Massage Therapy Schools in Delaware
Delaware’s massage therapist educational requirements are comparable to those set in many jurisdictions. However, they are not identical.
Delaware requires 500 hours of massage therapy education from an approved school. There is no one list of approved schools. A massage therapist could even qualify on the basis of a massage therapy school in another state.
Select a Delaware Massage Therapy School Topic:
- Delaware Massage Therapy Programs
- Entry-Level Massage Training in Delaware
- Massage Therapist Program Options
- Balancing Cost and Value of Education
- Massage Therapy License Requirements in Delaware
Delaware Massage Therapy Programs
The Delaware Board has a specific set of curricular requirements which, though fairly general, do not precisely match those of other standard setters at the state or national level. The following is the expected coursework:
- Anatomy and physiology: 100 hours
- Massage or bodywork therapy theory and technique: 300 hours
- Ethics, law, and contraindications: 25 hours
- Related electives
An in-state program may be approved by the Delaware Board of Education or Department of Education; an out-of-state school may be approved by an equivalent entity located in the other state. The Delaware Department of Education is the state entity charged with approving vocational schools (https://www.doe.k12.de.us/domain/158). The DOE has provided a list of approved schools, noting in parentheses what programs the school has been authorized to offer (https://www.doe.k12.de.us/page/3060).
Entry-Level Massage Training in Delaware
Delaware licenses individuals who have had only 300 hours of training at the massage therapy technician level; this is unusual. An individual who completes a program at this level can pursue further training and become licensed as a massage therapist in Delaware. However, those considering relocating will want to consider whether a program of this type furthers their long-term career goals.
Massage Therapist Program Options
There are many modalities that are considered massage and bodywork, so different programs could emphasize different techniques (and their corresponding philosophies) and still be license-qualifying. The list of modalities referenced in Delaware statute, which is not intended to be exhaustive, includes the following:
- Craniosacral therapy
- Manual lymphatic drainage
- Myofascial release
- Swedish massage
Massage therapists typically pursue a foundation in multiple modalities as part of their initial program. However, there are too many for inclusion in a single program. A prospective student may want to survey job ads to see what modalities are referenced. The following a sample from Delaware job ads in mid-2017:
A chiropractor’s office referenced Swedish and deep tissue massage. Another sought someone who could perform chair massage at events and functions. A day spa sought proficiency in three separate modalities: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and stone massage. Massage & Reflexology of Delaware, meanwhile, sought practitioners with various proficiencies, including reflexology, reiki, and even mu-xing.
Massage programs are about more than body systems and bodywork. Business coursework can be instrumental. A number of Delaware businesses seek massage therapists as independent contractors. Nationwide, many massage therapists pursue private practice.
Prospective students may want to consider schools that have been assigned codes by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. There are currently three in-state schools that have been assigned codes (https://www.ncbtmb.org/schools-students/). The NCBTMB requirement for coursework in body systems is higher than that of the Delaware Board, though theoretically a student who attended an NCBTMB-assigned school could be left with some curricular deficiencies. The following are among the minimum standards for NCBTMB schools: 125 hours of instruction in body systems; 200 hours of in-class, hands-on instruction in theory, assessment, and technique; 40 hours of instruction in pathology, and ten hours of instruction in business and ethics (with no fewer than six in ethics).
750 hours of total education and training are required to achieve adjunct board certification (a national voluntary credential). Many initial programs now include the full 750 hours. However, students who attend programs between 500 and 750 hours have the option of pursuing certification after they complete the additional hours. These hours can be completed through NCBTMB-approved continuing education. The following are among the many options available through Delaware schools (https://www.ncbtmb.org/schools-students/):
- Neuro-Myo-Muscular Therapy
- Warm Wood Massage
- Fibromyalgia & Massage
- Foot Reflexology
- Myofascial Release
- Prenatal Massage
The continuing education student can also opt to focus on learning functional skills for different areas of the body.
Balancing Cost and Value
The median salary for a Delaware massage therapist is $22.39 an hour or $46,570 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home). However, individual massage therapists can earn very different amounts based on factors such as their location, employment situation, and skill set. Massage therapists at the 25th percentile in Delaware earn $12.33 while those at the 75th percentile earn $44.33 – that means one in four earn more even than this for a single hour of service. At the 10th percentile, where a number will find themselves at the beginning of their careers, though, the average is $9.23.
In the Wilmington metropolitan area spanning parts of Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, the median salary is $28.11 an hour or $58,470 for a year of full-time work. Massage therapists at the 25th percentile earn $20.55 an hour while those at the 75th percentile earn $45.63.
The initial outlay won’t necessarily come out-of-pocket. Students may be eligible for traditional financial aid or for special programs available through agencies such as the Workforce Investment Board and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation; options will vary by program.