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Massage School vs. Traditional College

Updated: Mar 1

Time to Complete

  • Massage therapy school: The average course completion time is 1 year.

  • Traditional college: The average course completion is 2-4 years depending on if you’re pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Classes and Coursework

  • Massage therapy school: Students at massage therapy schools receive more practical training with specific coursework focuses on hands-on training in the classroom and clinical settings.

  • Traditional college: Training relies on memorization, and coursework includes general education classes unrelated to massage therapy such as literature, humanities, etc. Hands-on training isn’t emphasized and is often limited.


  • Massage therapy school: Tuition is a set rate that includes the coursework and materials.

  • Traditional college: Tuition may be yearly or per credit hour depending on program and might not include materials.

Career Outlook

The career outlook and starting pay for professional massage therapists depends on the industry one decides to practice in. Unlike other careers, having a postsecondary degree doesn’t influence a person’s earnings. Graduates from massage therapy schools and traditional colleges can make the same salary.

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