Ever wonder what it takes to become a massage therapist in Northeastern Pennsylvania? 

Luckily, a massage therapy degree does not require four to eight years of schooling like most medical degrees. 

With only a couple hundred hours of education and training in a trade school, you can launch your massage therapy career in less than one year’s time. 

This guide will provide you with everything you need to become a licensed massage therapist, including degree requirements and post-education requirements. 

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Massage Therapist

Unlike other medical fields, you don’t need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to become a professional massage therapist. 

To become a practicing massage therapist in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to complete at least 600 hours of instruction from a PA State Board-approved school and pass the MBLEx. This training includes hands-on practice as well as practical subjects such as hygiene, ethics, and professional development. 

To become officially licensed, practitioners don’t need to acquire a degree, but they need to pass their PA board-certified MBLEx. This exam is managed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and used by over 40 states in the US to provide proper accreditation.

You can expect to pay upwards of $12,000 or more for any individual massage therapy program. Each program is run by a licensed and experienced therapist who will provide the best training for the MBLEx and your continuing career afterward. 

Prerequisites for Massage Therapy Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to apply for any massage therapy program. However, now is a good time to assess whether or not you have the right skills and disposition for a career in massage therapy. 

Generally, a massage therapist will possess the following skills to be successful in a career in massage therapy:

  • Communication: Therapists must talk to clients throughout sessions to create a relaxing environment and uncover each client’s needs. 
  • Problem-Solving: Therapists must exercise keen judgment to devise unique treatment plans that deliver clients the highest satisfaction. 
  • Ethics: Therapists need to exercise proper judgment when treating medical pain in patients. 
  • Physical Endurance: Therapists are tasked with using their hands and strength to help treat ailments for sessions that can last well over an hour at a time. 
  • Hygiene: Creating a hygienic environment is important for the safety of the therapist and the client. 

With these skills, you’ll be able to work as a massage therapist in multiple fields; the possibilities are endless. 

What’s Involved in a Massage Therapy Education?

Becoming a massage therapist involves mastering both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Most programs, like those at NEPA School of Massage, include coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, ethics, business management, and hands-on practice.

Courses often start with foundational subjects such as the structure and function of the human body. But soon enough, you’ll delve into more specialized areas like Swedish massage. The aim is to let students get comfortable with different techniques so they can adapt to diverse client needs.

The length of these programs varies, but PA requires over 600 hours for completion. Most schools, like the NEPA School of Massage, only last for a little under six months, helping you acquire your massage therapy license in well under one year. 

Continuing Education and Professional Development

States like Pennsylvania have some continuing requirements for students to renew their licenses and maintain their practice. 

When renewing your license, you will be required to complete 24 hours of board-approved coursework. 

Additionally, all massage therapists are required to complete CPR training. 

For the most part, we recommend joining a massage therapy organization to help you complete these requirements, but they are entirely optional. 

The NEPA School of Massage Advantage

Choosing the right school for your massage therapy training and license is a big decision. The NEPA School of Massage offers unique benefits that set it apart from others.

We provide top-notch, comprehensive courses taught by seasoned professionals with years of practical experience under their belts. Our instructors don’t just teach—they inspire, making sure you’re not only ready to pass exams but also excel in real-world scenarios.

We’ve designed our curriculum with flexibility and convenience in mind because we understand life’s unpredictability. Our commitment to hands-on learning sets us apart from the rest, as we prioritize real-life practice when it comes to mastering massage techniques. We believe nothing beats real-life practice when mastering massage techniques—so expect plenty of it.

FAQs: What Degree Do You Need to Be a Massage Therapist?

What is the highest degree for a massage therapist?

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science would be the highest degree for massage therapists seeking advanced knowledge in the medical field.

Is it hard to be a massage therapist?

Becoming a proficient massage therapist requires physical stamina, dexterity, and thorough education. However, with passion and dedication, many find it rewarding.

Do massage therapists like their job?

Most do. Job satisfaction rates are high among massage therapists due to flexible schedules, meaningful client interactions, and opportunities for continuous learning.