How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois, the requirements for massage therapy practice and education are overseen by the Illinois Department of Finance and also, Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

A Massage Board advises the IDFPR on rules and procedures regarding massage therapy.

If you want to start a massage school in Illinois, massage therapy laws and also, rules require students to have completed a 600 hour in-class, supervised the program.

Illinois law also requires any private vocational school be approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).

Obtaining Approval from the Board of Higher Education (IBHE)

According to the IBHE website, approval of your application to open a new school may take 6-9 months.

So you will have to submit a new institution application as well as a new program of study application.

The fees for your application are based on the projected size of your school and also, can range from $880 for schools with less than 100 students to $5000 for schools with more than 700 students.

Once your completed application and fees are received, an analyst from IBHE will review the application.

The applications are reviewed in the order received, so the time to process your application will depend on the backlog at IBHE.

Once the analyst has been assigned, he or she will correspond with you or your designated contact person until the application has been approved or disapproved.

The analyst may schedule a site visit, at their discretion.

The 16-page New Institution Application requires you to answer questions in narrative form regarding your school including:

  • Mission and Goals;
  • Institutional structure (organization) and any accreditation or licensure needed;
  • Academic programs and curriculum, including requirements for admission and a program outline;
  • Institutional finances;
  • Facilities and equipment;
  • Instructors and staff;
  • Records retention;
  • Recruiting practices;
  • A surety bond in an amount based on your projected total prepaid tuition collections, but not less than $10,000;
  • Liability insurance;
  • Student complaint procedures.

Your school’s policies and procedures must meet the requirements in the Administrative Code for school approval.

Application Form – How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois

In addition to the completed application form, you must attach the following documents to the application:

  • Organizational chart
  • Enrollment agreement
  • Cancellation and refund policy
  • Academic calendar
  • Projected annual enrollment and also, diplomas awarded
  • Projected schedule of courses
  • Academic catalogue
  • Planning and budgeting information
  • Financial statements
  • Facilities table
  • Documentation of facility compliance with local ordinances and laws
  • Labelled pictures of the facility and equipment
  • Blueprints of the facility
  • Copy of your lease or documentation of your ownership of the facility
  • Projected library acquisitions and also, budget
  • Letters of agreement for library services, if applicable
  • Instructor and also, staff qualifications
  • Sample transcript
  • Promotional, advertising and recruiting materials
  • Surety bond
  • Documentation or calculations related to the surety bond
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Student complaint policy
  • New Program of Study Application (and fee)

The New Program of Study Application fee ranges from $280 for schools with less than 100 students to $1,590 for schools with more than 700 students.

In addition to the information needed for the New Institution Application, you will need to describe the program of study in detail.

This includes providing the length of study and how completion of your program will qualify your graduates to pursue employment in the field of massage therapy.

And also, you will need to describe how you developed your curriculum and also, how you will evaluate its effectiveness.

Because it is in this application that you would demonstrate that your program meets the massage law requirements for an approved school.

IDFPR (Massage Board) Rules for Approved Schools

For your graduates to be able to apply for licensure in Illinois, your program must meet the following requirements:

  • 600 hours of supervised instruction in the classroom and in hands-on practice.
  • Include in your curriculum, as a minimum, instruction in
    • Anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology;
    • Massage theory, technique and practice;
    • Contraindications, benefits, universal precautions, body mechanics, history, client data collection, documentation, ethics, business and legalities of massage, professional standards including draping and modesty, therapeutic relationships and communications.
  • Require students to maintain at least a 70% grade average in order to pass.
  • Your program must also meet administrative criteria:
    • Have and maintain a program philosophy, objectives and plan of organization;
    • Have a written plan of study including prerequisite, requisite, and elective courses;
    • Maintain course outlines for all massage therapy courses;
    • Provide a student handbook;
    • Have sufficient faculty to meet educational obligations. Lead faculty for lab/clinical courses must have 2 years or 2000 hours of experience in their field.
    • Anatomy and physiology instructors must have 2 years or 2000 hours of experience in their field and/or a degree from an approved college or school that is related to their area of instruction;
    • Faculty assistants, if used, must have a written job description giving qualifications, duties and procedures for them.
    • They cannot be used as substitute instructors, nor can they be responsible for the overall evaluation of any student.
    • They must work under the supervision of an instructor;
    • Your school must maintain student records that include credentials for admission, attendance, grades and also, other records of performance;
    • In a lab or clinical practice, the student to teacher ratio cannot be more than 20:1, with 10 students serving as therapists and 10 as clients;
    • All hands-on practice must be done on living human clients.

Summary – How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois

And also, if you want to open a new massage therapy school in Illinois and how to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois.

So you must obtain approval for your school from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and also, have a program of at least 600 hours of supervised in-class instruction.

So your curriculum must include the topics listed in the rules governing massage therapy in Illinois.

In addition, your school must meet specific standards regarding administration, instructors and student to teacher ratio.

So the total cost of applications can range from $1,160 up to $6,590, depending on the size of the school.

The time from application to approval can range from 6 to 9 months.


IDFPR Massage Therapy Page

Administrative Code for Massage Schools in Illinois

IBHE Private Business and Vocational Schools:

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Illinois

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+

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