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The State of Illinois Massage Therapist Requirements

Throughout the 57,915 square miles of The Prairie State, approximately 9,000 massage therapists work to help the more than 12.8 million people in their state find relief from pain, rehabilitation from injuries, and comfort in the midst of stress and anxiety.

With 2,695,598 people in Chicago, 197,899 people in Aurora, and 152,871 people in Rockford, massage therapists who work in Illinois can find an engaged environment to open, continue, or join a massage therapy business.

How Do I Become A Massage Therapist in Illinois?

If you’re ready to move into your career as a massage therapist in Illinois, you must register with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The registration fee is $175. Once you are registered, you must receive licensure by the Department. If you do not register, you will be working illegally and can receive a fine.

In order to receive this license, you must complete a minimum of 600 hours of supervised classroom and hands-on instruction from an approved massage therapy program and be certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

You can find application request forms on their website.

Where Can I Study?

With 44 approved schools in Illinois where future LMTs can complete their 600 hours, it can be difficult to choose the right school.

Chicago is one of the most popular cities in Illinois to study massage, with two leading schools operating there: The Soma Institute and Northwestern College.

  • The Soma Institute: With hands-on training and practical experience, this school has helped thousands of students get the training, experience and support they needed to succeed professionally. The school offers many programs, such as clinical massage therapy, health and wellness coaching, and continuing education. Soma graduates with a clinical massage therapy diploma have an 82.2 percent placement rate in a variety of organizations.
  • Northwestern College: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the AMTA, this school hopes its students will be able to actively participate in the functions of healthcare teams, evaluate treatment plans to perform therapeutic massages, and become a licensed massage therapist in Illinois.

Other education options outside of Chicago include National University of Health Sciences in Lombard and University of Spa and Cosmetology Arts in Springfield.

How Much Will I Earn?

The average annual wage of a massage therapist in Illinois was $34,740 in 2014. This is on the lower side of state earnings, with the average national salary at $41,790. However, massage therapists who work in Peoria have the opportunity to earn a higher salary, with the average for this city at $47,690 annually.