There are three massage therapy schools in New Mexico, including public and private institutions. They range from a small institute that focuses exclusively on massage therapy to a large university with dozens of educational programs.
Students attend classes on campuses in Albuquerque and Taos. They pursue massage therapy certificates that take less than a year to earn. Curricula provide classroom lectures, lab sessions, and real-world clinical experiences.
Massage therapy employment is expanding in the Land of Enchantment. Government experts predict about 70 annual job openings during the decade ending in 2026.
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This government agency oversees the practice of massage therapy in the state. It determines the educational, training, and examination requirements for practitioners; issues licenses to qualified applicants; and enforces license renewal and continuing education rules.
The board establishes curriculum standards, registering schools that comply. It also registers instructors who meet certain criteria. Even teaching assistants must be licensed massage therapists.
MT establishments undergo inspections, and are required to post complaint policies with information about how to contact the board. Allegations of illegal or unethical behavior may lead to investigations and disciplinary action.
To become a massage therapist in New Mexico, a student first must graduate from high school or obtain a GED. Taking college-level health and science classes might aid in gaining admission to a postsecondary school.
The board mandates that an MT program provide at least 650 clock hours of instruction and practical experience. This is to include:
The remainder of the curriculum is at the discretion of individual schools. Some programs teach a wider array of massage techniques and related therapies. Others focus more heavily on business training, preparing students to open their own practices.
Graduates are eligible to apply to the board for licensure. One of the requirements is to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Registering online for the test with the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards entails a fee of about $200. Students take the MBLEx on computers at Pearson VUE testing centers, which report results to the board.
Another licensing requirement is passing a jurisprudence exam concerning New Mexico laws.
Licenses must be renewed every other year. Practitioners have to receive 16 hours of continuing education, including four hours regarding ethics.
We selected the schools below based on the programs that they offer, accreditation, student population, graduation rate and reputation.
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This for-profit school in Albuquerque offers a therapeutic massage certificate program that takes as little as 8.5 months of day classes or 10.5 months in the evenings to complete.
The curriculum features 750 contact hours. In addition to the state-required courses, students take classes in Basic Swedish Massage, Reflexology, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Sports Injury Massage, Chinese Medicine, Shiatsu, Craniosacral Therapy, Nutrition, and Senior Review.
A therapeutic medical massage program covers the mandated subjects, as well as specialized training and a Clinical Research course. Those in both programs give full-body massages in a student clinic.
A network of schools in eight Western states, Carrington provides career training in about two dozen fields.
The 35-credit massage therapy certificate program lasts nine months. It consists of 330 clock hours of lectures, 300 hours of labs, and 135 hours of clinical experience. Students learn Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue applications, Shiatsu, chair massage, dry room spa techniques, and a variety of site-specific treatments.
The curriculum concludes with a career development seminar and an externship. Graduates are eligible to attain an associate of science degree in health studies by taking online courses.
On this branch campus of the state’s largest public university, students earn certificates in integrative massage therapy.
The 44-credit program, which totals 650 clock hours, exceeds state requirements. Core courses include Myofascial and Myoskeletal Techniques, Deep Tissue Techniques, Exercise Physiology, Cultural Diversity and Cross Cultural Ethics, and either Holistic Health and Healing Arts or Oriental Medicine.
Among the elective classes are Meditation, Conscience, and Self-Healing; Tai Chi; Ayurveda; Yoga and Psychology of Chakras; Hatha Yoga; Kundalini Yoga; Yoga and Myofascial Body; Balinese Traditional Massage; Traditional Thai Massage; Cranial Sacral; and Nutrition for Health.
New Mexico massage therapists make an average of about $39,600 a year or around $19 per hour, slightly less than the national median of over $41,400 or about $20.
The income of the state’s leading 10 percent is around $62,600 or $30, lower than nearly $78,300 or more than $37.60 nationwide. The lowest 10 percent earn about $21,300 or $10.25 in New Mexico, and almost $21,350 or about $10.25 nationally.
The state had 510 massage therapists in 2016. The total will be 600 by 2026, if predictions by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are accurate. That 19 percent rate of growth would be slower than the projected national median of 26 percent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop
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