A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in North Carolina

Massage on demand in an hour? Yes. This is just one of the things going on in the North Carolina massage therapy industry. Massage therapists practice specialties from sports massage to geriatric massage. North Carolina has plenty of interest in massage therapy – and plenty of quality schools for would-be practitioners to choose from.

Select a North Carolina Massage Therapy Training Topic:

North Carolina Educational Standards

The expectation nationwide is that massage therapy schools either be accredited by a legitimate accrediting agency or approved at the state level. North Carolina has both types of program. Some programs are exempted from the Board approval process by virtue of their accreditation. Community colleges would fall under this category. Prospective students can go to the Board website for a list of Board-approved career schools. There are more than 20; Charlotte and Raleigh boast three each.

The Board has taken steps to ensure school quality and promote student success. In order to be approved, North Carolina schools must meet a lengthy set of requirements. Instructor and staff qualifications are described in state code. So are admission policies. Students can expect to go through a selection process; the school will conduct interviews. The school will hold an orientation session to describe the curriculum and expectations as well as employment prospects post-graduation.

Board-approved North Carolina schools follow a particular curriculum distribution.

There must be no less than 100 hours of anatomy and physiology; common pathologies are to be addressed under this content area.

The school must offer at least 200 hours of theory and application; the goal is to be "comprehensive entry-level" skill development with practices that involve soft tissue manipulation. The Board has listed a number of modalities that fit the state definition: among them, Swedish, shiatsu, acupressure, and trigger point therapy. Hands-on application is to comprise at least 100 of the required hours in this content area. Contraindications, body mechanics, and hygiene are among the other expected topics.

The student will receive 20 hours of instruction in psychology-related massage therapy topics such as client-therapist relationships, boundaries, communication, and mind-body connection.

The program will provide at least 15 hours each of 1) legalities and professional ethics and 2) business practices related to massage and bodywork practice. Ethics/ law coursework is to cover North Carolina massage and bodywork law.

The remaining 150 hours is for discretionary topics related to massage therapist practice. This category could include up to 100 hours of appropriately supervised fieldwork/ student clinic. Up to 50 hours may be in topics that are not subject to massage therapy licensing mandates.

Massage Therapy Training Program Options

There is potentially room for electives in even a 500-hour program. Some North Carolina programs, though, are 800 hours of more.

North Carolina programs are at least 24 weeks long but, again, may be significantly longer. Many types of scheduling are allowable under state code. A school can offer as many as nine hours of instruction a day, provided that it provides breaks as stipulated in state code.

Programs may award a certificate, diploma, or degree. Community and technical colleges sometimes allow students to begin by earning a diploma, then continue on for an associate’s. The associate’s degree may include advanced massage coursework as well as coursework in subjects like sociology, psychology, and research and writing.

Programs distinguish themselves in different ways. Students may have the opportunity to complete specialized therapeutic massage coursework in areas such as neuromuscular therapy or structural balancing. Some schools have clinics where future massage therapists provide therapeutic services to members of the public; the clientele are people who want massage at a reduced rate.

Students may also consider third party approvals. Some North Carolina massage therapists opt for national board certification as well as licensure. Attendance at a program that has been assigned a code by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork can greatly facilitate this process. North Carolina boasts fully 13 assigned schools (http://www.ncbtmb.org/tools/find-approved-school).

The American Massage Therapy Association, a membership organization for massage therapists, students, and schools, boasts 25 North Carolina member schools. AMTA membership is not akin to accreditation or certification. AMTA, however, can be a good source of basic information about schools.

Career Outlook and Average Salary

North Carolina massage therapy employment has been projected to grow 26.7% over the course of the 2014 to 2024 decade (http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm).

North Carolina massage therapists enjoy an hourly median wage of $20.36 an hour. Wages are higher in Winston-Salem and Raleigh: $25.56 and $23.08, respectively (https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home). Job concentration is highest in Fayetteville and Raleigh. Actual employment levels, meanwhile, are highest in the Charlotte-Concord metropolitan area.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also provided data about what massage therapists at the 10th and 90th percentile in these jurisdictions are earning. Wages are determined by many factors, including work setting; still, these figures give some sense of what many massage therapists are making at the entry-level and what they might aspire to. North Carolina massage therapists at the 10th percentile make $10.03. 10th percentile wages are between $8.00 and $10.00 in most parts of the state. In the Winston-Salem area, though, massage therapists at the 10th percentile are making $15.51; in Fayetteville, they’re making $16.01. North Carolina massage therapists at the 90th percentile, meanwhile, earn $30.84 statewide. In Raleigh, the figure is much higher: $36.58. In Fayetteville, it’s just $23.56. Here, the reported salary range is narrower than in most cities. This doesn’t mean, though, that some aren’t making more.

What’s more, North Carolina massage therapy employment levels have been projected to increase 26.7% during the 2014 to 2024 decade (http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm).