New York is one of the best places in the US for practicing massage due to its booming population and increased demand for massage services. That said, it has many requirements as well that aspiring practitioners must meet.
Scroll straight to the bottom to see a list of the top massage therapy schools in New York.
Brief Summary Of The Main Highlights
To practice as a massage therapist in New York state, applicants must speak English proficiently, have a high school education or equivalent, be fully educated and certified in massage therapy (that’s 1,000 hours of education), be of good moral character, certified in CPR and at least 18 years old.
In addition to holding a license, a massage therapist either needs to be an American citizen or be a legal resident of the United States. To apply for a massage license, the applicant must be eighteen years old.
Schooling Details And Requirements (Credit Hours)
To be licensed in New York, you must go to a school that is certified with the New York State Education Department (hereinafter referred to as NYSED).
If you go to a school outside of New York, the program you pursue has to be approved by the NYSED and include no less than 1,000 classroom hours of instruction including, but not limited to anatomy, physiology, neurology, myology or kinesiology, pathology, hygiene, first aid, CPR, infection control procedures, the chemical ingredients of products that are used and their effects, as well as the theory, technique and practice of both oriental and western massage/bodywork therapy.
Of those 1,000 hours, 150 must be actual practice hours on a living patient.
Licensure Qualifying Programs
Below is a partial list of schools approved by the New York State Board of Education. There are twenty one approved schools. For a complete list please visit this page.
- Mildred Elley School, 855 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12206, 518-786-0855
- Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623, 585-292-2200
- New York College of Health Professions, 6801 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791, 516-364-0808
- Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, NY 14132, 716-614-6222
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, 110 William Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY, 10038
- Queensborough Community College, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, NY 11364, 718-631-6344
- SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology, POB 901, Morrisville, NY 13408-0636, 315-684-6000
- Trocaire College, 360 Choate Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14220-2094, 716-826-1200
The licensing examination is given twice a year in January and August. The deadline to apply for the January exam is November 1st and the deadline for August is June 1st.
Once you have passed the test, you must have your credentials presented to the NYSED by the institution from which you received your education. You must request that the institution mail your credentials themselves directly to the board. To do this you can use the form found here.
Because you have to renew your license every three years, it is important to keep your name and address updated. If you do this, the NYSED will notify you by mail when it is time to renew your license. If your name or address changes, use the form found here to update the board of changes in your personal information.
The examination and initial license fee is $115. If you fail the test and have to retest, the fee to retake the test is $45. The cost to renew your license every three years is $50 and the fee for the initial licensure and first year registration is $108.00. Here is the form you will need to register (Form)
Key Agencies / Boards involved and their contact information
To practice massage therapy in New York, the licensee needs to meet requirements of the New York State Department of Education in licensing and education as well as policies and requirements of the department in regards to all professions (check here). There is also a Board of Regents.
The State Board for Massage Therapy can be contacted at the New York State Education Department, Office of Professions, 1411 Broadway, Tenth Floor, New York, NY 10018. The executive secretary is Kathleen Doyle at email: email@example.com and phone 518-474-3817, ext. 150 (Fax: 518-473-1951)
Requirements To Start A Massage Business in New York (Getting a Massage Establishment License)
To maintain a business, massage therapists must display a current registration certificate. While not required, some massage therapists may display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states and membership certificates.
Any practitioner who has a practice called Massage Therapy, Shiatsu, Swedish Medical Massage or Bodywork, must have a valid license for massage therapists.
Licensed professionals may set up a professional service corporation (PC), a professional service limited liability company (PLLC), a registered limited liability partnership (LLP) or a general business corporation (GBC) to provide professional services.
Massage License Renewal Process
Beginning January 1, 2012, every licensee must have 36 hours of continuing education every three years. For those who were licensed prior to that time, the amount of continuing education required will be one credit for each month until the month of registration. For example, a person whose registration due date is June 1, 2012 would need six hours of continuing education.
- The renewal cost is $50.00.
- To renew on line, Mastercard, Visa or American Express is required for payment. Applicants may renew online at this web address.
Massage License Reciprocity
For those certified by another state, New York will consider the number of years the therapist has practiced and the coursework fulfilled in the other state. The applicant must be a member in good standing in his or her original state to apply to practice in New York without further education.
Applicants licensed in another state may contact the State Board for Massage therapy:
Mailing address: New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
New York State Board for Massage Therapy
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234-1000
Note: Specific personnel information, office addresses, fees, payments etc. may change over time. Although we do our best to keep this site up to date, please ensure you contact the state board to obtain the most recent information at the time of your application.
Here is a list of the top massage therapy schools near you. We have an arrangement with all of them that allow you to request information for FREE. Please do so and take that first step toward a better future.
- Gain Knowledge and Skills While You Earn Your Nursing Degree at Fortis!
- Massage Therapy
- Massage Therapist
Prepare for a Career That You Will Love … in Massage Therapy!
Do you want a career that offers the satisfaction of helping people and a work environment that is positive and exciting? With the education you will receive at the Virginia School of Massage, that career can be yours.
Classes start November 13!
- Professional Massage Therapy Program
Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.
- Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Massage Therapy
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- Massage Therapy - Associate's
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As a student at South University, you will have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant (AS)
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