There are five massage therapy schools in Delaware. Graduates qualify to apply for certificates or licenses, depending upon their level of education and training. Certificate programs take less than a year to complete.
Curricula typically include courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, massage techniques, and business practices. Students receive real-world experience in clinics on and off campus.
The demand for massage therapists in Delaware reflects the national trend. Federal officials expect the state to have about 30 annual job openings in the field during the decade ending in 2026. To view more schools, in other states, click here.
This seven-member panel is part of the DIvision of Professional Regulation, within the Delaware Department of State. Its “primary objective” is “to protect the public from unsafe practices and practices which tend to reduce competition or fix prices for services.”
The board issues licenses to massage therapists and massage establishments, and awards certificates to massage technicians. It develops standards for professional competency, enacts rules and regulations, and investigates complaints that sometimes lead to disciplinary action.
To become a massage therapist in Delaware, a student must first earn a high school diploma or GED. The next step is to enroll in an accredited school with a massage therapy program that the state board has approved.
Delaware recognizes two career levels. One of them, massage technician certification, requires 300 hours of coursework. This includes at least 60 hours of anatomy and physiology; 140 hours of technique and theory of massage or bodywork therapy; 75 hours of elective massage classes; 25 hours of ethics, laws, and contraindications; and 75 hours of electives.
The second career level is massage therapist licensure. It involves 200 additional hours of coursework, including at least 50 hours of anatomy and physiology and 110 hours of theory and technique.
Students learn a variety of massage bodywork techniques, also called modalities. Delaware’s statute lists the following examples: acupressure, craniosacral therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, reflexology, rolfing, Shiatsu, and Swedish massage. Among other modalities are sports massage, neuro-myo-muscular therapy, warm wood massage, fibromyalgia, and massage for special populations. Most programs feature classes in several techniques.
The state board issues licenses to those who meet educational standards and pass one of two tests: the National Certification Examination, administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB); or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx), administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).
Every two years, massage therapists must renew their licenses by receiving 24 hours of continuing education. Certificate holders are required to obtain 12 hours of continuing education.
This school in Bear offers a 600-hour massage therapist program that takes 33 weeks to complete.
The core courses are Anatomy and Physiology; Massage Theory and Technique; Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues; Contraindications; and Applied Theory and Technique. Electives include Eastern, Oriental, Western, and Ayurvedic Modalities; Reflexology; Sports Massage; Prenatal and Infant Massage; Hydrotherapy; Body Wraps; and Neuromuscular Techniques.
There is also a 300-hour massage technician program. The school pays for all students’ textbooks, CPR certifications, and national Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) fees.
The massage therapist program here in Dagsboro, consists of 600 hours of study and training for 25 weeks. The classes are in the evenings and on weekends. A student clinic provides hands-on experience.
The curriculum includes History and Advancement of Therapeutic Massage, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Massage Business Administration, Equipment and Products, and Classical Massage Movements. Other classes teach complete body, lymph, therapeutic, and special population massage techniques.
Each student receives a massage table and related equipment, and two textbooks: “Massage Therapist Guide to Pathology” and “Trail Guide to the Body.”
The Therapeutic Massage Practitioner Diploma Program at this school involves 30 credit hours in seven months.
Among the courses are Human Anatomy and Physiology; Kinesiology; Pathology; Medical Terminology; Effects, Health Benefits, and Indications and Contraindications of Massage; Business Opportunities and Practices; Professional Ethics; Hydrotherapy; Therapeutic Modalities; Pharmacology; and Massage in Spa Settings, Athletic/Sports Massage, Massage in Medicine.
The typical class size is 15, with about eight students in most labs. The school’s modern 25,000-square-foot building houses the New Beginnings Spa, where students perform Swedish massage for the public.
The program on this campus in Dover entails general education, medical, and business courses. The school touts its “hands-on” training for soft-tissue manipulation and various massage techniques.
There are classes in The Art of Massage Therapy, Complimentary Bodyworks, The Business of Massage Therapy, Kinesiology & Myology, Assessments & Special Populations, Anatomy and Physiology Fundamentals, and Seated Massage.
Students learn how to perform acupressure, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, and Swedish massage. They also receiving training in specialized therapy for special populations such as seniors, pregnant women, and athletes.
The average practitioner in this state makes an annual salary of more than $46,500 (or about $22.50 per hour) — better than the national median of over $41,400 a year (or about $20 an hour).
The top 10 percent of earners receive more than $100,600 (or about $48.50) in Delaware, which significantly exceeds the national average of around $78,300 (or almost $38). For the bottom 10 percent, the pay is about $19,200 (or approximately $9.25) in the state, less than the $21,300-plus (or about $10.25) nationally.
The number of positions for massage therapists in Delaware will increase from 200 in 2016 to 260 in 2026, according to projections by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. That would be a 27 percent job-growth rate, about the same as the predicted 26 percent nationwide.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop