There are seven accredited massage therapy schools in Connecticut. They provide the instruction and training necessary to qualify for licensure and obtain employment in the state.
A student may earn a certificate at a community college, technical institute, career school, or massage therapy institute. Campus settings range from the New York City metropolitan area to rural upstate Connecticut.
The job prospects are good for massage therapists in the Constitution State. The federal government predicts there will be 360 annual job openings in the field during the decade ending in 2026.
View the list of schools in Connecticut below, or click here to view schools in other states.
This state does not have a separate board that regulates practitioners or facilities. A division of the Connecticut Department of Health, the Massage Therapist Licensure department, certifies license applicants’ qualifications to practice in the state.
Officials base the decision on whether a student has earned a certificate from an approved school, and passed the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The department also sets the rules for license renewals and continuing education requirements. It investigates complaints, and penalizes those who violate laws and regulations.
All programs must involve at least 500 clock hours of coursework and clinical experience. However, 750 hours are necessary for recognition by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
The board’s approval is not required for a school’s licensure in Connecticut. An alternative is certification by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.
An NCBTMB-assigned school must teach 125 hours of body systems, anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology; 40 hours of pathology; and 10 hours of business and ethics. Accredited curricula also feature at least 200 hours of supervised instruction in real-world settings.
That leaves 125 or more hours for courses that vary depending upon the school. Programs offer instruction in various kinds of bodywork, such as acupressure, Swedish massage, and deep-tissue massage. Some schools operate their own public clinics, while others have affiliations with off-campus facilities.
After graduating from a school and earning a certificate, the next step to become a massage therapist in Connecticut is to take the MBLEx. Applicants need to contact the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards to be approved for the test. This entails a fee of about $200. Students take the exam at Pearson VUE assessment centers in Norwalk, the Hartford area, and the New Haven area.
The state mandates that practitioners renew their licenses every two years. To qualify, a therapist must complete 135 hours of education in a refresher course or pass the Prometric Licensing Examination. The renewal fee is more than $250.
Another requirement is to receive 24 hours of continuing education once every four years. Some online courses are available, but no more than six hours may be earned in Internet-based or distance-learning programs. Up to 12 hours can come from programs the NCBTMB has not approved.
This school, with campuses in Branford and Southington, touts its “longevity in the community and excellent reputation with employers.”
The massage therapy curriculum covers anatomy and physiology, the art of massage therapy, massage therapy job essentials, and client assessment. Students take courses in classical massage techniques and advanced therapeutic procedures, as well as business skills.
The program includes an internship at an off-campus massage therapy facility to gain hands-on experience. Career placement services help students find employment.
There are full-time and part-time options for this program, which consists of 800 clock hours. A student can earn a certificate in as little as eight months by taking day classes, or with 12 months of evening sessions.
Students gain a basic understanding of anatomy, physiology, and pathology. They learn Swedish, sports, therapeutic, and deep-tissue massage; plus acupressure, reflexology, Shiatsu, trigger-point therapy, pregnancy massage, hydrotherapy, and energy bodywork. There are also classes concerning effective communication with other healthcare professionals and clients.
The school operates its own student clinic and provides career assistance.
This company’s campus in the Hartford suburb of Newington offers a 900-hour program, with day or evening classes that are available full-time or part-time.
Students learn a “spectrum of therapeutic methods,” old and new; and take part in clinical internships. There is an on-campus student clinic.
The school pays its graduates for the license exam and testing fees. Students receive automatic membership in the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the largest national organization in its field, which provides free liability insurance.
Cortiva has relationships with thousands of employers, some of whom reimburse students’ tuition.
The average practitioner in the state makes nearly $38,500 a year or about $18.50 per hour, slightly less than the national median of around $41,500 or almost $20.
The top 10 percent of Connecticut massage therapists receive salaries of approximately $67,400 or hourly wages of about $32.50. That compares with around $78,300, or more than $37.50, nationwide. The bottom 10 percent earn about $23,800 or $11.50 in the state, above the national median of nearly $21,500 and $10.50.
In 2016, there were 2,660 positions for massage therapists in Connecticut. That will increase to 3,280 by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the prediction proves to be true, it will be a 23 percent job-growth rate — somewhat slower than the projected national rate of 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop