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The State of California Massage Therapist Requirements

Throughout the 163,696 square miles of The Golden State, approximately 52,931 massage therapists work to help the more than 39.5 million people in their state find relief from pain, rehabilitation from injuries, and comfort in the midst of stress and anxiety.

With 3,928,864 people in Los Angeles, 1,381,069 people in San Diego, and 1,021,795 people in San Jose, massage therapists who work in California can find an engaged environment to open, continue, or join a massage therapy business.

How Do I Become A Massage Therapist in California?

If you’re ready to move into your career as a massage therapist in California, you must register with the California Massage Therapy Council. The registration fee is $200. Once you are registered, you must receive licensure by the Board. If you do not register, you will need to get a permit from each of the cities in which you practice massage.

In order to receive this license, you must complete a minimum of 500 hours from an accredited massage therapy school and be certified by the Board.

You can find application request forms on their website.

Where Can I Study?

The California Massage Therapy Council provides information on CMTC school approval to help future LMTs choose the right school to complete their 500 required hours.

To help you get started, below are a couple of popular schools for massage therapy in California.

  • National Holistic Institute: Living their mission statement to “help people have work they love,” this school takes time to get to know each student so they can better understand how to help them through their journey as a professional massage therapist. As a respected and nationally accredited massage therapy school, students will receive hands-on experience and quality feedback from clients.
  • Alhambra Medical University: Believing in working together to better community, the world, and themselves, this school provides rigorous training for students. Because of the high demand for those skilled in Asian Body Work therapy, students will be provided with job opportunities for licensed massage and bodywork practitioners.

Other education options include Everest College and Esalen Institute.

How Much Will I Earn?

The average annual wage of a massage therapist in California was $59,449 in 2014. This is on the higher side of state earnings, with the average national salary at $53,222. Massage therapists who work in San Francisco have the opportunity to earn a higher salary, with the average for this city at $66,528 annually.