Massage Therapy School in New York City

A massage therapist who gets his or her start in New York City can practice any of many places. New York State sets educational standards higher than most states – requiring fully 1,000 hours of initial training– but there are plenty of schools that have risen to the challenge! There are many employers, too, vying for the best candidates. The job postings go on page after page, and the options are many: at high-end spas and fitness centers, wellness centers, mobile massage companies, even traditional healthcare establishments. Some positions require specialized skills – and here too one is in luck! There are abundant opportunities to develop these skills in the New York metro area.

One can find massage therapists everywhere from the airport to the sports franchise. There are businesses looking for everything from strong assessment skills to bilingual skills. There is a downside, of course – if one is worried about making ends meet, well, this is New York! Some massage therapists receive high hourly pay. Some entrepreneurs do very well economically. New York City even made the Sparefoot 2018 list of best cities for massage therapists ( But those who find money tight can take their 1,000 hours – and any special skills they’ve learned — and cross into a less pricey community.

Popular Massage Schools in NYC

A person who completes training through the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine may ultimately be able to seek multiple credentials. The program is well over 1100 hours (more than 1,200 hours according to methods used certifying bodies) and includes Tui Na medical massage, Shiatsu, and neuromuscular techniques, among other modalities.

The Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences offers an Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS). Here the focus focus is on Five-Element Shiatsu.

Queensborough Community College is a CUNY option. The program is 1,000 hours and results in an Associate of Applied Arts (AOS). A blend of Eastern and Western modalities are taught.

ASA College-Brooklyn offers a 1,000-hour AOS program. Four modalities are covered: Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage and Shiatsu. The school provides both onsite and off-campus practical experiences.

The NYC Fitness and Wellness Market

There’s an active fitness crowd here from the sports professional to the fitness-minded executive; some in the latter category are willing to pay monthly fees for clubs that offer personal training and a range of services. Massage therapy positions may be found in a variety of settings, including physical therapy offices and private practices.

Massage Magazine has included tips on the sports massage therapist career, offered by a former Yankees massage therapist among other professionals ( Massage therapists may provide pre- and post-event services that are tailored to the sport and to the specific needs of the athlete. It can be an asset to have a diverse skill set gleaned from advanced trainings and certification programs. Some sports massage therapists tout their experience working with runners who participate in the New York marathon.

Massage therapists who seek sports massage therapy experience may want to participate in the sports massage team of the American Massage Therapy Association-New York.

Prenatal massage is popular in New York City, as in other places. In this area, too, clients may look for the best. MommyPoppins has profiled the best prenatal massage spots in Manhattan ( and also the best prenatal massage in Brooklyn.

One will find some incorporation of therapeutic massage in senior services. Young at Heart Adult Daycare in Brooklyn, for example, recently advertised for a massage therapist to provide services on a weekly basis.

Massage in Health Care

Massage has gained respect even in the medical community. Mount Sinai provides massage through the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute and the Ruttenberg Treatment Center; the latter is oncology-specific. Mount Sinai has provided summaries of research about massage; it has also provided brief descriptions of specific modalities and their therapeutic potential (

Memorial Sloan Kettering also provides massage for cancer patients.

While many jobs are open to promising newcomers, some want someone with a good deal of experience. One healthcare employer, for example, recently advertised for a massage therapist to work per diem in a pediatric surgery ward; the organization sought candidates who had five years of orthopedic experience.

The Hiring Market

Who is hiring massage therapists in New York City 2019? Many organizations! A spring search finds more ads placed by Massage Envy in the greater New York area than any other company — not surprising perhaps given the size of the franchise. Hand and Stone was also advertising for quite a few franchise locations.

There were also some healthcare organizations in the market, including Memorial Sloan Kettering. One Manhattan wellness center was looking for a massage therapist specifically for lymphatic massage and lymphedema treatment.

Some employers sought massage therapists who could provide corporate or in-home services. Namaste, a provider of in-home wellness services, is a very popular employer. Incorporate also has positive ratings.

Expertise in specialty areas can be a boon. One specialized massage practice in the heart of NYC sought a practitioner who had Ayurvedic massage skills (with Abhyanga as a preferred style).

Some employers paint a clear picture of their ideal match. One massage practice, advertising benefits and a minimum starting wage of $60, cited the ability to communicate with clients as a health professional and also take care of insurance paperwork. They liked to see both spa and healthcare office experience as this would suggest diverse skills, including customer service. Like many businesses, this practice liked experience with various massage modalities. The candidate would need to be able to cover one particular weekend shift. He or she would need to pass a hands-on test.

While some businesses are very specific about which shift(s) need coverage or expect the LMT to be very available to them, others advertise flexibility — indeed, this is very common in the world of therapeutic massage.

Licensed Massage Therapists Pay

Massage therapists in the New York-Newark-Jersey City earned a median wage of $21.88 in 2018, Those at the 90th percentile made $41.28; those at the 10th percentile just $11.80.

Additional Resources

New York Massage License Requirements

Massage Schools in New York State