How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania, the requirements for massage therapy practice and also, education is overseen by the State Board of Massage Therapy.

A professional board under the umbrella of the Pennsylvania Department of State.

And also, if you want to start a private massage school in Pennsylvania.

So you must have a minimum of a 600-hour program.

And also, your school must license or register as a Private Licensed School by the Board of Private Schools within the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Private Licensed School Registration from the Board of Private Schools

Before you apply for a school license, Pennsylvania requires that you attend a New School Applicant Orientation within the 12 months preceding your application.

However, the cost of the seminar is $300 per person.

The fee for a new license application is $7500, plus $750 for the site inspection and also, $1400 for additional program applications if you offer more than one program at your school.

Applications must submit electronically, but payments must be made via regular mail.

The New School Application for Pennsylvania is a 22-page spreadsheet.

You will be asked to provide information regarding:

  • School type, name, address, contact information, and owners;
  • Facility floor plan and certificate of occupancy.
  • If more than one location is anticipated.
  • you will have to pay an additional $500 for each added facility;
  • Details of ownership and business structure, including background of owner(s);
  • Surety bond or irrevocable trust;
  • Business plan;
  • Income and expenditure projections for the first year of operation;
  • Assets and liabilities;
  • Audited financial statement for owner(s);
  • Evidence of capital;
  • Signed ethics form;
  • A records repository agreement;
  • Director’s name, work experience and also, education;
  • Information on admissions representatives, plus a $600 fee for each;
  • Sample enrollment agreement and checklist;
  • School catalogue.

New Program Application

And also, you will have to submit a New Program Application for each program your school will offer (up to three will consider at one time).

The New Program Application is also in spreadsheet format and also, asks for the following information:

  • Title of program, length in hours, length in days, weeks or months, and also, cost of the program;
  • Entrance requirements, occupational skills taught, career opportunities for graduates;
  • Equipment to use;
  • Instructors for each course taught;
  • A list of job opportunities for your graduates;
  • Course outline;
  • Syllabus for each course;
  • Facility floor plan;
  • Instructor qualifications;
  • Texts to use and their reading levels;
  • Information on externships, if applicable;
  • School catalogue.

School Licenses

After your application is reviewed you will be given 10 days to make any corrections or additions that the department requires.

So if not completed in time, your application will not be presented to the board for review until the next month.

Because you will have one year to complete your application successfully before the application expires.

Once the application is presented to the board, it can approve, approve pending revisions, deferred or denied.

If approved, you can launch your program immediately.

So if you are deferred or approved pending revisions.

So you have one year from the meeting date to submit revisions.

If denied, you will have to re-apply from the beginning.

School licenses must renew after the first year, and also, every two years thereafter.

The cost of renewal is based on your gross tuition receipts and also,  can range from $1,000 for schools with less than $5000 tuition receipts to $35,000 for schools with more than $1,000,000 tuition receipts.

Pennsylvania Board of Massage Therapy Requirements

So your school must offer at least 600 hours of massage therapy education.

That education must include

  • 175 hours of Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology and Kinesiology;
  • 250 hours of Massage Therapy and Bodywork Assessment, including Theory, Practical Application, Clinical Practice, Safety and Hygiene.
  • 25 hours in Business and Ethics.
  • The remaining 150 hours of Massage Therapy related topics, to meet the standards of the board, including CPR.

Externships and practice under indirect supervision may not include in the 600 hours.

The board also requires that your school report to incoming students, in writing, the annual passage rates for the school’s graduates in the licensing examination for the previous two years.

Schools who do not do this run the risk of losing their state approval.

Massage therapists who work at the school would also be at risk of discipline from the board and how to open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania board regulations list the knowledge base expected to be taught in massage school:

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania.


  • Massage and bodywork assessment and application;
  • Contraindications and also, precautions for massage therapy;
  • Anatomy and physiology;
  • Kinesiology;
  • Pathology;
  • Pennsylvania legal requirements;
  • Business practices;
  • Professional ethics;
  • CPR, resulting in board-approved certification;
  • Communicable diseases and universal precautions;
  • Power differentials and other therapeutic boundary issues as they relate to client interaction;
  • Fundamentals of human behaviour and respect for clients in the practice of massage therapy.

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania

Practical skills:

  • Administer fundamental massage therapy for treatment of soft tissue manifestations of the human body;
  • Safely utilize topical preparations, hydrotherapy, heat and cold methods, and movements that lengthen and shorten soft tissues within the client’s range of motion;
  • Maintain safe and effective body mechanics in the practice of massage therapy;
  • Locate and palpate muscle attachments, muscle bellies and also, other anatomical landmarks necessary for the practice of massage therapy;
  • Use draping/coverage practices that address both function and safety;
  • Development, implementation and modification of a massage therapy treatment plan;
  • Obtaining informed consent;
  • Effective interpersonal relationships in a professional setting;
  • Ethical decision making;
  • Establishing and maintaining an environment that provides for the client’s safety and comfort;
  • Establishing and maintaining client records, business records, and professional records.

The board also requires that you maintain any records of services from your students’ clinical training program for three years after the student has completed the program.


So if you want to open a private massage therapy school and how to open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania.

And also, you must have a 600-hour program of instruction that meets the requirements of the Board of Massage Therapy.

Board of Private Schools must have a license for your school.

The licensing process may take as long as a year.

The fees for initial licensure are $7500, plus $750 for the site inspection.

And also, you will be required to have a surety bond.

Renewal of your license (after the first year and every two years thereafter) will cost $1000 or more, depending on tuition receipts.

Your admissions representatives will also need to register with the Board of Private Schools, at a cost of $600 each.


Pennsylvania State Board of Massage Therapy

Pennsylvania Board of Private Schools

Private School Rules In Pennsylvania

How to Open a Massage Therapy School in Pennsylvania.

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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