In Arizona, the requirements for massage therapy practice and education are overseen by the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy. The Arizona Board recognizes schools that have been approved by the state board for private postsecondary education, are accredited to offer massage therapy education by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education, or is a joint technical education district program that is offered by a joint technical education district.
In order for a massage therapist to seek licensure in the state of Arizona, the school must provide a minimum of 500 hours of classroom and clinical instruction.
Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education
If you are going to operate a massage therapy school in Arizona, it would have to be licensed by the Board for Private Postsecondary Education as a vocational program. To be licensed to operate by the board, you must first submit a letter of intent to the board, specifying the “nature and scope” of your school. The board will then send you an application packet. The entire licensing process can take from 120 to 240 days.
First, you must submit an application and pay the non-refundable application fee of about $800. You must also provide a $15,000 or greater surety bond.
You will also have to provide financial statements; a copy of your student enrollment contract; copies of your promotional materials; curriculum information; a list of educational resource materials; a copy of the certificate or diploma you will be issuing; market research information and information on practitioner requirements; resumes of the school owners, board of directors, executive officers and administrative executives; resumes of faculty members; copies of incorporating papers, if applicable; facility blueprints or drawings; and a copy of a fire inspection report.
After the application is received, you will need to participate in a facility inspection, and then appear before the board for license consideration. You will need to receive board approval before recruiting students, enrolling students, accepting payments, or beginning instruction.
National Accreditation Agencies
If you want to get your school accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education, you would have to apply to one of the following agencies.
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Schools and Colleges (ACICS)
- Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
- National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)
Most of these agencies do not allow a new school to apply for accreditation, but require that you be operating for about 2 years before applying. The cost of national accreditation ranges from $8,000 to $28,000 or higher. It can take 2 years or more to complete the accreditation process.
Joint Technical Education District Program
A joint technical education district is a high-school program that trains sophomores, juniors, and seniors in career and technical education. These are operated through the Arizona public schools.
If you want to start a massage therapy school in Arizona, you need to apply to and obtain licensure from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. This is a 120 to 240 day process with a cost of approximately $800 for applying. It requires you to provide financial, marketing and curriculum information, and to participate in an on-site inspection as well as appear before the board. Once you have been licensed, you can be “recognized” by the massage therapy board and your graduates can apply for an Arizona massage therapy license.