The Most Comprehensive Massage Therapy Schools Comparison Online

Several months, thousands of research hours and well over 4,000 words have been invested in compiling the most comprehensive massage therapy school review you will find online.

Finding the right massage school can be a tough task. There are so many factors to consider such as: length and structure of the program, size of the school, career placement support, and cost of attendance are just a few of the many aspects you should consider when narrowing your list of potential programs.

If your head is already swimming, don’t fret: We’ve compiled a list of well-known massage schools with multiple campus locations, and we have included several important facts and figures for each that can help you select the school that works best for you.

The best massage school for you is truly the one that suits you best, and many details can influence your ultimate choice. Do you thrive with loads of personalized attention? A smaller school might be best. Does your schedule require a lot of flexibility? Schools with day, evening and weekend courses may be helpful. Do you dream of working in a hospital, on a cruise ship, or at a spa? Career placement assistance is imperative if you have specific job goals.

The school you choose is not just a place where you will spend a significant amount of money and time: it is the institution which will groom you for the foundation of your entire career. Your future is important, and it starts with this choice.

We’ve rated the following massage therapy programs based on twelve important factors. Our rating includes analysis of students successfully completing the program, obtaining placement assistance, and finding employment. We also factor class size, schedule options, affordability, and the ease of securing information about the institution and its program, along with various other elements to determine the best options for you.

Jump straight toward the bottom if you’d like to see our detailed Master Rating List, which is a concise summary of this article, and further helps dissect our ranking of each school in detail so that you can evaluate even the most granular aspects of these institutions.

Note:  There are thousands of massage schools in the United States and there is a good chance you won’t see one near you in the comparison study below.  That said, use our database below and type in your zip code for a list of the most reputable massage therapy schools near you.

Massage Programs with 750 or Fewer Clock Hours

InstitutionEnrollmentStudent/faculty ratioFemale studentsMale studentsStudents 25 years old+AccreditationArticulation agreementsCareer AssistanceProgram length Hours/MonthsProgram optionsGraduation RatePlacement RateTotal costStudents receiving aidExam Pass Rate*Rating
American Career College
36:178%22%43%ABHESNoPlacement department720h/9 month Or 7mon acceleratedDay/Evening Accelerated64%75%
Milan Institute
17:192%8%47%COENoPlacement Department600h/6 monthsDay/Evening100%86%
Carrington College
14:186%14%48%ACCJC/WASCYes. Owned by DeVryExternship/
Placement dept
American Institute
23:186%14%54%ACCSCNoPlacement Department41h/7 months**Day/Evening57%

*Massage exam pass rates are only available for schools with campuses in the state of Florida: for this reason, these numbers are included in our graph, but not weighed in our rating or analysis.

**These pertain to American Institute

  • Enrollment rates reflect only undergraduate enrollment.
  • Program length refers to those graduating in normal time.
  • We are uncertain about the placement rate.

American Career College (ACC) has several campuses in California; the school grants certificates and Associate degrees in various areas of interest. Privately-owned, ACC specializes in allied-health and business programs. Two of the school’s southern California campuses offer massage therapy training. We looked at the college’s Ontario, California campus for data comparison.


  • Schedule options include day and evening classes, and an accelerated schedule can help students complete training sooner
  • The large size of this school means the potential for great resources
  • ACC’s hands-on classes usually have less than 30 students
  • This program has a employment placement rate of 75%


  • The program’s graduation rate is 64%
  • American Career College has the highest student/faculty ratio of any of our reviewed schools. Students may fall through the cracks without enough personal attention
  • This is the most costly massage program on our list
  • A Senate report examining ACC states “…the company’s high student loan default rates suggest that students completing its programs may not be able to obtain employment or salaries that enable them to repay the student loan debt they incur…”*


While American Career College has a solid massage program, it comes with a high price tag. With large class sizes, and fewer faculty members to assist students, this program may become overwhelming for some. If the program had a higher graduation rate, the price may be proven worthwhile. According to a report from the United States Senate, American Career College has a questionable return for investment; its report concludes, “…these issues cast serious doubt on the notion that ACC’s students are receiving an education that affords them adequate value relative to the cost…”* As it stands, this program does not seem to exhibit a value worth the substantial financial investment.

