There are 17 massage therapy schools in Louisiana. Students may choose from a menu of private institutions and public colleges. Campuses are in cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as in smaller communities.
These schools award certificates or diplomas that require a year or less of full-time study to complete. Instruction takes place in classrooms and labs, as well as during supervised clinical training in real-world settings.
The massage therapy field’s growth in the Pelican State reflects a nationwide trend. Labor authorities believe there will be about 90 job openings for practitioners each year through 2026.
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The LBMT is a state office that regulates the practice of massage. It issues licenses to practitioners who obtain a specified level of education, pass an examination, and submit to a criminal background check. The board establishes and enforces licensure renewal and continuing education mandates, approving CE providers and programs.
Another responsibility is to license massage establishments that employ more than one practitioner, and register those with a single therapist. The board ensures that businesses renew their licenses and registrations every year.
These officials also receive compliments and complaints about practitioners and establishments, referring allegations of criminal conduct to local law enforcement agencies. The board takes disciplinary action against those who violate standards and ethics of the state’s Licensed Massage Therapy Practice Act.
There are six board members, four of whom are licensed massage therapists. The other member represents consumers.
The process to become a massage therapist in Louisiana begins with graduating from high school or obtaining a general educational development diploma. College-prep courses in science, health, and business give students a head start on their careers.
The state board licenses only those who graduate from accredited massage therapy schools that offer programs with at least 500 content hours of instruction and training. The curriculum must include 325 hours of classes covering massage techniques and clinical practicum-related modalities. Another 125 hours need to address anatomy and physiology.
Beyond those requirements, schools have considerable leeway in the instruction they provide. Some programs feature a broad array of massage methods, including Eastern and Western techniques. Others focus on clinical treatments or spa therapies. The amount of time students spend in real-world clinical settings varies according to the school.
A certificate or diploma enables a prospective practitioner to apply for a state license. The board approves applications from those who pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards registers students online to take the test at Pearson VUE assessment centers.
Every year, Louisiana practitioners must contact the board for license renewals. They have to show proof of having received 12 or more hours of continuing education.
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 is a small institution with four campuses that offers dozens of nursing and allied health career programs. Delta boasts that it is “one of the most affordable private schools in the area.”
Future massage therapists attend classes in the town of Covington. They may pursue certificates full or part time, during the day or in the evenings. The program provides 745 contact hours of instruction and training. Students can graduate in as few as seven months.
According to the school, “classes in Covington are very hands-on so that you get real experience with your new skills.”
This private Baton Rouge school, formerly the Massage Academy of the South, claims to have “been the standard of excellence in massage education since 1992.”
The 756-contact-hour curriculum entails 277 hours in lectures, 407 in labs, and 72 in clinics. It takes nine months full time or 10.5 months part time to finish. All the instructors are licensed massage therapists.
Students become adept in Swedish, sports, connective tissue, neuromuscular, reflexology, and chair techniques. They also learn spa therapies such as body wraps, salt glow, paraffin and mud pack treatments, hot and cold stone massage, wet table use, and hydrotherapy.
A for-profit vocational school, UTA trains massage therapists on its campuses in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans, Houma, and West Monroe.
The diploma program has 66.73 quarter credit hours. Students attend day or evening classes. They learn Swedish, clinical, sports, pregnancy, deep tissue, and Eastern therapies. Along with the state-required coursework, classes include Healthcare Provider, Medical Terminology, Kinesiology, The Art of Palpation, Specialized Patient Massage, Spa Therapy, Wellness for Mind & Body for the Therapist, Ethics & Professional Business Practices, and Introduction to Clinical Massage.
Students give full-body massages to the public at an on-campus clinic in Lafayette.
The Platt network of for-profit career training institutes features more than 30 locations across the country. The only campus in Louisiana is the McCann School of Business & Technology.
The massage therapy diploma program involves 710 contact hours — 380 listening to lectures in classrooms and 330 getting hands-on instruction in labs. The curriculum includes three assignments, totaling 120 hours, administering massages to the public in a student clinic.
Among the courses are Swedish Massage; Therapeutic Massage; Kinesiology Upper Body; Kinesiology Lower Body; Hydrotherapy & Aromatherapy; Special Populations; Somatic Psychology; and Law, Business, and Ethics.
This privately owned institution is part of a chain of schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The Metairie satellite campus, in the Clearview Shopping Mall, awards diplomas in massage therapy.
During 750 contact hours, students take the state-mandated courses plus Hydrotherapy, Therapeutic Communications, Tai Chi, First Aid/HIV, Care for Self, Medical Terminology, Integrating Deep Tissue Techniques, Reflexology, Neuromuscular Therapy, Basic Shiatsu, Subtle Body Energies, Marketing, and Community Service. There are also classes in Swedish, prenatal, chair, and sports massage.
The program length is nine months for daytime students and 15 months for those who attend classes in the evenings.
A public facility in New Orleans, DCC prepares students for massage therapy diplomas at its Charity School of Nursing. The program teaches “topics such as (MT’s) history, purpose, benefits; (and) its place in a holistic approach to wellness.”
Some of the courses in the 32-credit-hour curriculum are Swedish Techniques, Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Business/Ethics/Law, and Topics for Special Populations. Students perform three clinical rotations. Classes start in the spring and fall.
The college’s selective admissions policy features prerequisite courses, English and math placement testing, and a CPR certification requirement.
Yearly pay of about $19,430 or an hourly wage over $9.30 is typical here. That is considerably less than the U.S. average of approximately $41,420 or nearly $20.
The highest-earning one-tenth of Louisiana massage therapists make more than $60,000 a year or almost $29 per hour, not as much as their peers nationwide (nearly $78,300 or more than $37.60). Those in the state’s bottom temth receive about $16,300 or $7.85, as compared to around $21,340 or $10.25 nationally.
This state was the home of 700 practitioners in 2016. The statistic will steadily rise to 830 in 2026, if a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projection proves to be accurate. That would be 20% growth, compared with the agency’s prediction of 26 percent across the country.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop