There are several massage therapy schools in Hawaii, on the islands of Oahu and Maui. They are privately owned colleges and academies offering programs that entail less than a year of study.
The schools award certificates or diplomas that qualify graduates to apply to the state board for licensure. Each curriculum features classroom lectures, lab training, and clinical experiences.
Massage therapists are well paid in the Aloha State, with salaries and wages exceeding the national average. About 300 job openings are likely each year from 2016-26, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You might also be interested in finding a massage school in another state.
This board is a department in the state Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ division of Professional & Vocational Licensing. It licenses massage therapists and apprentices, as well as establishments.
The panel adopts standards for MT schools regarding total content hours and the amount of instruction in certain subjects. It determines the post-graduation testing required to qualify for a license to practice in Hawaii, and enacts rules for renewing licenses.
An additional mandate is to conduct investigations and hold hearings concerning alleged violations of laws and ethics. The board’s website provides a form for filing complaints against practitioners or businesses.
The five-member board consists of three licensed massage therapists and two people who represent state residents.
Upon receiving a high school or general education diploma, attending a postsecondary institution is essential to become a massage therapist in Hawaii.
The school must be nationally accredited and provide a program that complies with the state board’s minimum standards. The curriculum needs to total 570 or more contact hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training. This is to include at least 50 hours of courses in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology.
Another 100 hours must be committed to topics such as client assessment, massage procedures, techniques for clients with certain conditions, contraindications, draping, hygiene, and recordkeeping. There have to be 420 hours of real-world experience in a student clinic or other facility, under the supervision of instructors or licensed massage therapists.
Some curricula go beyond these criteria. They may expose students to a greater variety of massage modalities, train them to establish their own businesses, or allow for additional time in clinics.
Unlike most states, Hawaii does not require license applicants to take a national certification test. Instead, students need to register for a state exam that addresses physiology, anatomy, massage history and theory, clinical situations, and laws and regulations. A score of 75% or better is necessary to pass the 100-question test, which Prometric administers on five Hawaiian islands.
Students might want to consider signing up for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). They will probably need to do so if their careers lead them to other states. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards is the contact agency.
Those practicing in the field must fill out an online license renewal form on the board’s website every second year. There are no continuing education requirements.
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 Kailua, on the island of Oahu, awards certificates that involve 600 contact hours of study.
There are two options: an “intensive,” eight-month program during the day that takes eight months to complete; and a part-time, evening and Saturday schedule that lasts about 11.5 months. Students learn massage methods for special populations such as athletes, seniors, pregnant women, terminally ill clients, people suffering from traumatic injuries, and those who are physically and mentally challenged. The curriculum emphasizes “professional development, personal growth, and self discovery.”
The school also has a 200-content-hour, post-graduate clinical massage program.
Located in the Pearl Kai Shopping Center in Aiea, this institution boasts that it is the best massage school on the island of Oahu. The “overall goal” of instructors is to “help you get back in touch with your body so that you can truly help your current or future clients.”
The program, which one former student praised for its “flexible hours,” covers the state-required coursework and provides additional classes. Among the techniques that students learn are Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, and therapeutic massage.
Originally a massage salon, this Honolulu business expanded in 1983 by adding a school. It has graduated more than 4,000 students. The program is recognized by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), which mandates 750 contact hours.
Courses teach massage methods such as Swedish, sports, and Hawaiian hot stone; as well as foot reflexology and techniques based on ancient Chinese healing arts. Lomi Lomi massage is “interwoven within the historic and ancient Hawaiian cultural, religious, and spiritual experience.”
Students here attend classes in Kahului, on the island of Maui. The MT curriculum’s 600 content hours meet state requirements, with an additional 30 hours in massage theory. The part-time program takes seven months to finish.
Courses address Swedish massage, Lomi Lomi, Thai massage, deep tissue therapy, hot stone massage, and “several other modalities.” Additional classes teach business skills and client communication. Graduates are prepared for careers in clinical and spa settings.
The school’s student salon provides opportunities for program participants to practice the skills they have acquired. Services include half-hour and one-hour massages, with a hot stone add-on option.
For most of those practicing massage therapy in Hawaii, the pay is about $57,750 annually or $27.75 hourly. This is more than the United States medians of over $41,400 or nearly $20.
Those among the leading 10% receive about $99,100 or $47.65 in Hawaii, better than the approximately $78,300 or $37.65 nationally. The state’s lowest 10% make more than $24,000 or about $11.60, topping the U.S. averages of around $21,350 or $10.25.
Hawaii was the home of 2,310 massage therapists in 2016. There will be 2,770 practitioners in 2026—a 20 percent rate of growth–if federal labor officials are right in their projections. The expected nationwide job expansion is 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop
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