We rate American Career College at 47%


Milan Institute is a family-owned career training school. Students at Milan can obtain certification in a number of beauty and spa-related programs, as well as programs ranging from accounting to gas and oil technology. Milan operates twenty campus locations throughout California, Texas, Nevada, and Idaho. Eleven of Milan’s campuses offer massage therapy training. We analyzed the program at the San Antonio, Texas campus for data comparison.


  • This program has a graduation rate of 100%, which is the best of any school we reviewed
  • The placement rate is 86%, which is impressive, especially when combined with the above graduation rate
  • The student/faculty ratio is 17:1, meaning students should feel connected and engaged
  • This is the least expensive program on our list


  • Milan’s massage program incorporates the fewest clock hours of any program we reviewed. While students complete the program quickly, they may not be as prepared for the field as those attending programs with additional instruction
  • This program has very little information available for prospective students who have not agreed to be contacted by Milan representatives. This is a “hard-sell” technique
  • When contacted, Milan Institute’s representatives scored poorly on our customer-service ranking


The family-owned Milan Institute carries high success rates in graduating and employing students, but it leaves much else to be desired. With a program that is just over the minimum requirements in hours of instruction, students run the risk of being unprepared to achieve their potential in the field. With so few hours of exposure to detailed theory and hands-on class time, it is difficult to determine if the instructional standards at Milan Institute are on par with other institutions. Lastly, the lack of public transparency and openly-available program details make this school prime for high-pressure admissions tactics that may not allow potential students adequate time to review information before making a serious commitment. Milan Institute may be worth a further look from prospective students, but it also warrants a “buyer be ware” mentality.

We give Milan Institute a 69%.

Carrington College is a career school owned by the DeVry Education Group. At Carrington, a student can earn a certificate or Associate degree in the medical, dental, or veterinary fields. The institution has eighteen campus locations in the western United States. Several of Carrington’s campuses offer a certificate program in massage therapy. We took a closer look at Carrington College’s Portland, Oregon campus for data comparison.


  • The academic catalog (including course descriptions) is readily available to learn more about this program
  • An important relationship with DeVry University means students have potential to turn some credit from a certificate program into credit toward a Bachelor’s degree
  • A student/faculty ratio of 14:1 and lab classes with fewer than 20 students equates to more personal attention
  • This program includes an externship component that can help students understand how to apply their skills in “real-world” situations


  • DeVry Education is facing potential legal trouble, including being investigated by two State Attorneys General for potentially fraudulent marketing, enrollment, and financial aid practices**
  • The program’s graduation rate is 27%
  • It’s placement rate is 54%
  • They do not incorporate much schedule flexibility
  • As with most for-profit schools offering credit toward a degree, credit earned at Carrington is only recognized by for-profit institutions (in this case, DeVry affiliates) Transfer to a public or private non-profit school would be unlikely


It is hard not to love small class sizes, an externship, and credit transfer potential, but it is absolutely impossible to ignore this program’s low graduation and placement rates. An important factor in a massage school is the success of students in the classroom and that of alumni in the field. Clearly, the numbers do not appear optimistic for Carrington College’s Portland, Oregon massage program. If future graduation and placement rates increase, it has the potential to become promising. However, only time will tell how the scrutiny facing DeVry, and its subsidiary, will resolve. Until then, it is best to be cautious when choosing a Carrington massage program.

Carrington College rates 51%


American Institute – For a variety of reasons, this institution is not on top of our list.  Feel free to email us and we can share our thoughts.

For more information about the American Institute’s graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit their website at,

We rate American Institute at 56%

Massage Programs with 750-899 Clock Hours

InstitutionEnrollmentStudent/faculty ratioFemale studentsMale studentsStudents 25 years old+AccreditationArticulation agreementsCareer AssistanceProgram length Hours/MonthsProgram optionsGraduation RatePlacement RateTotal costStudents receiving aidExam Pass Rate*Rating
Cortiva Institute
15:173%27%70%COMTANoSteiner recruitment & network750ha/9 months-day 7months-eve acceleratedDay/Evening80%90%$1289084%86
Everest College
30:186%14%40%(ACCSC)yesPlacement Department750h/9 monthsDay/Evening (weekend)76%50%$1652170%69
Florida College of Natural Health
25:187%13%53%ACCSCNoSteiner recruitment & network768h/7.5mon-day 12mon-eveDay/Evening73%72%$1339595%69

*Massage exam pass rates are only available for schools with campuses in the state of Florida: for this reason, these numbers are included in our graph, but not weighed in our rating or analysis **Averaged by all Florida campuses

Cortiva Institute is a school dedicated to massage therapy training. Owned by the Steiner Education Group, Cortiva operates eleven campuses nationwide. Students can enroll in a massage program to work toward licensure, and professional massage therapists may attend the school’s offering of continuing education credit courses. We assessed Cortiva Institute’s Boston, Massachusetts campus for data comparison.


