Massage Therapy Schools in Louisiana: A short path to a rewarding vocation
Massage therapy school can offer a short path to a rewarding vocation: one that allows practitioners to carve out their own career and their own lifestyle. The amount of education required for a massage therapy license is a small fraction of what’s required for physical therapy or family therapy. Education is still important. Students typically earn a certificate or diploma. Day programs often take about nine months, evening programs a little longer.
Select a Louisiana Massage Therapy School Topic:
- Massage Therapy Educational Standards in Louisiana
- Massage Therapy Schooling Options in Louisiana
- Education for Board Certification
- Massage Therapy License Requirements in Louisiana
- Beyond Massage School: Salary and Career Development
Massage Therapy Educational Standards
A Louisiana student will need to complete an approved program that includes at least 500 ‘in class hours’ (or the equivalent number of semester hours). The program will include the following:
- Anatomy and physiology: 125 hours
- Massage techniques and clinical practicum-related modalities: 325 hours
- Other related coursework: 50 hours
Ethics, health and hygiene are among the expected topics in the ‘other’ category (https://www.labmt.org/site414.php).
The student will need to attend at least 90% of the classes.
According to state code, education can be accepted if it is offered by a public entity or by a proprietary school approved by the Board of Regents. The Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy has provided a list of Louisiana schools (https://www.labmt.org/site415.php). Attendance at one of these schools does not guarantee license eligibility. The Board states that it is the student’s responsibility to make sure that curricular requirements are met. A transcript will be required at the time of application.
Most Louisiana schools are housed at career colleges. The college may offer massage therapy as one of a number of short, high-demand health programs. One Louisiana program is housed in a community college.
Some of the big cities have multiple options. New Orleans boasts four.
Out-of-state programs can be considered if they are approved in the state in which they operate. Almost all states require at least 500 hours of education. However, they set different minimum coursework standards. It is not guaranteed that a program will meet Louisiana’s standards (or vice versa). Some states set the minimum anatomy and physiology requirement lower. Some are very specific about how many hours a student will need in various content areas.
Massage Therapy Schooling Options in Louisiana
Programs typically introduce students to at least a few modalities. Swedish massage is often considered the foundation of Western massage. Other common modalities include deep tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, Shiatsu, chair massage, and reflexology. The program may emphasize massage therapy as healthcare. Conversely, it may place more of an emphasis on spas. Hydrotherapy is an expected part of the massage therapy curriculum but will not receive equal treatment from program to program; there can be a number of spa therapies that fall into this category. The number of applications can seem endless. Not everything can be covered in 500 hours. One is not limited, however, to what is included in the initial program.
Students may want to consider the type and quality of hands-on experience. Students typically begin by practicing on each other. Some programs allow for extensive experiences working with members of the public.
While some Louisiana programs are about 500 hours, others are 750 or even 900 hours. A longer program is likely to meet licensing requirements in more states, but some states are outliers!
Schools also vary with regard to career/ placement services. The school may offer help with things like resume development and interview skills.
Some Louisiana schools are accredited by nationally recognized accrediting agencies like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Prospective students can seek gainful employment data.
Education for Board Certification
Some students opt for adjunct board certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Attendance at an NCBTMB-assigned school facilitates the process. The NCBTMB website lists two assigned Louisiana schools. Among the requirements for national board certification: 750 hours of education. Some NCBTMB-assigned programs, however, are as short as 500 hours. A student who selects one of these programs and does not have other qualifying coursework can use NCBTMB-approved continuing education offerings to make up the difference. This can be an opportunity to explore new modalities or hone one’s skills in their areas of specialty. Louisiana providers offer blocks of coursework in areas such as the following:
- Craniosacral therapy
- Thai massage
- Geriatric massage
- Upper body deep tissue medical massage
One can also opt for coursework that will be useful for developing one’s massage therapy business.
Average Salary and Career Outlook
The range of massage therapy salaries is wide. Those at the tenth percentile in Louisiana make $8.22; those at the 90th percentile make $42.08. Half make above $14.59. The mean is $18.88.
The Baton Rouge area has a low concentration of massage therapists when compared to the typical U.S. city, but boosts a high average wage (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319011.htm). The Shreveport-Bossier City area is also a fairly good market wage-wise. Nationwide, pay is influenced greatly by work setting. Massage therapists are often self-employed. To that end, it can be useful to be very good at technique, but to know other concepts well, too, like how to emphasize the role of massage therapy within healthcare, how to cite research, how to build partnerships, how to market oneself.