There are seven massage therapy schools in Missouri. They are found in Kansas City, Springfield, Jefferson City, and the St. Louis and Joplin areas.
The privately owned institutions offer certificate programs that exceed state requirements. Curricula feature classes, labs, and clinics. Full-time students take between seven months and a year to graduate. They qualify to apply for licenses to practice in Missouri.
Employment opportunities are expanding for massage therapists in the Show-Me State. Government officials anticipate about 200 job openings each year through 2026.
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This government agency regulates massage therapists. It grants licenses to applicants who graduate from state-approved schools and pass a required exam. The board also establishes and enforces license renewal and continuing education requirements.
Another duty is to ensure that students at public and private postsecondary schools pass background checks and receive at least C grades in basic coursework. The board mandates that students may practice on the public only under supervision. School faculty must meet criteria concerning training and experience.
The board “reviews and acts on issues of discipline, licensure, rules and regulations, legislation, and other business.” State code empowers these officials to revoke, suspend, deny, and reinstate licenses.
The governor, with the “advice and consent” of the state Senate, appoints eight people to the board. There are seven voting members, six of whom must be licensed massage therapists. The non-voting member represents the public.
To become a massage therapist in Missouri, the first requirement is to either graduate from high school or earn a GED. Taking extra health and science classes in high school may help win admission to some postsecondary institutions.
A prospective practitioner must graduate from a school with an MT curriculum that meets state requirements. The Missouri Board of Therapeutic Massage recognizes schools that have been certified by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education, approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or accredited as an institution of higher learning by a regional accrediting agency.
The board mandates that a program provide at least 500 clock hours of instruction. This is to include 100 hours of anatomy and physiology courses, 300 hours of massage theory practice, 50 hours of training in ancillary therapies, and 50 hours of classes in subjects such as ethics, business practice, hygiene, and state law.
Graduates are eligible to apply for state licensure, but they must pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards provides the exam, which Pearson VUE testing centers administer on computers.
Massage therapists in Missouri are required to renew their licenses every other year, which entails receiving 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 school in Kansas City and Springfield offers a 750-clock-hour program that takes about 11 months. There is a part-time option. Daytime and evening/weekend class schedules are available.
The curriculum teaches reflexology, hydrotherapy, and the following massage modalities: Swedish, sports, perinatal massage, older adults, neuromuscular, integrative, hot stone, Eastern, and medical. There are also classes in CPR certification, practical communications, general wellness, nutrition, and lifestyle management. The program includes an internship at a student clinic.
Nearly 90 percent of graduates pass the state licensing exam. The school provides job-placement assistance and lifelong career services.
This is the oldest and largest massage training school in the St. Louis area. The 600-clock-hour MT program lasts one year full time, with a part-time option. Day and evening class schedules are available.
Courses teach traditional therapeutic massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, energy medicine, athletic recovery therapy, Reiki, and stress and anxiety relief. Students perform multiple rotations at an on-campus clinic that serves the public.
Tuition covers books, clinic scrubs, a portable massage table with accessories, licensing exam fees, background check fees, and membership in the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals organization (which provides liability insurance).
This school in the state capital offers a program that most students complete within three 11-week terms.
The curriculum’s 720 clock hours include three anatomy and physiology courses, and three massage therapy courses with labs. Among the other classes are Personal Development, Career Management Skills, Word Processing Applications, English Fundamentals, Medical Terminology, Kinesiology, and Professional Business Development. Students practice their skills at an in-house clinic.
The school accepts about two-thirds of applicants. Prospective students must pass an entrance assessment.
A privately owned institute in Webb City, CPBA is a Redken beauty school. Its 600-clock-hour program involves 26 weeks of full-time study.
Students learn Swedish, deep tissue, athletic and sports, side lying, and seated chair massage techniques. They also take Introduction to Cranio-Sacral, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Introduction to Lymphatic Drainage, and Wellness.
In the school’s salon, students perform full-body, site-specific, chair, hot stone, hand, and foot massages. They also provide reflexology treatments, paraffin dips, and cupping.
This for-profit school, which traces its history to 1953, has six certificate programs. MT students graduate after seven months.
The 750-clock-hour curriculum consists of 280 hours in classrooms, 350 hours in labs, and 120 hours of “outside preparation.” A public clinic provides opportunities for practical experience. A Kinesiology & Restorative Therapies course teaches neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, and stretching techniques.
In a Supplemental Methods, Special Populations & Business Practices class, students learn treatment methods for pregnant women, the elderly, and other groups — plus energy-based concepts, hydrotherapy, hot stone massage, body wrap procedures, exfoliation practices, and aromatherapy.
MT students at this career college attend classes on the North Campus in Earth CIty, just outside St. Louis.
The program, which totals more than 846 contact hours, takes less than seven months to complete. In addition to the state-required courses, there are classes in Healthcare Communications; HIV, Safety, CPR, and First Aid; Kinesiology; Medical Terminology; and Career Development. Students learn massage techniques for seniors, pregnant women, the physically and mentally challenged, athletes, infants, and the chronically and terminally ill.
Program participants spend 160 hours in a student clinic, administering massages to real clients.
An annual salary of nearly $36,600 or an hourly wage of about $17.60 is typical for practitioners in this state–less than the national average of approximately $41,400 a year or $20 per hour.
The highest-paid 10 percent in Missouri make about $57,900 or $28, less than the nationwide median of around $78,300 or $37.60. The lowest-paid 10 percent get almost $18,500 or $9 in the state, and more than $21,300 or about $10.25 nationally.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the state had 1,520 massage therapists in 2016. The agency predicted that the figure would increase to 1,840 by 2026–a 22 percent job-growth rate, comparable to the projected national median of 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop