A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in New Mexico: Feeling Confident in Your Education

Students who opt for New Mexico massage therapy programs can feel confident about their education. New Mexico not only licenses massage therapists; it registers massage therapy schools and even instructors. The total number of program hours is a little above the national norm. Students will get a foundation in the most fundamental concepts, but also have opportunities to choose what interests them most. New Mexico has set minimum hours in certain content hours but has left plenty of room for electives.

High school diploma is a fairly standard requirement around the nation. New Mexico requires that students have theirs in hand before beginning the massage therapy program.

Select a New Mexico Massage Therapy School Topic:

The New Mexico Massage Therapy Curriculum

New Mexico requires licensees to have 650 hours of massage therapy education, completed through one or more institutions that are authorized to offer post-secondary education. The curriculum is to be distributed as follows:

The student must be provided at least 165 hours of anatomy and physiology. This content area includes kinesiology: the study of movement. It is also to include 40 hours of pathology; this is a common requirement nationwide but one that some national/ state entities list as a separate content area, apart from anatomy and physiology.

The course of study must include 150 hours of coursework that meets the definition of "massage therapy". Content must include contraindications -- knowing when techniques are not indicated is a crucial part of practice. Students must complete no less than 100 hours of coursework in this content area before beginning a practicum experience.

Another 75 hours classified as "general instruction". General instruction is also subdivided into several content areas. Ethics comprises fully 30 hours -- this is higher than what is required by many other entities. First aid and CPR/AED are to each comprise four. The program must also include hydrotherapy and business.

The program will generally include a practicum experience. Practicum falls under the elective category in New Mexico code. New Mexico sets the maximum number of creditable practicum hours at 150.

The remaining hours can be electives. However, electives are not necessarily left to the discretion of the individual student. The program may plan a sequence of courses that matches its philosophy and vision. Among the possible topics: additional massage instruction, related modalities, breathing and stretching -- even homeopathy and nutrition. The Board has procedures in place for schools to gain approval for content that is not listed under electives in state code.

Standards and Training Program Options

New Mexico takes steps to ensure that schools are adequate – and not just on paper. The Board carries out an initial inspection. Among the requirements: The school must post a complaint policy that includes contact information for the Board. New Mexico has a registration process for instructors and regulations in place for others who support the instructional process. Even teaching assistants must be licensed as massage therapists.

Any of the state’s approved massage schools should provide adequate career training. This doesn’t mean they all do an equal job of meeting career goals. Schools may offer training in various specialized modalities, for example, neuromuscular therapy, Thai massage, and/ or prenatal massage. Schools may have their own signature treatments. One New Mexico school boasts Kinesio Taping. The school’s philosophy may come out in different ways. One school includes energetic boundaries among the ethics topics. Some program options combine massage with other healing arts.

There can be reasons to go beyond minimums with regard to program hours, rigor, and accreditations or approvals. Students who attend schools assigned codes by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork can test for adjunct board certification. New Mexico has four assigned schools. Some states do set standards higher – or are stricter about distribution of hours. One New Mexico medical massage program boasts that it’s licensing-qualifying in 48 states.

In-State vs Out-of-State Education

Students can pursue their education just about anywhere and come home to New Mexico to practice. However, one advantage to attending an in-state school is that the responsibility falls to the school to make sure that the required curriculum is taught. New Mexico’s requirements change periodically. A New Mexico school should be apprised of any changes.

Student who have attended accredited schools in other jurisdictions but whose education didn’t include all required components may have multiple ways to bridge the difference. A person who is missing a small portion of the required 650 hour curriculum could make them up by working with an independent instructor or taking courses through an acceptable school. The qualifying coursework does not all have to come from the same institution. The Board will need to see one transcript that documents at least 300 hours from a single school. Experienced practitioners may be allowed to substitute professional experience for up to 150 of the required hours.

Career Outlook and Average Salary

The median hourly wage for a New Mexico massage therapist is $20.76, slightly above the U.S. median of $19.17. Those at the 10th percentile earn $8.68, a little less than their counterparts nationwide while those at the 25th percentile earn $15.03 – more than two dollars more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided average salaries for two Mexico metropolitan areas. Albuquerque massage therapists have a median hourly wage of $21.21; Farmington massage therapists, a median hourly wage of $23.75.

Massage therapy is a growing profession; the expectation is that new jobs will be added each year. New Mexico has been projected to see 20.8% job growth during the 2014 to 2024 decade.