A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Utah: Must See State Specific Requirements for Massage Training

Utah has multiple licensing routes, allowing a person to be licensed on the basis of Board-approved internship. In this state, however, as in others, a prospective massage therapist can generally expect to attend massage therapy school. The state has set specific requirements for training.

Massage therapy education typically results in a certificate or diploma. A student may complete a program in about six months’ time.

Select a Utah Massage Therapy School Topic:

Utah Massage School Standards

The general expectation is 600 hours of education earned through an approved school.

A program can be authorized on the basis of registration by the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection or by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Prospective students can look up registration status on the website of the Division of Consumer Protection (https://consumerprotection.utah.gov/consumerinfo/lists.html).

A Utah program will provide no less than 125 hours in the combined areas of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. Pathology is a separate content area, requiring a minimum 40 hours of study.

The program will need to provide at least 285 hours of instruction in massage theory, techniques, and hands-on instruction. This content area is to include the five basic Swedish massage strokes.

Business practices, professional standards, and ethics receive 35 hours of coverage; sanitation, first aid, and closely related content areas receive 15.

A Utah student will need fully 100 hours of clinic. (Not all states set a clinic requirement, though Utah is far from the only state to have done so. Utah, moreover, sets the requirement higher than some others that have institutionalized it.)

It is possible to be approved in Utah based on having attended a recognized program in another state. In some cases, though, a person who has had massage therapy education elsewhere will need to complete supplementary coursework in Utah.

Massage Program Types and Options

Massage therapy programs are offered through a diverse group of institutions. Career schools may be specifically focused on massage. Some, though, are focused on beauty and esthetics, offering programs in disciplines such as nail care as well as massage. (Massage is, after all, often offered together with beauty treatments in spa and resort settings.)

The massage therapy curriculum varies. Swedish is the basic Western modality referenced in state code, but programs may include various other bodywork modalities: reflexology, acupressure, trigger point therapy, even Tok-Sen and Gua-Sha. They may include offerings that are geared to specific types of practice (e.g. sports massage). It is common to include complementary modalities such as the hydrotherapy practices that are so often employed in spa settings. Programs have different underlying philosophies regarding their approach toward massage and their beliefs about why they are effective. Some students may want to learn about chakras while others prefer to focus more on modern science; the two aren’t necessarily exclusive.

Some programs boast 800 or even 900 hours of instruction. Programs may be planned out in their entirety or may leave room for the student to select electives from offerings such as the Feldenkrais method or clinical orthopedic massage. Students shouldn’t feel they need to get everything into that initial program, however. Many massage therapy schools are also continuing education providers. There is a well-recognized distinction between what’s necessary for competent massage practice and what’s ideal for building careers in different settings.

Some Utah massage therapy schools are accredited by organizations such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

For some students, it is a factor whether the school has been assigned a code by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This facilitates the board certification process; board certification is a voluntary process that some practitioners opt for in order to validate their expertise. Utah has six assigned schools (http://www.ncbtmb.org/tools/find-approved-school). They are often longer programs, in part because board certification rests on a higher total education attainment than does Utah licensure. It is not, however, necessary that the program include the full 750 hours that will eventually be required.

Post-Certificate Training in Animal Massage

A Utah massage therapist who wishes to perform animal massage will need 60 hours of training in this specialized practice area. The training will cover quadruped anatomy and massage therapy and will include supervised quadruped practice.

After Graduation: Career Outlook and Average Salary

Utah massage therapists enjoy a median hourly wage of $15.79.

Massage therapists in the St. George area enjoy the highest average in the state, with an hourly median of $25.71, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those at the 10th percentile earn $9.98; those at the 90th percentile, $30.20. The median in the Provo/ Orem area is $17.23. In the Ogden/ Clearfield area, the median is $16.68. In Salt Lake City, the median is a lower $13.18. With so many employed in this area, though, there are opportunities to go much higher: 10% make above $19.55.

The Wasatch Back nonmetropolitan area has the highest job concentration in the state when measured as massage therapist jobs per thousand total jobs. In fact, this area has the third highest job concentration of any nonmetropolitan area of the United States.

The more populous areas of Utah not surprisingly have more total jobs. Job concentration in Utah is above that of the United States in general – the western part of the country tends to have more than its share of massage therapists.

Chances are the massage therapist workforce will be going up even higher. Utah has been projected to see 40.9% massage therapist occupational growth during the 2014 to 2024 decade: one of the highest rates in the nation (http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm).