A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Mississippi

Mississippi sets educational standards for massage therapists higher than many other states. In order to be approved by the Board, massage therapy programs must follow a set curriculum. Students who complete their massage therapy education in Mississippi will be poised to seek licensure at home or in any of many other states.

Select a Mississippi Massage Therapy School Topic:

Mississippi Massage Therapy Program Standards

Students who begin their careers in Mississippi will need at least 700 hours of massage therapy education.

Mississippi courses are comprised of 600 hours of in-class education and an additional 100 hours of work performed under supervision in a student clinic. (At least 50 of the hours will be spent actually giving massages at the clinic; the remaining hours will be devoted to instruction and evaluation. The clients themselves will be included in the evaluation process.)

Classroom education is divided into three broad categories: theory and practicum, body sciences, and allied modalities. Each comprises 200 hours.

Included within the 200 theory and practicum hours will be at least 100 hours of demonstration and practice of techniques. Instruction will include client evaluation and draping as well as soft tissue techniques such as kneading, percussion, and stretching. The 200 hours will include at least ten hours of legalities and 20 hours of other Board-mandated content such as indications and contraindications. (Allocation of the remaining hours is left to the discretion of the individual program but must be in accordance with state law.)

In the body sciences content area, too, the Board has been specific. The following five areas will each comprise at least 20 hours of study: anatomy, neurology, physiology, myology/kinesiology, and pathology. Again, programs are left some discretion; the other 100 hours may be allocated in a variety of ways.

Allied modalities coursework will include some coverage of the following: Eastern, Western, and European theory/ methods; hydrotherapy and infrared therapy; charting and documentation; CPR and first aid; and client referral. Fully 130 hours may be distributed among the required areas or devoted to other appropriate wellness topics, such as trigger points or special populations. This affords quite a bit of leeway. The require for Eastern, Western, and European theory and methods is just seven hours – but schools often choose to go quite far with select theories and methodologies.

Mississippi mandates that massage therapy schools pursue accreditation from a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One option, referenced in state code, is the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA).

Students must earn grades of at least ‘C’ in their courses.

Programs may provide transfer credit to students but only under standards described in state code.

Regulations are updated every few years. However, a student who goes to an approved in-state school can expect the school to take responsibility for delivering the required curriculum.

Selecting a Mississippi Massage Therapy Program

Massage therapy is a career where people often choose to go into business for themselves. It’s one where practitioners can create unique opportunities whether employed or self-employed. A massage therapist may travel on a cruise ship or travel locally (going to people's home or businesses to deliver massage). Some massage therapists set up shop with chiropractors and other holistic practitioners. Increasingly massage is being considered a vital healthcare discipline. Research out of West Virginia and Kentucky points to the value of massage therapy in pain management -- and in reducing the need for potentially dangerous pain medications.

Mississippi massage therapists may need to sell themselves -- and their profession -- more than those in many parts of the nation. A prospective massage therapist will need to make decisions how much massage therapy training he or she needs and what other supportive coursework will prove useful. The student will have the option of taking a short program or pursuing an associate's degree.

A student may have the opportunity to practice various types of massage. One Mississippi program, for example, boasts shiatsu, reflexology, sports massage, and prenatal massage among the graduate competencies. A massage therapist doesn’t have to anticipate every type of massage he or she will want to utilize, however. Some continuing education is mandatory – and there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to go beyond.

Mississippi students may want to give consideration to programs that have been assigned testing codes by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Those who do so can test for national board certification as well as Mississippi licensure. The Board has provided a link to the NCBTMB website. As of mid-2017, just two Mississippi schools have been assigned NCNTMB codes, one in Hattiesburg and one in Summit (http://www.ncbtmb.org/tools/find-approved-school). One is housed in a community college, the other in a career college.

Massage Therapists with Out-of-State Education

While the Mississippi Board may issue reciprocal licenses to professionals who have had as few as 500 hours of massage therapy education, it only does so when experience requirements have been met. Information is available from the Board (http://www.msbmt.ms.gov/SitePages/Licensure.aspx).

Career Outlook and Average Salary

Mississippi massage therapists make a median salary of $12.25 (https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home). Those who are at the 10th percentile salary-wise make $7.91 an hour while those at the 90th percentile make $18.33.

The median massage therapist wage in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula area is $9.06. Those at the 10th percentile make $7.71. Those at the 90th percentile make $17.82. The median massage therapist wage in the Jackson area is $11.59. Those at the 10th percentile make $7.94. Those at the 90th percentile make $16.38.

Massage therapist employment in Mississippi has been projected to see 3.3% growth between 2014 and 2024 (http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm).