Massage Therapy School in Sacramento, CA

For many, a massage therapy career is largely about lifestyle. It’s about helping people feel better while creating one’s own path.

The National Holistic Institute places massage therapy careers in five general categories: holistic, professional, athletic, luxury lifestyle, and entrepreneurial. The professional category consists largely of healthcare organizations like hospitals, chiropractic offices and physical therapy offices, while the holistic category includes massage clinics as well as rehabilitation centers, wellness centers, and even natural health stores.

The lines can blur between categories – there’s a lot of innovation out there – but it can be good to hone one’s skills to suit the intended clientele.

Massage Therapy Schools in Sacramento

The California Massage Therapy Council maintains a list of certification-qualifying Massage programs. All are at least 500 hours.

The National Holistic Institute-Sacramento offers a program significantly longer than what’s required for certification in California. The core program is 800 hours. It addresses a variety of Eastern and Western massage styles. The National Holistic Institute also offers a 450-hour advanced neuromuscular program. The neuromuscular program includes concepts like clinical sports massage, injury rehabilitation, assessment of client needs, and collaboration with other health professionals.

The Massage Therapy Institute (Davis) offers a 500-hour certification program with lots of opportunities for customization. Students complete a 96-hour massage fundamentals course and a minimum of 64 hours of qualifying anatomy coursework. Most of the remainder of the program consists of continuing education, though there is a small pharmacology requirement. Students may credit more anatomy coursework. The Massage Therapy Institute offers large blocks of advanced/ specialist coursework in the following areas: medical massage, acupressure, Ortho-Biometry, cranial sacral therapy and Thai massage. Ortho-Bionomy is an osteopath-developed approach that supports pain relief.

Fair Oaks Massage Institute offers a 500-hour certificate program. Reiki and cupping are among the continuing education opportunities for 2019-2020.

Massage Therapy Credentialing in California

The process of authorization is a little different in California than in most states, and varies from one jurisdiction to another. California doesn’t have a statewide license per se, but it does have a statewide certification that is issued by a third party and recognized throughout the state. In some cases, a massage therapist may be authorized without state certification. Fair Oaks Massage Institute has provided some general information about authorization in Sacramento, noting information may change.

Massage therapists sometimes opt for certification beyond the entry level. There are not as many national board certified practitioners in this area as in some others; it’s a big step up from California certification.

Choosing Sacramento

People love massage. People love California. So how does Sacramento stack up?

Sacramento is sometimes defined by what it’s not. It’s not as expensive as the big cities on the coast. It is no San Francisco. It is, however, more expensive than Fresno. There’s a different vibe. It’s got the population density. It’s got the bike program. It’s got amenities like sporting events that draw people. It’s growing at a faster rate.

Sacramento has a massage therapist job concentration above the average. The metropolitan area is huge — the fifth largest in California. There are a lot of jobs here, but there are also a lot of relatively low paying jobs. A massage therapist in the Sacramento area will benefit from skill and savvy. Massage therapists can develop advanced skills in any of many areas.

Fortunately, it’s not just jobs this area has. There are also ample educational opportunities. Local massage schools offer in-depth training in specialized modalities to massage therapists who already hold certification as well as those who are seeking initial training.

There are many self-employed massage therapists commanding good hourly figures.

Massage Therapist Businesses in Sacramento

One will find quite a few franchises and national massage businesses here. Massage Envy franchises dot the Sacramento metropolitan area. Massage Heights also has a presence as do the mobile and in-home giants Soothe and Zeel.

Soothe, known nationwide for providing massage on-demand, was advertising in Sacramento in late 2019, touting high payment rates and the ability to set one’s own hours as well as the systems it has in place for therapist safety. A client can build a clientele through the re-booking feature. Soothe has been in the news more than once. A partnership between Soothe and City of Hope allow cancer patients and their caregivers to receive free chair massage at a Duarte hospital.

Sacramento also has plenty of its own businesses, many of which are therapist-founded. The following are among the diverse local providers:

Sacramento Massage Studio has six CMTs on its team. The massage menu includes styles like Swedish, deep tissue and trigger point, as well as integrative massage which blends modalities according to client need.

Chaiyo Thai Massage boasts a number of variants on Thai massage, including Thai Therapeutic Massage, Thai Hot Herbal Massage, and Thai Aroma Massage. Some massages are hybrids; the foot massage draws from Chinese Tuina and Indian Ayurvedic, among other traditions.

The Blue Sky Day Spa is an award-winning day spa with a long history in Sacramento. It was started by a massage therapist. Patrons can opt for a whole body massage or one that focuses on a particular trouble area.

Massage for Special Populations

Massage therapists may develop expertise with special populations.

Dignity Health Cancer Center of Greater Sacramento provides free foot massage to patients undergoing infusion treatment. Services are provided by a massage therapist who is certified in oncology massage.

Among those who can benefit from massage are the dying. Some hospice organizations are moving beyond volunteer services and even beyond use of contractors. One local healthcare system advertised in late 2019 for a full-time massage therapist who could do hospice. They asked two years of experience and touted a generous benefits package that included tuition reimbursement.

Some massage therapists become involved with special populations without responding to a particular job call. They may develop their expertise in areas like geriatric massage and then market their services.

Sacramento Massage Therapist Salary

Sacramento massage therapists earned an average wage of $17.47 in 2018. Those at the 10th percentile earned $11.25 while those at the 90th percentile earned $24.86. Self-employed massage therapists are not included in the data.

More Resources

Massage Therapist Certification in California

Massage Schools in California