There are five massage therapy schools in Mississippi, including private institutions and a public college. They are found throughout the state, from Gulfport in the south to Southaven in the north.
All the schools award MT certificates, which take between nine and 15 months to earn. Associate in applied science degrees, which involve additional study, are available on two campuses. Curricula consist of classroom lectures, lab sessions, and real-world clinical experiences.
Massage therapists in the Magnolia State make less money than the national average, but the field is expanding. Labor officials expect about 50 annual job openings through 2026.
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The board determines the education and examination requirements for licensure, issues licenses, and enforces license renewal and continuing education rules. It approves CE courses and providers.
Another duty is to establish MT school curriculum standards regarding clock hours committed to certain subjects. The board maintains a list of approved schools on its website.
The board also receives and investigates complaints about alleged violations of laws, rules, regulations, and ethics by practitioners, schools, and businesses. Disciplinary actions include license suspensions and revocations.
There are six board members, including four licensed massage therapists.
Graduating from high school or earning a GED is the first step to become a massage therapist in Mississippi. A prospective practitioner then needs to enroll in an accredited postsecondary school offering an MT program that complies with state standards.
The Board of Massage Therapy approves curricula with 600 or more clock hours of classes and labs. This is to include at least 20 hours in each of the following: anatomy, myology/kinesiology, physiology, pathology, and neurology. Students need to learn Western, European, and Eastern theories and methods; infrared therapy, hydrotherapy; documentation and charting; client referral, and first aid and CPR.
There also must be instruction in evaluation and draping; soft tissue techniques like kneading, percussion, and stretching; indications and contraindications; and laws and ethics. In addition, students are required to spend at least 100 hours in clinical settings, including 50 hours of giving massages to the public. Instruction and evaluation make up the other 50 hours.
Some programs exceed the minimum number of clock hours. They may feature more business classes, provide training in a wider spectrum of massage techniques, or require additional practical experience.
Graduates apply to the board for licensure. To qualify, they must pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards charges about $200 to take the exam at a Pearson VUE testing center.
Prospective practitioners also have to pass the Mississippi State Law Exam (MSLE), which involves a fee of about $100.
Massage therapists in this state renew their licenses every year, which entails 12 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 for-profit school, founded in 1947, offers seven healthcare and business programs. It awards massage therapy certificates and associate in applied science degrees.
The certificate curriculum provides the state-required 500 hours of classes and 100 hours of clinics. Students complete the program within 13-15 months. They learn Swedish, deep tissue, and sports massage techniques; as well as spa therapies, Tai Chi, body wraps, exfoliation, and medical terminology.
The AAS program lasts 16-19 months. It includes the certificate program courses plus English Composition, Oral Communications, and other classes. Students take part in two practicums in the college clinic.
Formerly known as the Healing Touch Career Center, IHT is a private school in Hattiesburg with an MT certificate program.
The 780-clock-hour curriculum entails 11 months of full-time study. Classes teach “a wide variety of massage techniques” and other bodywork modalities. There are also additional hours in anatomy and physiology, and more “hands-on practical training” than required.
Students pair up with classmates to practice what they have learned. An internship involves giving massage and spa treatments to the public in an on-campus clinic. Students also get real-world experience at community events like health conferences, athletic races, and fundraisers.
This privately owned school provides six healthcare programs. The 775-hour massage therapy curriculum involves nine months of day classes or 15 months of evening classes.
Students learn Swedish, deep tissue, sports, prenatal, and chair massage; as well as neuromuscular therapy, Shiatsu, reflexology, Tai Chi, and subtle body energies. In addition, they take Therapeutic Communications, Care for Self, Medical Terminology, and Marketing. Three clinical practicums total 105 hours.
There is an on-campus clinic that serves real clients, and students also give massages at community events. Blue Cliff offers continuing education classes for practitioners.
A private institution with 16 campuses in eight states, CCC issues certificates in massage therapy at its site near the Tennessee border. The program takes less than 11 months of full-time study to complete. Day and evening class schedules are available.
The 812-hour curriculum far exceeds state requirements. It includes 507 hours of theory classes, 255 of lab sessions, and 100 hours of clinical experiences. Classes teach Swedish, event-sports, deep tissue, and special populations massage methods; as well as acupressure and reflexology.
A student clinic affords opportunities to administer massages to the public.
Our top choice is this public school, founded in 1912. Massage therapy students pursue certificates and degrees at the West Harrison Community Center in Long Beach.
The 700-hour, 45-credit certificate program covers state requirements in one year. There are three massage technique courses, including a Specialized Modalities class.
Students may continue their studies to earn associate in applied science of occupational education degrees. They take English Composition and Public Speaking classes, plus electives in natural science, behavioral science, and humanities or fine arts. Program applicants must have ACT scores of 16 or better. Class sizes are limited to 15 students.
Most massage therapists in the state receive about $32,000 a year or $15.40 per hour, not as good as the nationwide average of more than $41,400 or around $20.
The leading 10 percent of the state’s practitioners make nearly $39,900 or about $19.20, much less than the national median of around $78,300 or $37.65. The lowest 10 percent in Mississippi bring in almost $17,000 or about $8.15–lower than the U.S. average of around $21,350 or $10.25.
This state was home to 410 massage therapists in 2016, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The BLS predicts the number will be 470 by 2026–a job-growth rate of 13 percent, half the projected national median of 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop