How to Operate a Massage Therapy School in Tennessee

How to Operate a Massage Therapy School in Tennessee!

The requirements for massage therapy practice and education are overseen by the Tennessee Massage Licensure Board.

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

So you must have a minimum of 500 hours of instruction.

Because you must apply to and obtain approval from the Massage Licensure Board.

All post-secondary educational institutions in Tennessee must also be authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Tennessee Higher Education Commission Application Procedure and Requirements

The authorization process includes:

  • Completing the Initial Authorization Application;
  • Payment of all appropriate fees;
  • Securing required bonds;
  • Meeting all minimum standards;
  • Final approval by a vote of the Committee of Postsecondary Educational Institutions.

Post Secondary Rules

And also, your first step in obtaining authorization to how to operate a massage therapy school in Tennessee is to contact the Division of Postsecondary State Authorization.

And also, request an application for initial authorization.

The Committee of Postsecondary Educational Institutions meets quarterly.

So you will need to have your application to the committee at least three months before the meeting at which it will be considered.

The minimum standards to be met are detailed in the Postsecondary Rules.

In brief, you must demonstrate in your application materials that your school has

  • Educational programs with demonstrated quality, content, and appropriate length;
  • Compliant administrative, business and operational standards;
  • Qualified instructors and administrative staff;
  • Financial stability.

How to operate a massage therapy school in Tennessee.

The fee for the initial authorization application is $3,000.

Your recruiters will also need agent permits.

Which have a $500 application fee?

And also, you will have an annual reauthorization fee ranging from $500 to $3500, depending on your enrollment.

Because you will be required to have a $10,000 surety bond.

So for student indemnification purposes.

Massage Therapy Application Procedure And Board Requirements

In your application, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Name of parent institution and authority for operation;
  • Location of all facilities;
  • Names and license numbers of all licensed teaching staff and the program director;
  • Curriculum vitae for all teaching staff and the program director.
  • So including any prior disciplinary action taken against a license;
  • Maximum class size;
  • A copy of your catalog, submitted on plain copy paper, single side only;
  • Any other information the board deems necessary.

Your curriculum must consist of a minimum of 500 hours of instruction.

And consistent with the content of the MBLEx examination.

Classroom Hours

It must at minimum contain

  • 200 classroom hours of sciences: anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, HIV/AIDS.
  • And also, bloodborne pathogens, and hygiene, including standard precautions.
  • 200 classroom hours of basic massage theory and practice: history, benefits, indications, contraindications, demonstration.
  • And also, supervised practice, client assessment/evaluation, soft tissue manipulations.
  • As well draping, positioning, turning, feedback, charting/documentation, proper body mechanics and self-care.
  • 85 classroom hours of related subjects: business standards of practice, communication skills, CPR/First Aid.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act, referral methods, specialized populations, and specialized.
  • And also, adjunct therapies, including hydrotherapy.
  • 10 classroom hours of ethics.
  • 5 classroom hours of Tennessee Massage laws and rules.

Other Minimum Standards Required By The Board:

  • Instructor to student ratio should be at least 1 instructor to 14 students for hands-on classes;
  • You will have to distribute your catalog, syllabus, policies, procedures.
  • And also, handbook or brochure regarding approved examination, current content outline.
  • And also, eligibility criteria to students on or before the first day of class;
  • Each graduating class must have at least two hours of instruction from the impaired professional assistance program contracted by the Board;
  • Your students must sign documents that you maintain in your files indicating that they
    • know and understand the requirements for licensure, specifically provisions regarding criminal convictions, prior to enrolling in your program;
    • understand that they are prohibited from receiving any compensation for a massage while they are students;
  • You must have a written policy on accepted pass/fail rates or your grading system;
  • You must have a written policy on how you will evaluate students.
  • At least one evaluation has to take place in the first half of the program;

Tennessee Higher Education Program (THEC)

  • Your program will keep official records for each student in compliance with the rules of the Tennessee Higher Education Program (THEC) and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR); how to operate a massage therapy school in Tennessee.
  • You will have to provide a copy of the student transcript to a student who withdraws or completes your program.
  • You are only required to do this for students that have complied with the enrollment agreement;
  • Your transcripts must comply with requirements of THEC.
  • You will have to notify the board within 10 days if you hire or fire instructors or the director.
  • And also, you have 10 days to provide training and experience documentation for new hires;
  • You will have 10 days to provide notice to the board of any change in the status of the school such as change of owner, director, location.
  • And also, approved status from THEC or TBR;
  • You will have to comply with a request from the Department of Health.
  • Other state agencies with regard to access to your program material, examinations and classroom instruction.
  • A Board designee or a Board member can give you preliminary approval subsequent to Board ratification;
  • Your admission standards must meet minimum requirements.

Students Must Be

  • High school graduates or equivalent;
  • At least 18 years old;
  • Legally entitled to work in the United States;
  • Never convicted of prostitution or sexual misconduct.
  • Your instructors must meet minimum requirements:
    • The Program Director must be a licensed massage therapist with at least five years of experience.
    • The program director must meet any other requirements of THEC or TBR.
    • So the Director of Education must meet any requirements of THEC or TBR.
    • The Institution Director must meet any requirements of THEC or TBR.
    • Instructors must be licensed in Tennessee and have at least three years of practical experience within the past seven years.
  • You will have to file an annual report with the board.


If you want to open a private massage therapy school in Tennessee, how to operate a massage therapy school in Tennessee.

So you must have a 500-hour or more program of instruction that meets the requirements of and is approved by the Massage Licensure Board.

And also, you will require authorization to operate from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Authorization from the Commission will cost $3,000.

$10,000 surety bond will also require for me.

How to operate a massage therapy school in Tennessee.

Your agents will also have to have a $500 permit.

They must be renewing annually authorizations and permits

The time from application to obtaining an authorization is at least 3 months.


Tennessee Massage Licensure Board

Tennessee Massage Education Rules

School and Agent Authorization Information

Tennessee Commission on Higher Education

Rules Governing Postsecondary Educational Institutions in Tennessee

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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