Officials have approved dozens of massage therapy schools in Colorado. Students receive the instruction and training they need to earn licenses to practice in the state.
In addition to teaching various massage techniques, the curricula provide a foundation in human anatomy and physiology, as well as business skills and professional ethics.
This is an excellent place to study. Long known as the Rocky Mountain State, Colorado is renowned for its natural beauty. It offers opportunities for outdoor recreational activities like skiing, which means more clients for massage therapists. Only two states employ more people per capita in the field.
This office regulates individual massage therapists, but not massage businesses or other facilities. Government personnel grant approval to school programs that meet criteria concerning the curricula. They issue licenses to practitioners, investigate complaints and alleged violations of the Message Therapy Practice Act, and impose penalties.
To earn approval, a school must be in good standing with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. The state agency also requires approval by the Colorado Division of Private and Occupational Schools, certification from the Colorado Community College System, or accreditation by a nationally recognized agency.
Officials ensure that individual license applicants have successfully completed a massage therapy school that the state has sanctioned, and that they have professional liability insurance coverage.
Those wishing to become a massage therapist must first obtain a high school diploma or GED. They then need to graduate from an accredited postsecondary school that the Office of Massage Therapy Licensure has approved. The agency requires programs to provide at least 500 hours of study in classrooms and clinics.
Many programs offer more than the minimum. Students who choose curricula with 625 or more hours have better job prospects. The additional coursework affords the chance to specialize in individual areas of interest, like certain types of massage.
Most of the schools award occupational certificates, though some have diploma programs. The coursework and on-the-job training generally require less than a year to complete, though a degree program can take two years.
Upon graduation, the final step is to apply for a state license to practice massage therapy in Colorado.
We selected the schools below based on the programs that they offer, accreditation, student population, graduation rate and reputation.
View our Ranking Methodology to learn more about how we rank schools.
This school in Greeley offers a 750-hour program, including 182 clinic hours, that takes nine months to complete. Students may earn certificates in reflexology or chair massage.
Among the classes are Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, Chair Massage, Hydrotherapy, Entrepreneurship, Neuromuscular Therapy, Communication Skills, Sports Massage, Swedish Massage, and Trigger Point Therapy.
ANT’s facilities include a 20-foot, heated, salt-water therapy pool. Students and licensed therapists serve the public with about 20 kinds of massage and other therapies. They also perform chair massages in the community’s workplaces.
Located in Denver, MTIC gives students several options.
A seven-month, 750-hour massage therapy program covers more than a dozen types of massage, as well as acupressure, yoga therapy, anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, business management, and ethics. Students receive “in-depth clinical experience.” Some classes have student-to-teacher ratios as low as 4:1.
The school also offers a 150-hour Mastery Series Complementary Massage Therapy Program, as well as a 504-hour Advanced Bodywork Training Program. The facilities feature two massage clinics, a spa, and an herbal pharmacy. MTIC houses the School of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
This Fort Collins school has a 36-week, 600-hour program that teaches full-body, Swedish, deep-tissue, sports, and integrative massage. Additional courses focus on corrective bodywork, anatomy and physiology, ergonomics, professional skills, and therapeutic communication skills.
HAI prides itself on its proprietary Body Insight Method, which “combines deep-tissue therapy, active movement, and active awareness.” Instruction takes place in classrooms and a lab. Students get experience performing massages at an on-campus clinic.
On its campus in Lakewood, just outside Denver, CSHA offers a 720-hour program that takes either nine or 12 months to complete. Each classroom has massage tables and other equipment. There are multiple massage clinics on campus.
Required classes are Anatomy, Body Centered Therapy, Business and Wellness, Clinic Massage, Integrative Massage, Palpation of Anatomy, Physiology, Sports Massage, and three levels of other massage methods. In addition, students choose one of the following courses: Infant Massage, Introduction to Polarity, Prenatal Massage, or Seated Massage.
With 30 massage therapy schools in 13 states, Cortiva has more than 100,000 alumni. Its Colorado locations are in Aurora and Westminster.
Students can earn a diploma in as little as seven and a half months. Day and evening classes are available. All faculty members are practicing specialists.
In addition to classroom studies, the program features work in a public clinic. Students take part in internships, and are automatically members of a professional organization that provides free liability insurance. Cortiva maintains contacts with more than 1,000 employers.
The Institute of Business and Medical Careers is a vocational college that awards diplomas on campuses in Longmont, Fort Collins, and Greeley. The 10-month massage therapy program consists of 43 credit hours.
