for certification, the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) requires massage therapists to complete 500 hours of training and massage therapists to complete 250 hours of training.

 Individuals in both positions must pass an examination approved by CAMTC and attend a school approved by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) or a national accrediting agency.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Southern California?

Below is a list of some of the best massage therapy schools in Southern California. Some exciting and interesting cities have schools that would be a pleasure to work in, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, etc.

1.      Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute

Santa Barbara Institute of Body Therapy offers students an advanced massage education program structured to prepare students for the MBLEx exam.

The entire program consists of 550 hours and will provide graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their field. Students who choose to attend classes twice a week, in the evenings or mornings, as well as on weekends, can complete the program in twelve (12) months.

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However, students who attend four (4) times a week, evenings and mornings, and sometimes on weekends, can complete their studies within six months.

The massage therapy program at the Santa Barbara Institute in California has been accredited by the CAMTC.


2.      Northwestern College-Riverside

Massage therapy programs are available at this school’s campuses in West Covina, Pomona Valley, Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Riverside. The 940-hour training program takes nine months.

Classes at this massage therapy school cover many types of massage, including Swedish, sports, soft tissue, reproductive, Reiki, Shiatsu, and alternative techniques.

There are also courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Reflexology, Craniosacral Therapy, Spa Services and Wellness Strategies, Pain Management and Massage Strategies, Business Skills, Computers, and Ethics and Professionalism.

In addition, students participate in a career orientation seminar and undergo clinical practice.


3.      Institute of Business and Technologies

This school in Santa Clara, with a history of more than half a century, has graduated thousands of students in various fields. The massage therapy certificate program covers a range of massage techniques and practices.

 Students also take classes in human anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, nutrition, and the theory and history of massage therapy. They also receive hundreds of hours of practice at the on-campus massage clinic.

The school prepares graduates for employment by providing them with message tables with headrests, pads, carrying bags and sheets.


4.      Andaman Institute of Massage

Andaman Massage Institute is located in Oceanside, California. The program structure prepares graduates to SIT and PASS the MBLEX exam approved by the California Massage Therapy Board (CAMTC).

Students will learn both in the classroom and in a clinical setting to develop the skills and knowledge to EXCEL as a massage therapist. The TOTAL program lasts 520 hours and has been accredited by CAMTC. Given this,

Andaman Institute’s massage therapist program in California develops the student’s knowledge and skill set through challenging coursework, exams, and ongoing instructor feedback.


5.      Antelope Valley University

Located in Lancaster, this school offers a 33-hour certificate program that takes 9 or 10 months to complete.

You must first complete the Message Therapy Prep Course to learn bodywork basics, professionalism, legal issues, and medical terminology.

The next classes are “Introduction to Bodywork” and “Spa Modalities” which include facials and aromatherapy.

The remaining courses are: Anatomy and Physiology, Massage Techniques and Biomechanics, Assessment Procedures and Health Education, Special Population Services, Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, and Business Considerations and Professional Development.

The final step is to complete an externship to gain experience in the field.


6.      Downey Adult School

Officially known as DAS Career and Education Center, this Los Angeles school has served the Downey community for more than 70 years. The program includes 600 hours of classroom classes.

There is no student clinic. Classes include Maternity Massage, Infant and Senior Massage, Swedish Massage, Advanced Circulation Massage, Myofascial Release, Stretching and Resistance Stretching, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage and Acupressure.

There are options to conduct classes in the afternoon or in the evening. Programs start 10 times a year.


7.      CalCopa Massage School

CalCopa offers students comprehensive training in massage therapy to prepare them for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

This massage therapy program meets all CAMTC certification requirements. Currently, the program consists of 600 hours, some of which are devoted to clinical work.

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There is also increased emphasis on the following: Kinesiology, Formulation Massage, Pathology,  Deep Transversal Friction, Stretching, Client Assessment and Treatment Protocol. Given this,

CalCopa Massage School also offers other related programs to enhance your skills and provide you with more employment opportunities in the future.


8.      National Holistic Institute

NHI is a private for-profit school located in Emeryville. There are also campuses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Ana, and Petaluma.

Training in therapeutic massage takes eight months for full-time students and 10-12 months for part-time students. Massage techniques such as Swedish, Shiatsu, deep tissue, lymphatic, sports, prenatal, hot stone and Thai massage are taught here.

Other courses include myofascial therapy, traditional Chinese medicine, hand and foot reflexology, acupressure, energy work, rocking and shaking and aromatherapy.

There are also classes in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, business and marketing. Each campus has its own student massage clinic.


