Online Massage Schools -Can you learn massage online?

There is not any one completely online massage school for the obvious reasons. You need to learn the hands on massage in person. Hybrid learning combines online massage school with in person hands on training.

The first thing you need to research if you are considering one of these programs is will it be accepted by the State Board of Massage in your state or wherever you want to work and live? Most are not yet accepted and hybrid massage programs may not be approved by state boards.

Some online schools also falsely advertise a Certification in massage therapy. The only true certification there is in the massage profession is the one offered by the National Certification Board of Massage and Bodywork – the Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB®). All other things are really certificates of program completions. Learn the difference between licensing, certification and certificates. is one of the first businesses to attempt this. They are also the company that owns Allied Health Career Institute and are behind many of the schools offering hybrid trainings such as:

  • Auburn University (PDF)
  • Texas A&M
  • Lock Haven University
  • Belmont College
  • Louisiana State University

I cannot confirm that there are actual programs still going at the schools listed above, but they are listed on the MPower website.

Their hybrid training programs are partnered with spas/massage franchises and massage schools to bring you this innovative learning environment. They with employers (who offer scholarships, future employment, and sometimes space to do training). Hand and Stone is one franchise that is using this program to find new employees. Their hybrid program is used by partner schools and sometimes schools that we own and operate, to lower the barrier of entry, lower costs, and increase access.  This means that the spas/franchises will hire you directly out of massage school and pay for part of your costs of going to massage school. You will have to work there for an agreed amount of time to pay back your massage school fees. Be sure to ask what they pay rate is if you go through the program and also the pay rate if you go to school on your own and get a job with that employer. There are some programs that offer you less pay per hour when you go through the MPower program.

Here is a presentation by MPower explaining their program to schools/franchises.

Massage Apprenticeship programs

Another option for reducing the cost of massage school and getting the best education you can is to attend an apprenticeship program and learn in a smaller setting. Only a few states allow apprenticeship programs.