  • Ownership by the Steiner Group means the opportunity to be recruited by Steiner Leisure, which operates worldwide spas on land and aboard cruise ships
  • Steiner Education also operates a job portal network which advertises connections to thousands of jobs outside of the Steiner Group
  • Cortiva is accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), the only massage therapy-specific accreditation agency in the country
  • This program has a graduation rate of 80%
  • It has a great placement rate at 90%
  • The student/faculty ratio at Cortiva is 15:1
  • The cost for this program is mid-range, but a high percentage of students receive aid, increasing it’s affordability
  • Cortiva offers continuing education classes to licensed massage therapists, so students can stay connected by taking CE’s after graduation


  • Ownership by the Steiner Group creates a more “corporate feel” (IE: less flexibility and a higher focus on profits) than smaller institutions
  • Cortiva scored poorly in our customer service ranking. It can be difficult to receive answers to questions from the admissions department without disclosing personal contact information
  • Although higher amounts of financial aid make education more affordable for students, loans also create debt for graduates. Always read the fine-print to fully understand the terms of financial aid at any institution


From a low student/faculty ratio to day and evening class options, Cortiva has many of the markings of a strong and convenient massage program. The high graduation and placement rates combine to indicate significant student success. Additionally, the institution’s COMTA accreditation and robust continuing education schedule make Cortiva stand out as an institution focused on quality massage training for students and professionals. Be aware, however, that corporate ownership can create big headaches, even at a small school. The admissions and financial aid process at Cortiva has the typical pitfalls of larger schools; higher pressure, and more paperwork. As at any institution, carefully read and discuss any agreements before signing on the dotted line.

We rated Cortiva Institute 91%.

Everest College is a large career training school with over 100 campuses in the US and Canada. Formally owned by Corinthian Colleges, Everest was acquired by Zenith Education which is a new subsidiary of ECMC (Education Credit Management Corporation). More than 40 Everest locations offer massage training; we focused on the massage therapy certification program at its Burr Ridge, Illinois campus for data comparison. {Note: while the newly-updated Everest website still lists Burr Ridge as a campus offering massage therapy training, school representatives say the location is no longer enrolling students.}


  • Day, evening and some weekend class schedules provide flexibility for students
  • This program’s reported graduation rate is 76%
  • Everest advertises a goal of a 20-student maximum for hands-on classes
  • Articulation agreements with Kaplan and the University of Phoenix mean the potential to carry credits forward toward a degree
  • The Zenith company has promised transparency in all of its practices moving forward
  • Change in ownership can revitalize the mission of an institution


  • Everest’s accrediting institution, the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), has placed several of the college’s campuses on “warning”
  • The program’s reported placement rate is only 50%
  • The sale of Everest followed battles with prior ownership over alleged unethical practices including allegations of fraud directed at the admission, financial aid and career placement departments. Legal arbitration with former ownership is ongoing***
  • 16 state attorneys general have filed investigations into Corinthian Colleges***
  • ECMC is a loan management company without any prior forays into education


It is incredibly difficult to determine the future of Everest College. New ownership could be the change needed to set the school right. The risk is that an educational loan company may not be up for the challenge of revamping an educational institution. While articulation agreements with other for-profit colleges are in place, the credits you earn will most likely be unable to transfer to non-profit public or private colleges. Allegations and investigations surrounding fraud and the falsification of data to mislead prospective students are very serious to consider. Although Zenith and current ownership have no relation to the legal issues facing the prior organization, only time will tell if they can make a better name for Everest.

We ranked Everest at 49%.

**For more information about public actions against for-profit institutions, including those mentioned here, please refer to

The Florida College of Natural Health is a massage and skin care training institution in Florida. Another Steiner school, FCNH offers basic and advanced programs in massage and aesthetics, including a combination program. We analyzed FCNH’s Maitland/Orlando campus for data comparison.


