Massage Therapy Schools in District of Columbia

Browse our directory of massage therapy schools in District of Columbia, or skip ahead to learn about the state's massage therapy licensing requirements and job outlook.

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How to Become a Masseuse in District of Columbia

District of Columbia Massage Therapy Careers At a Glance
  • 500 education hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years.
  • 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for massage therapists in Washington DC is $40,660 ($19.55/hour). This is lower than the national average of $42,820 ($20.59/hour).
  • There is a predicted 9% job increase between 2016-2026 for massage therapists. This is lower than the expected national growth of 22%.

The process of giving and receiving a massage is a uniquely personal and intimate, hands-on healing technique that has been around for centuries. It is one of the best, most powerful, and fastest methods of inducing deep relaxation and relieving stress. It can be an effective modality for relieving pain in specific areas of the body such as the neck and shoulder areas, the lower back, and arms and legs.

So many people utilize massage services. Business men and women enjoy it for the sense of relaxation and peace it brings about. Athletes enjoy it after a workout to soothe their overused muscles. And individuals with muscle and joint aches enjoy its ability to reduce their pain and enhance their well-being.

State License Requirements

500 Education Hours

Required to earn a massage therapy license

In the District of Columbia, it is necessary to be licensed by the Washington, District of Columbia Board of Massage Therapy. You will need to complete 500 hours of training at an accredited institution in order to be eligible to take the licensing exam. You will need to pass the NCEMTB exam administered by the National Certification Board for Massage Therapy and Bodywork. Once you have your license, you will need to complete 15 credits of continuing education each year to maintain it. Continuing education courses will keep you up to date on the latest approaches and techniques in the field, as well as any new rules and regulation.

Education Details

So the choice to become a massage therapist is a decision to enter into a venerated profession in which you use your hands as an instrument of healing. Schools of massage typically teach a wide range of massage techniques, although it is possible to find schools in which one particular approach is featured. In school, you will take courses in human anatomy and physiology, as well as in kinesthesiology, the science of movement. You can study ethical practices in the massage field. You can learn how to apply the different modalities of massage including Swedish, reflexology, acupressure, deep-muscle, sports medicine, and others. To perform massage, you need to have good physical stamina and energy, because you are on your feet during your working hours, and utilizing your whole body to work muscles deeply. You also need to be able to connect well with other people. Many massage therapists have a regular clientele of repeat customers and developing rapport and a high comfort level within your clients is essential in this intimate encounter. People who utilize massage therapy services come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Of course, there are athletes needing help with relaxing and unwinding their tense muscles after a workout or game. People with busy careers rely upon it to help them relieve their stress and tension. Seniors utilize it to relieve aches and pains. And individuals who have experienced injuries or illnesses often have it incorporated into their physical or occupational therapy regimens.

License Renewal

2 Years

License renewal period

0 Hours

Continuing education required

Of course, when it's time to renew your DC massage therapy license, you can do so through their online portal. But if you want to get a look at the paper application to review the requirements, you can check it out right here. As you'll see, DC requires massage therapists to renew their licenses by January 31st on odd-numbered years. The fee for renewal is $177, with an additional $85 if you pay late.

District of Columbia Massage Therapy Careers


Average yearly salary for massage therapy in District of Columbia

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary earned by massage therapists in the District of Columbia in 2020 was $40,660 Of course, this is just an average. If you have skills in a particular modality that is highly sought out, or you have developed a reputation as an outstanding massage therapist, or if you have many years of experience, your salary may be considerably higher. Massage therapy is growth industry, with growth projected to be around 9% between 2016 and 2026. This anticipated rate of growth makes it highly likely that new graduates will find employment in the field, and experienced therapists seeking to move up in the field will be able to do so.

Where do massage therapists work? Many places! Some work at sports facilities, gyms, and health clubs. Others offer their services to business travelers at top hotels. Massage services are frequent offerings at beauty salons and spas. Plus, some massage therapists go into business for themselves and offer their services by appointment to the public in a private studio. There are massage therapists who travel to see their clients, bringing a portable massage table with them. Massage therapy sessions typically last 30 or 60 minutes, and sometimes longer. It is typical for a massage therapist to ask a client to fill out paperwork before the initial session, with their reasons for seeking the service and a brief medical history. Usually there is a brief interview before the actual massage therapy work begins. Some therapists play soft music in the background, and may light candles for atmosphere. It is customary to utilize oils in the massage process, often with a fragrance to them that offers the client the experience of aromatherapy. Massage therapists need to have outstanding people skills. They need to be able to help people feel relaxed and comfortable, often when they have very little clothing on. They need to be good listeners and be able to respond to their clients empathically. Above all, a high degree of professionalism is crucial.

Contact the District of Columbia State Board of Massage Therapy

DC Health
Massage Therapy
District of Columbia

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