9.      American Career College-Ontario

This school, which has been in business for over 70 years, has campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario and Costa Mesa.

The 38-week massage therapy program includes 750 classroom hours and 407 hands-on hours. Required courses: Swedish massage, massage for people with special needs and therapeutic communication.

Other classes include Deep Tissue; myofascial release and neuromuscular therapy; spa procedures, aromatherapy and stone massage; Assessment, treatment plan and clinical massage.

They also include non-traditional and alternative methods of body treatment; and ethics, business and professional development. Students also do externships.


10. Monterey Peninsula College

There are several options here. All but the first meet the state board’s certification requirements; and each covers anatomy, physiology, and therapeutic massage (plus a massage lab).

Massage specialist training certificate – up to 357 hours, 12-24 months, with a kinesiology class Massage therapist training certificate – up to 561 hours, from 9 to 12 months, with sports and clinical massage classes

Massage Therapist Certificate of Achievement – up to 1,173 hours, 12-24 months, with core courses including first aid, CPR and medical terminology (in addition to many electives)


How Much Do Massage Therapists In Southern California Earn?

California massage therapists can earn an average annual salary of $35,060, excluding tips. Most massage therapists are paid a salary and tips.

Since most California massage therapists are by appointment only, their schedules and hours vary widely from week to week.

In addition to providing hour-long massages, massage therapists also spend time writing patient progress notes, scheduling appointments with clients, and other general business tasks.

California massage therapists can either be self-employed, traveling to different locations, or they can work in a medical facility, fitness center, or spa.

The possibilities are as diverse as the Golden State itself. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks first in the country for the highest number of massage therapists.

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In Southern California?

To become a massage therapist in California, a student must complete 500 or more hours of education and training at a school recognized by the state board.

The curriculum must include at least 100 hours in each of the following subject areas: Anatomy and Physiology, Health and Hygiene, Contraindications, Business, and Ethics. Students receive credit for up to 75 hours of supervised work in a massage clinic.

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In addition to the core curriculum, many schools offer electives that allow students to pursue different areas of interest. Many examples include hot stone massage, craniosacral therapy, sports massage, sciatica, massage for the elderly and other special populations.

Some programs require up to 1000 hours. Students can continue their education to earn certifications in specific specialties or enroll in holistic health programs that teach additional aspects of massage parlor services.

No work experience or on-the-job training is required, other than that obtained in school. After graduation, the next step for a future therapist is to take the National Certification Board for Massage Therapy and Bodywork exam.

The agency requires 750 hours, but allows interns to begin working in the field once they reach the 500-hour level. The rest of the coursework can be completed later.

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Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs in Southern California

You will need to complete an accredited degree program to be eligible to take the massage therapy licensing exam. The National Certification Board for Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam will assess your skills in areas such as patient communication, massage techniques, and treatment planning.

Alternatively, you can take the massage and bodywork licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, which uses similar testing criteria.

Many states also offer their own independent massage therapy licensing exams. Make sure you find a program that will adequately prepare you for the licensing exams after graduation.

Graduates of a massage therapy certificate or diploma program can become licensed massage therapists specializing in any of approximately 80 different types of massage.

Some specializations you can learn include reflexology, deep tissue, transverse fiber, hot stones, reiki, acupressure, myofascial massage, or lymphatic system massage.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for massage therapists was $19.23 as of May 2017.

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Massage Therapy Schools In Southern California FAQs

What Is The Requirement For Massage Therapy License In Southern California?

California requires massage therapists to complete a program with a minimum of 500 hours of practical experience. Once you’ve completed your training and obtained your license, you’ll need to renew it every two years and pay $150 with your application.

What Does Massage Therapy Schools In Southern California Coursework Cover?

Coursework will focus on understanding how the human body functions in relation to massage therapy practices. You can learn techniques that relate to ideas and treatment plans for babies and pregnant women. Students may need to visit a clinic to get hands-on massage experience. You will learn a variety of techniques such as Swedish massage, therapeutic massage and reflexology.

How Long Is Massage Therapy Schools In Charlotte?

There are many schools in California that offer massage therapy education programs, although many schools are for-profit. Most schools offer certified massage therapy programs, although associate degree programs are also available. These programs are most often found in 2-year schools.


Taking classes at a massage therapy school will teach you how to use manual techniques to manipulate your patients’ muscles for therapeutic relief. You will gain skills that will help you assess your patients’ level of discomfort and prepare appropriate treatment plans.

A massage therapy school should have all the major equipment needed to practice massage therapy, including custom-made tables and chairs. Schools often provide clients that you apply to when you have completed a certain part of your education.



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