A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Arkansas: Students must meet very specific education requirements

Arkansas is very specific about the training that its massage therapists will have. The regulatory body has set curricular requirements across content areas. The state issues school licenses; it also publishes a list of approved schools on its website. This means that an Arkansas student doesn't have to do a lot of research to find a program that will meet state standards. The student may, however, have to do significant research to find the one massage school that will work best to meet his or her career goals!

Geography of course will be a consideration for many in Arkansas -- though sometimes one will find two massage schools in Fayetteville or Little Rock relatively close – whether in the same city or a neighboring county.

Select an Arkansas Massage Therapy School Topic:

Arkansas Approved Massage Therapy Schools

A list of approved schools can be found on the Department of Health website (http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/hsLicensingRegulation/MassageTherapy/Pages/Schools.aspx). The state now boasts 14.

A student who enrolls in an Arkansas-approved program can be assured that the program meets the state’s quality standards. The instructors must meet requirements set at the state level; these vary depending on whether the course is considered academic, technical, or nontechnical. The facilities must have adequate space and otherwise stand up to Department inspection. The students must be provided with syllabi. The school is expected to maintain a satisfactory pass rate over time on the licensing examination.

All massage therapy schools approved by include the same basic 500 hour curriculum.

175 hours will be comprised of the following subjects: anatomy, physiology, pathology, and massage contraindications,

There will be 225 hours of massage technique. There will be 25 hours in each of the following content areas:

  • Hydrotherapy, heliotherapy, and electrotherapy
  • Massage-related law, ethics, and business management
  • Hygiene and infection control

A student may receive credit for 50 hours of experience at a public clinic. Some Arkansas massage therapy schools are actually housed in clinics. If one clicks on the website, they one will first find information about massage therapy services; schooling may appear secondary. The school, though, will still need to meet the requirements that the state sets for massage therapy schools.

The student will need to have completed a substantial block of coursework before beginning clinical practice. This includes all hygiene and ethics coursework as well as 100 hours of technique and 100 hours of body systems, pathology, and contraindications. A doctor's statement will also be due at this time.

Massage Therapy Program Options

Arkansas has a number of 500 hour programs. Some, though, go beyond the required number. An Arkansas student can enroll in a 750 hour program (the standard now in place for national board certification) or a program of 600 to 650 hours (which some states have now adopted as their standard). Though the state allows some leeway for discretionary topics, programs that go into depth on signature therapies or on the needs of particular populations are often longer. There can be advantages to this. Some states do set the minimum above 500 hours. There is no way of ensuring that one meets requirements for all states, but program length is one consideration-- as are accreditations and approvals. Arkansas, moreover, licenses massage therapy instructors. Program length is also one of the considerations when determining instructor qualifications. It’s not the only pathway, however. A therapist can attain master massage therapist through a combination of experience and continuing education; this, too, can authorize the instructor role.

Some schools provide information about other licenses a person may be eligible for. Touch for Health, for example, informs prospective students that the program will provide the foundation for Arkansas or Texas licensing – an important consideration for new professionals living in the Texarkana area. Blue Cliff College offers multiple programs and notes which are license-qualifying in particular border states. Prospective massage therapists who are considering traveling further afield, though, can expect to do some research.

Two Arkansas programs hold membership in the American Massage Therapy Association. These same two schools have been assigned codes by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork; assignment facilitates the process of attaining voluntary board certification (http://www.ncbtmb.org/tools/find-approved-school). The number of assigned schools is less than in many jurisdictions.

There are various possible sources of funding for massage therapy school, including the Veterans Administration and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.

After Massage Therapy School: Career Outlook and Salary

Massage therapy employment in Arkansas has been projected to show 21.1% growth between 2014 and 2024 (http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm). This is close to the national average, though the concentration of massage therapists in the state was not as high as in many states at the decade’s start.

The Hot Springs area has a relatively high concentration of massage therapists. (One can surmise that people like to do more than just enjoy the water when they travel there!) In Hot Springs, the median wage is $10.87. Most massage therapists earn between $8.39 (10th percentile) and $18.36 (90th percentile). In the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan area which spans portions of Arkansas and Missouri, wages are much higher. The median is roughly twice as high ($22.14). Most massage therapists earn between $12.14 (10th percentile) and $30.33 (90th percentile). Despite having a significantly lower concentration of massage therapists, the total number of massage therapists working in this area is significantly higher.

Statewide, the median hourly wage is $18.72. Those at the 10th percentile earn $9.84 while those at the 90th percentile earn $35.11.

Additional Resources: Narrow the Search

Little Rock Massage Schools