Hoosier State residents have several options for obtaining the education and training they need to pursue careers in this field.
Colleges and schools in cities and small towns offer state-approved programs. Some provide offer technical certificates that take less than a year to earn, while others award two-year associate’s degrees.
Students attend courses in classrooms and labs, and get practical experience in real-world settings. Graduates are qualified to take a licensure test to practice in Indiana.
The future is bright for massage therapists here. Officials predict 500 annual job openings during the decade ending in 2026. You might also be interested in viewing our full list of top massage therapy schools in the U.S.
This state government office, a division of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, regulates massage therapists. It ensures that practitioners have graduated from approved schools that offer programs meeting certain educational standards.
The board investigates complaints, conducts investigations, and penalizes massage therapists who violate state laws or regulations. It requires practitioners to apply for license renewals, which entails receiving continuing education.
The governor appoints five board members, including three massage therapists who have practiced in Indiana for at least five years. The other two members represent the public.
To become a massage therapist in Indiana, a student needs a high school diploma or GED. The next step is to attend an accredited school with a program that complies with state criteria. The curriculum must total at least 625 clock hours of “supervised classroom and hands-on instruction.”
Typical coursework includes anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, pathology, massage history and theory, business practices, ethics, and laws and regulations. Schools vary in the types of massage techniques and other therapies their programs cover.
After graduating, a prospective massage therapist needs a state license to practice in Indiana. One of the licensure requirements is to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Test registration, which involves a large fee, is available on the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards website.
The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions addressing client assessment, treatment plans, benefits and physiological effects of massage techniques, pathology with contraindications, treatment for special populations, ethics, laws and regulations.
Students register for the MBLEx with Pearson VUE. They use computers to take the exam at testing centers in Indianapolis, Merrillville, and Evansdale.
A group of massage therapists founded this Indianapolis school, formerly known as Indiana Massage College. Classes start in January, April, July, and September.
The Diploma of Sports and Medical Massage Program entails 900 hours of instruction and training, far exceeding the state’s minimum requirement. The curriculum takes 12 months of full-time study to complete. There are day and evening classes. Program participants perform massages in a student clinic that is open to the public.
Graduates’ pass rate on the MBLEx licensure test is nearly 20 percent better than the state average. The school provides career services.
This is the state’s oldest existing massage school, in a small town about 45 miles outside Indianapolis.
Students have three options. The 600-plus-hour, 42-week Professional Swedish Massage Therapy Program teaches 105 massage techniques. In addition to the usual core courses, there are Nutrition, Acupressure, and Infant and Sports Massage classes. Students receive CPR and self-defense training.
Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program participants also get the patented Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy Level I training. The Comprehensive Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program adds Pfrimmer training for equines, canines, and felines.
This institution bills itself as “the only full-service spa school in Indiana.” Its massage therapy programs are available on campuses in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Sellersburg, and Terre Haute.
Students may pursue either a three-semester, 42-credit-hour technical certificate or a four-semester, 60-credit-hour associate’s degree in massage therapy. The curricula cover relaxation, therapeutic, deep-tissue, and sports massage; as well as techniques for pregnant women, children, seniors, and the disabled.
Program participants administer massages to the public in a student clinic. There are also field trips that provide opportunities to treat special population clientele.
The average Indiana practitioner makes an annual salary of nearly $37,000 (or an hourly wage of almost $18), less than the national median of about $41,500 a year (or around $20 per hour).
However, the top 10 percent of the state’s earners receive significantly more than their peers elsewhere – about $115,000 (or over $55.30), compared with $78,000-plus (or nearly $38) nationally. For the bottom 10 percent, the pay is about $24,600 (or approximately $12) in Indiana; and over $21,300 (or about $10.25) nationwide.
There were 3,710 massage therapists in this state in 2016. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number will rise to 4,540 by 2016. That would be a 22 percent job-growth rate, slower than the national median of 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop