How long does it take to become a Massage Therapist

For those who are passionate about assisting others in relaxing, relieving pain, and improving general well-being, being a massage therapist can be a fulfilling career decision. Before starting down this road, it’s crucial to realize how much time and effort it takes to become a certified and licensed massage therapist.

In this article, we will explore the typical timeline and steps involved in becoming a massage therapist.

Step 1: Research and Decision Making (1-3 months)

The first step in becoming a massage therapist is to research the field and assess your interest and aptitude for the profession. This phase involves gathering information about massage therapy schools, understanding the scope of practice, and considering the potential career prospects. It may take anywhere from one to three months to conduct thorough research and make an informed decision about pursuing massage therapy as a career.

Step 2: Education and Training (6 months – 2 years)

To become a massage therapist, formal education and training are essential. The duration of massage therapy programs can vary depending on the country, state, or region. In general, programs can range from six months to two years. Some programs may offer part-time or accelerated options, allowing students to complete their training in a shorter timeframe.

Massage therapy programs cover various subjects such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, ethics, and hands-on massage techniques. Students learn different massage modalities, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, and more. Practical training is a crucial component, where students practice their skills under the supervision of experienced instructors.

Step 3: Licensing and Certification (Varies by jurisdiction)

Once you have completed your education and training, the next step is to obtain the necessary licenses or certifications required to practice as a massage therapist. The requirements for licensure vary by jurisdiction. In some regions, passing a standardized exam, such as the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), is necessary. Other jurisdictions may have additional requirements, such as background checks or practical exams.

It’s important to research the specific licensing requirements in your area and ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria. Some jurisdictions may also require massage therapists to complete continuing education courses to maintain their licensure.

Step 4: Continuing Education and Specializations (Ongoing)

The learning process doesn’t stop after obtaining licensure. Many massage therapists choose to pursue continuing education courses and workshops to enhance their skills and expand their knowledge in specific areas of interest. These courses can focus on advanced massage techniques, specialized modalities (such as prenatal massage or oncology massage), or complementary therapies like aromatherapy or reflexology.

Continuing education not only allows massage therapists to refine their techniques but also helps them stay updated with the latest research, trends, and industry standards.


Becoming a massage therapist requires dedication, time, and a commitment to learning. The entire process, from researching the profession to obtaining licensure, can take anywhere from one to three years. It’s important to remember that the timeline may vary depending on factors such as the region, program duration, and individual circumstances.

A career in massage therapy can be rewarding if you have a real interest in the human body, a strong sense of compassion for others, and a love of the healing powers of touch. You can start a wonderful road toward becoming a certified massage therapist by following the procedures indicated in this article and putting in the necessary time and effort.

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