Operating a Massage Therapy School in Virginia

Operating a Massage Therapy School in Virginia, the requirements for massage therapy practice and also,  education is overseen by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

In order for you to start a massage therapy school in Virginia whose graduates are eligible to apply for a Virginia massage therapy license.

So you must have a minimum of a 500-hour program approved by the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia.

Obtaining Approval from the State Council for Higher Education

Office of Private & Out of State Postsecondary Education (POPE) must apply for obtaining approval from your school.

New School Orientation Session will require attending by you before submitting an application

Because these are scheduled monthly by the POPE.

And also, you will have to register for the session and also, pay the $150 registration fee, or your school application will not be accepted.

However, the second step in the application process is to complete and submit the application itself, with required documents and fees.

MTSI – Operating a Massage Therapy School in Virginia.

The application will require you to provide information on

  • Your school’s name, address, and location;
  • Accreditation status – you will be required to have a plan to pursue accreditation if you have not already been accredited;
  • School Ownership;
  • Surety Bond or Clean Letter of Irrevocable Credit the amount of Surety is calculated using a worksheet provided in the application packet.
  • The amount is dependent on your projected enrollment and tuition receipts.
  • The minimum surety amount is $5,000;
  • Estimated annual enrollment;
  • Credentials to be offered;
  • Draft of student handbook;
  • Sample advertising and promotional materials;
  • Sample enrollment agreement;


  • Institutional plan report;
  • School catalogue;
  • If incorporated in Virginia, the State Corporation Commission certificate;
  • Your local business license;
  • A Certificate of Occupancy for your facility;
  • A Truth-in-Lending statement if you are going to allow students to make instalment payments.
  • Certificate, Diploma or Degree Program Information form, listing all programs, their hours and credentials awarded;
  • A New Program Approval Form that shows that your curriculum meets state and industry standards and your faculty meets appropriate standards of licensing and experience;
  • A three-year projected accounting budget;
  • An Acknowledgment of Prior Postsecondary Involvement Form to disclose any previous involvement of owners or board members in another school;
  • An Administrator Qualification Form – with education and also, work experience of your administrator;
  • An Instructor Qualification Form for each instructor;
  • A Career-Technical Institution Plan Report – detailing the operations and financial projections for your school.

You will have to submit the entire application in a 3-ring binder with a table of contents and clearly marked dividers and Operating a Massage Therapy School in Virginia

School Application Fee

So the new career school application fee is $2,500.

And also, you will need to pay $300 for the Initial Name Acknowledgment.

Following receipt of your application, a representative of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) will conduct a site visit.

Upon completion of an acceptable application and also, site visit, a recommendation will be made to the SCHEV board at its next board meeting.

At that time you will receive your certification and also, can begin operation.  Your school will need to be recertified annually.

The recertification fee is based on your annual gross tuition receipts from the previous year.

Massage School Accrediting Bodies

As a career school in Virginia, you will have to pursue accreditation as part of maintaining your certification from the POPE.

The following organizations provide accreditation to massage schools:

  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Schools and Colleges (ACICS)
  • National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)

Each accrediting agency has different requirements.

In most cases, you have to open the school first before beginning the accreditation process.

Some allow you to begin the process once you have students enrolled.

Others require that you have been in business for more than two years and/or have graduated students before beginning the accreditation process.

Because the cost of accreditation ranges from around $8,000 to more than $28,000.

The time from application to accreditation may range from 18 months to 2 years or more.

During that time you can expect to attend mandatory workshops, have your books audited, have your school inspected.

And also, possibly make revisions to comply with accreditation standards.


To Operating a Massage Therapy School in Virginia, you need to have at least a 500-hour program that meets industry standards.

And also, you will have to obtain certification from the  State Council for Higher Education for Virginia, Office of Private & Out-of-State Postsecondary Education.

The application process requires attendance at an orientation session, sending in an application and required fees, and a site visit.

The cost of initial approval is about $2,800.

Your school will need to be recertified annually.

The recertification fee is based on your annual gross tuition receipts from the previous year.


Virginia Massage Therapy Information

Virginia  Office of Private & Out-of-State Postsecondary Education

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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