  • Ownership by the Steiner Group means the opportunity to be recruited by Steiner Leisure, which operates worldwide spas on land and aboard cruise ships
  • Steiner Education also operates a job portal network which advertises connections to thousands of jobs outside of the Steiner Group
  • A school dedicated to a few related trades can often offer a depth of education hard to find at schools serving many trades
  • Advanced certificate options allow students to determine the level and focus of their program. This should be tailored to students’ desired post-graduation employment
  • At 95%, this program has the highest rate of students receiving financial aid, making this reasonably-priced school more affordable


  • The Florida College of Natural Health rated poorly in our customer service ranking because it can be difficult to access information about scheduling, class size and other important data without being exposed to high-pressure sales and marketing techniques
  • A student/faculty ratio of 25:1 is a bit high for an institution dedicated to advanced hands-on techniques and delicate skincare
  • If the terms of any financial aid package are not explained thoroughly enough, students run the risk of over-extending themselves, perhaps without even realizing it
  • Ownership by the Steiner Group creates a more “corporate feel” (IE: less flexibility and a higher focus on profits) than smaller institutions


The basic massage program at Florida College of Natural Health could certainly provide a solid foundation in massage therapy. Opportunities for advanced training may prove worthwhile to those with targeted career goals. However, while the program’s graduation rate was a solid 81%, its placement rate was a less-noteworthy 72%. Overall, the Florida College of Natural Health can offer students what they need to be career professionals, but prospective students should be certain to understand the terms and conditions of any loan or program contract. The best candidates for a school like FCNH are those who can make the most of their education within the framework of a corporate school, with varying amounts of faculty interaction.

We rated Florida College of Natural Health 76%

Massage Programs with 900 or More Clock Hours

InstitutionEnrollmentStudent/faculty ratioFemale studentsMale studentsStudents 25 years old+AccreditationArticulation agreementsCareer AssistanceProgram length Hours/MonthsProgram optionsGraduation RatePlacement RateTotal costStudents receiving aidExam Pass Rate*Rating
Fortis Institute
14:176%24%54%ACICSnoPlacement Department924 hours/12monthsDay/Evening22%94%$1249962%62%71
Schools of Medical Massage
27:178%22%57%ACICSnoPlacement Department900 hours 11mon-day 16 mon-eveDay/Evening90%70%$1593543%n/a71
Anonymous College
25:190%10%64%ACICSyesPlacement Department960 hours 10 mon- day 15 mon- eveDay/Evening45%70%$1505061%Not included in FL report64

*Massage exam pass rates are only available for schools with campuses in the state of Florida: for this reason, these numbers are included in our graph, but not weighed in our rating or analysis

Fortis advertises itself as a “network” of post-secondary education schools. With locations nationwide, Fortis serves students in various trades under the names Fortis College and Fortis Institute. Fortis campuses in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida each offer massage therapy programs. We focused on the Richmond, VA campus for data comparison purposes.


  • The program catalog lists a robust 900+ clock hours
  • Fortis has massage externship opportunities to help students hone real-world onsite skills
  • With a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, students should benefit from more personal attention to their skills and career goals
  • This program has a fantastic placement rate of 94%


  • This program has a dismal graduation rate of 22%
  • With a “network” of post-secondary schools the administration at Fortis may be stretched too thin
  • Although they make a decent amount of program information available, it can be difficult to find important statistics about the institution. This information maze can make prospective students more susceptible to high-pressure sales tactics


Fortis has an impressive massage program laid out in the school catalog, including a specialized massage therapy externship experience. The placement rate of 94% shows that students who complete this program are capable of landing jobs. Unfortunately, with a graduation rate of only 22%, not many students seem able to complete this program in the first place. Even though the curriculum and student/faculty ratio point to practical skills and personalized support, the graduation rate overwhelms them both. Withdrawing from a program before graduation not only leaves the student with no way to gain massage employment, it also leave the student in debt. If Fortis can raise student retention and graduation rates, this program has the chance to be remarkable.