The classes are Medical Terminology and Anatomy Basics, Pathology, Introduction to Therapeutic Massage Principles, Therapeutic Modalities, Swedish Massage, Neuromuscular and Myofascial Therapies, Hydrotherapy and Eastern Modalities, Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Review, Applied Kinesiology, Upper Body, Lower Body, Career Marketing Strategies, and Psychology of Success.
Students also receive hundreds of hours of training during externships in business and healthcare settings.
This massage, barber, and beauty school has campuses in three Southwest states, including one in Colorado’s largest city. The 600-hour massage therapy program includes 276 hours of supervised, hands-on experience in workshops and real-world settings.
Students learn Swedish, deep tissue, and lymphatic massage; as well as reflexology, trigger points, hydrotherapy, polarity, energy balancing, acupressure, aromaology, and Ayurveda. There are also classes in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and business skills.
Students at this public school in Delta County enjoy the lowest tuition rate of any postsecondary institutions in Colorado.
The one-semester, 600-plus-hour massage therapy program includes more than 200 hours of practical experience in the school’s clinic. All the instructors are licensed professionals.
The courses are Complementary Healing Methods, Advanced Musculoskeletal Anatomy, High Level Wellness, Anatomical Kinesiology, Community First Aid and CPR, Anatomy and Physiology, Ethics, Basic Massage Therapy, Professional Massage, Clinical Massage, Business Practices, Pathology, and Spa Therapy.
Students who prefer pursuing their education in a rural setting may want to consider this school, which has campuses in two small towns. The campus just west of Craig offers a two-semester occupational certificate program in massage therapy that is designed to take one year to complete.
The required classes are Basic Massage Therapy, Professional Massage, Clinical Massage, Business Practices, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Managing Life’s Stresses.
Students learn numerous massage methods, such as Swedish, deep tissue, pregnancy, reflexology, sports, muscle releases, lymphatic, craniosacral, hot stone, trigger point, Thai, and myofascial release.
Students may receive massage therapy training on campuses in Pueblo or Grand Junction. The latter site is one of the few vocational institutions on Colorado’s Western Slope.
The 750-hour program, which involves 45 credit hours in classrooms and labs, may be completed in nine months. The curriculum covers Swedish, therapeutic, and deep tissue techniques, as well as massage for specific injuries; detailed client assessments; session documentation; and treatment planning.
Among the other classes are Anatomy and Physiology, Kinesiology, Ethics, and Clinical Massage and Marketing.
This venerable institution traces its history to 1925. Both campuses, in Trinidad and Alamosa, offer certificates in massage therapy.
The 45-week program begins with a Meditation for Health class about how to stimulate the mind-body connection. Students then learn the theory and physiological benefits of massage. The next course teaches techniques such as full-body massage, Swedish massage, foot reflexology, and seated massage.
Other classes cover basic anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, pathology, massage for special populations, and business practices. Students spend additional time in college clinics and as interns in real-world settings.
Located in downtown Denver, this is a public school with a five-month massage therapy program.
Students get practical experience at local massage parlors, as well as at the on-campus Emily’s Massage Clinic — which also houses a spa, salon, and cafe. Professional therapists lead workshops, students visit area employers, and there is a field trip to a human cadaver lab.
The courses include Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Ethics, Basic Massage Therapy, Professional Massage, Pathology, and Business Practices. Students also must complete a capstone project.
FRCC offers an associate of applied science degree in Integrated Health and Massage Therapy on its Westminster campus. All the school’s sites (including those in Larimer, Boulder County, and Brighton Center) award certificates in massage therapy, aromatherapy, and reflexology.
Four semesters are required for the AAS. In addition to massage therapy courses and training, students take general education classes like English and math. They may specialize in massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, aromatherapy, or another area.
Coursework for the three-semester certificate programs covers anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, and massage techniques. Students take part in two clinical rotations.
The average pay for a practitioner in this state (more than $42,600 annually or nearly $21 per hour) is a bit higher than the national median (about $40,000 a year or over $19 an hour). The top 10 percent of massage therapists make a salary of almost $73,000 or an hourly wage of about $35 in Colorado, compared with about $77,500 and over $37 nationwide.
The number of positions in the field will increase from the 9,620 reported in 2016 to 12,600 in 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That would be a 31 percent job-growth rate, significantly better than the projected U.S. average of 26 percent.
The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood region ranks second in the country for the number of massage therapists per capita. Boulder, Fort Collins, and northwest Colorado also place high on the list.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop