A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Texas: What to Know

In February of 2017, Massage Magazine featured a story about a nonprofit that was using massage to improve the quality of life for cancer patients in Texas and Oregon (https://www.massagemag.com/oncology-massage-brings-pain-relief-cancer-patients-43585/). Providing care for individuals suffering from serious acute illness: It’s one of many ways massage therapists are using their training and their credentials. For many, massage is a calling. A plus: The training is shorter than it is for many other healing professions.

Select a Texas Massage Therapy School Topic:

Texas Massage Therapy School Standards

All Texas massage therapy schools teach an approved 500-hour curriculum. The program includes the following:

  • 200 hours of theory, technique, and practice
  • 50 hours of anatomy, 50 hours of physiology, and 25 hours of kinesiology
  • 40 hours of pathology
  • 45 combined hours of professional ethics, laws and rules, and business practices
  • 20 hours of health and hygiene topics (to include CPR, first aid, and universal precautions)
  • 20 hours of hydrotherapy
  • 50 hours of internship

No less than 125 of the theory, technique, and practice hours will be devoted to Swedish massage. This is the basic modality at the root of Western massage. Students can expect to learn a range of basic techniques for manipulating soft tissue; they will understand the physiological effects and benefits as well as the motions.

Students who attend Texas-approved massage therapy programs will have some common experiences. They will be provided with a number of documents before the start of classes. Students can expect their education to be divided into at least four grading periods and have some form of evaluation during each. They will begin the internship experience no fewer than 250 hours into the program.

Like many states, Texas has schools that are accredited by national organizations and those that are not. In Texas, there are some differences in standards between the two.

Longer Massage Training Program Options

Schools that wish to offer programs longer than 500 hours apply to the Board for permission. A non-accredited school must meet stringent requirements. It must first design a basic 500-hour program. It must provide clear objectives for coursework beyond the basic program. (The Board has encouraged schools to consider how they will know their students are ready for the extra coursework and why it is included in the initial program and not an advanced one.)

Students who enroll through a non-accredited school will be given a choice of signing up for the basic program or signing up for the program that includes the additional approved coursework and/ or extended internship experience; they will receive written acknowledgment that they are signing up for something beyond what is needed for licensure. The Board may approve programs with up to 880 hours of classroom instruction and up to 120 hours of internship -- a person who wishes to practice massage beyond 120 hours is expected to take the licensing examination and become licensed.

Accredited schools, on the other hand, may offer something above the basic 500-hour program as their standard program.

Education for Certification and Advanced Credentialing

Some Texas massage therapists, like those in other states, seek board certification, a second voluntary credential. It is not a replacement for licensing but may represent in some ways a higher standard; the board certification examination is designed to be beyond the entry-level. Board certification is awarded by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The NCBTMB also distinguishes between accredited and non-accredited programs but in a different manner; non-accredited programs are scrutinized more before assignment of a testing code. Texas has 14 assigned schools; Houston, Dallas, and Austin each boast multiple options.

The NCBTMB makes distinctions based on program length, but again, in a different way. The NCBTMB minimum initial program length is also 500 hours. Before a person can become board-certified, however, he or she must complete 750 hours of education. If the initial assigned program was less than 750 hours, the candidate can meet additional educational requirements through NCBTMB-approved continuing education or college/ university credits.

Texas has far more NCBTMB-approved continuing education providers than initial providers. Some think of continuing education as brief courses that a person takes to maintain his or her credential(s), but this is not always the case. It can be an opportunity to significantly augment one’s skills. Among the NCBTMB-approved Texas offerings: a 168-hour course in clinical massage therapy.

After Graduation: Career Outlook and Average Salary

Massage therapy is a growing profession nationwide, but Texas shows some of the strongest growth, as measured by percentage as well as sheer numbers. The expectation is that across the 2014 to 2024 decade,Texas massage therapist employment will increase from a base of 9,760 to 12,540; this represents 28.4% growth.

The median hourly wage for a Texas massage therapist is $16.75. Half the state’s massage therapists have hourly pay between $11.94 and $25.10; one fourth fall on either end of this range. Pay is influenced by industry and employer as well as geography.

The Austin-Round Rock area has the second highest median hourly wage for massage therapists in the state: $21.65. It has the highest job concentration, and by no small amount – this is an area of the state where massage is valued. The much smaller College Station-Bryan metropolitan area, though, posts a higher median: $23.21.

The more populous Dallas-Plano-Irving and Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan areas have comparable massage therapist employment levels to Austin. The median hourly wage in the Dallas-Plano-Irving area is $19.14; in the greater Houston area it is $13.47. The median hourly wage in the San Antonio/ New Braunfels area, meanwhile, is $15.16.