New York Massage Therapy Schools & Requirements

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

Licensing/Certification Requirements

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:  msthbd@mail.nysed.gov 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:

Phone                        518-474-3817

Fax                              518-473-1951

Email                          msthbd@mail.nysed.gov

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.

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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. 

Programs:

  • Professional Massage Therapy Program
Locations:  Charlottesville

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Programs:

  • Massage Therapy - Associate's
Locations:  Newport News

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) has a history of helping students succeed through hands-on education and career training. Our faculty and staff work to ensure that when you've completed your program, you're truly ready to begin your career.

Programs:

  • Massage Therapy - Diploma
Locations:  Lynchburg

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.

Programs:

  • Massage Therapy Diploma
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Massage Therapy
Locations:  Newport News

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.

Programs:

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (AS)
Locations:  Glen Allen
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Programs:

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Link to video lesson.

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+

Posted in Certification, Massage Therapy Schools, State by State Requirements
23 comments on “New York Massage Therapy Schools & Requirements
  1. I graduate National American University for Therapeutic Massage at 2000 and have 1250 classroom hours and after 3.5 years have Diploma Associate of Applied Science degree. But, NY state DE decline my education and said your transcript is do not matched with us and prevent to get Licence. I lost 11 years fulfill life and money for living which have massage therapist due to Albany, NY and now do not have money to pay for rent, for phone, for another bills.
    Indeed for 49 State my education is complete and every state respect NAU,but NY Albany do not? how is fair?

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Serguei – every State operates independently in terms of their requirements. While there are reciprocity agreements between some States, this does not apply to all. We encourage you to look into reciprocity, or consider another State to practice in with your current credentials. Of course you can always take the additional courses necessary to become certified/licensed in NYC. All the best

  2. Larisa says:

    I am a licensed massage therapist in the state of Ohio. I have graduated from my program with 694.5 hours. I have been practicing as a massage therapist for 12 years. I would like to volunteer as a massage therapist in NY. Do I need NY licensure to work as a volunteer? If so what do I need to do to get reciprocity?

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Larisa, normally you do not if you are volunteering your time/services for free. That said, it’s a good idea to have insurance. The volunteer organization may also have separate requirements. As far as reciprocity is concerned, if a state participates in a reciprocity program, the general guidelines they look for is for someone to have the equivalent experience and education of someone the State would grant a license to. In your case it appears that your experience and credentials are sufficient. We recommend contacting the NY state board and moving forward with the application process. Does this help?

    • Mammottil Mathew says:

      Hi Larisa,

      Since you have a valid license with more than 2 years practice in another state, it is easy for you to get a license in Newyork. I understand you have to submit the forms and fees only. This is a simple formality. If you are willing to practice in Newyork let me know. I am planning to open a massage therapy center.

  3. fran murphu says:

    where on eargth on the massage school in the 5 borroughs , your listing upstate schools and new jersey school, what is reason for this , im looking for a 1000 hour class school not an asoociate degree

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Fran,

      We list all the schools that are in our database, both that offer full programs as well as associates. Everyone has different needs.

      • fran murphu says:

        fran I been trying for 7 years , im so pissed at the state , these fuckinbg dummies don’t give 1 certificate course in 5 borroughs , but yet all over uspstate they do and all over the usa , it kept me from goinbg to school for 7 years now im so fed up , can you tell me what your doing now , maybe we can work something out? and did you see that mildred elle school , they have 3 schools 1 in manhattan and 2 upstate , they give the kids a choice of assicatte degree or certificate course , but only upstate , I mean is this a farce, Robert orena

  4. Mercedes says:

    Hello! I’M a Florida License Massage Therapist for almost 3 years and want to relocate en NYC. I know I need to go to school for the 250 hours to complete the 1000 that NY require. My question is: Do you have idea how much could be the cost of that and in how long I can do it? Or at least to know more or less how much is the cost of the whole training at any school?
    Thank you so much!

  5. Valerie Sauers says:

    Hi,
    I am looking into studying massage at the Clinica de Masaje in Puerto Rico. It is a 1000 hr program. Does this mean that upon successful completion of the program, I could just pay the fee, take & pass the test in NYS and be able to practice in NYS? Is there any way to know for sure (before investing my time and money in this program) whether or not it is a New York State licensure qualifying program? Thank you so much

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Valerie, yes the way to make sure is to contact the State Board of NY and run the proposal by them. Is there a reason you are targeting NY?

      • Valerie Sauers says:

        Thank you Neal. I am originally from there, still have a lot of family there and I imagine that at some point I will want to be able to practice there. Would you please be able to provide me with specifics as to what exactly I should include in the proposal and to whom or where exactly I should send it?

      • Valerie Sauers says:

        Thank you Neal. I am still planning on putting together a proposal like you said but this is the response I just received from a previous email I had sent asking the same questions I posted here….

        (from MSTHBD@nysed.gov)
        Thank you for contacting the New York State Education Department – State Board for Massage Therapy.

        Unfortunately, our Department cannot determine whether or not your education meets our requirements until you’ve completed the program and then applied for a license with us.

        We do have a breakdown of content listed on our website, whose link you can find below.

        http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mt/mtlic.htm#educ

        Good luck with everything. If you should have any other questions, please feel free to contact us via the contact information at the close of your e-mail. Have a great day. Best to you.

        • Neal Lyons says:

          this is not at all helpful – what may be helpful is sitting down with a guidance counselor from the massage school and going through this together. they work with a fresh crop of students all the time and may be up to date with what the requirements are and how your credentials compare to what you eventually need to get going

  6. Neal Lyons says:

    Valerie – scroll up and you will see the information for the state board of New York. you want to tell them exactly what you wrote here on the blog, and ask them whether they will consider the transfer. if not, what else is it that they specifically need to ensure a seamless transition. it’s better to call them and speak to a representative. please let us know how the conversation goes and what you learn from their response. it will also help other readers interested in pursuing the same path you are on.

    • Valerie Sauers says:

      Oops, looks like I replied to the wrong comment. Please see the above comments for an email response I received from MSTHBD@nysed.gov.

      It just seems crazy to me that I should have to potentially invest a year and a half studying at a program and $6500, plus then additional money to apply for licensure in NYS all without knowing if that education will be approved. If I know that it will not be approved, I might choose a different school.

      Is there a different person to email besides Tim Goyer & Dr. Kathleen Doyle at MSTHBD@nysed.gov? Is this the same email address you referred to?

      • Neal Lyons says:

        Valerie – you may be better off talking to a variety of schools in the area to determine the best fit for you. keep in mind accredited institutions are approved so that students can be awarded financial aid. look at nest cost to you

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