Fortis receives a 71%

The Schools of Medical Massage is a network of institutions located throughout Ohio. Each of its four campuses is dedicated to the training of massage therapists. These schools are all owned by Medical Dynamics Incorporated, and operated independently. Students at a School of Medical Massage are trained to meet all of the requirements necessary to become licensed in the state of Ohio. We assessed the Dayton, Ohio campus for data comparison.


  • This program uses a combination of theory and clinical application to prepare students
  • The Schools of Medical Massage have a significant amount of information available to prospective students without the pressure of a sales pitch
  • With 900 clock hours Schools of Medical Massage exceed the minimum for Ohio state requirements
  • Day students can complete the program in under a year
  • The program has an evening option as well
  • This program has an exceptional 90% graduation rate


  • Schools of Medical Massage have a policy for hands-on classes that the student/teacher ratio should not exceed 27:1, which is a very large class size for detailed hands-on training
  • This program is moderately expensive, but only 43% of students are receiving financial aid
  • Schools of Medical Massage do not have flexibility beyond day or evening programs


Students at the Schools for Medical Massage have the opportunity to engage in a profound massage training experience with 900 clock hours over the course of a year in order to prepare for licensure. Students also are certified in CPR before graduation, and graduates must sit for the MBLEx massage exam. While this builds a strong foundation, it may not be helpful enough. The placement rate for this program is a mildly-disappointing 70%, and the school does not have an externship opportunities or advertised relationships with employers. The high student/faculty ratio, and steeper cost may deter some students who need particular individual attention and/or have financial need. While there is a downside to consider, Schools for Medical Massage still have some strong program statistics, and appear to be one of the most transparent schools with which to deal. Schools for Medical Massage receives a 71%

**For more information about public actions against for-profit institutions, including those mentioned here, please refer to

Don’t see a school near you that you are interested in? Not a problem. Use our comprehensive database below. Simply type in your zip code and get a list of the top massage schools near you.


Under 750 or fewer hours- Carrington (700), Milan (600), American Career College (720), American Institute (720)

Availability of information online: 0-52221
Attitude of staff/response to inquires: 0-52122
S:F ratio: 0-51444
Affordability: 1-51433
Flexibility in schedule: 0-54222
Career placement: 0-53323
Better Business Bureau rating/reviews/complaints: 0-50313
Graduation rate:1-1061026
Placement rate: 1-107957
**7. Advanced massage program options: +50000
**Transfer/Articulation: +50050
**COMTA accreditation: +50000
Possible 55 +15 bonus points26+0=26

750-899 hours- Cortiva, Everest, Florida College of Natural Health (768)

Availability of information online: 0-5304
Attitude of staff/response to inquires: 0-5222
S:F ratio: 0-5503
Affordability: 1-5424
Flexibility in schedule: 0-5343
Career placement: 0-5525
Better Business Bureau rating/reviews/complaints: 0-5302
Graduation rate:1-10878
Placement rate: 1-10957
**7. Advanced massage program options: +5305
**Transfer/Articulation: +5050
**COMTA accreditation: +5500
Possible 55 +15 bonus points42+8
50/ 55=91%
27/ 55=49%
42/ 55=76%

900 hours and above- Fortis Institute (924), Schools of Medical Massage (900)

Availability of information online: 0-534
Attitude of staff/response to inquires: 0-523
S:F ratio: 0-553
Affordability: 1-532
Flexibility in schedule: 0-533
Career placement: 0-544
Better Business Bureau rating/reviews/complaints: 0-534
Graduation rate:1-1029
Placement rate: 1-1097
**7. Advanced massage program options: +550
**Transfer/Articulation: +500
**COMTA accreditation: +500
55 +15 bonus points

Here is a list of other reputable massage therapy schools that may be near you:

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At National Holistic Institute, our history and network of relationships in the field continue to help our graduates succeed. With campuses across California, we offer a comprehensive massage therapy training program that prepares our graduates for a successful career in massage therapy. Whether you are looking to start your career or take it to the next level, NHI has a program for you.

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    Work Cited : References

    Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

    4 comments on “The Most Comprehensive Massage Therapy Schools Comparison Online
    1. Angela says:

      Good Morning! Would you know of any degree program schools internationally? If so, where?

      Thank you!

    2. Alice says:

      Are there any on-line based courses that will fulfill the 500 hours course load requirement? Maybe one that has an affiliation with a spot that our “hands-on” requirement can be completed… 🙂

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