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Navigating the Path to Becoming a Massage Therapist

If you’ve ever considered a career in massage therapy, California can be an exciting place to start your journey. However, there are several key questions you might have on your mind. In this article, we’ll address some of the most common queries about the field of massage therapy, bodywork, and becoming a massage therapist in the Golden State.

1. What is the purpose of massage therapy?

Massage therapy serves multiple purposes. It can promote relaxation, reduce stress, alleviate muscle tension, and improve circulation. It’s often used as a complementary approach to healthcare and can assist with various physical and mental health conditions.

2. What is bodywork?

Bodywork is a term that encompasses various therapeutic and holistic approaches to health and well-being. It includes techniques like massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and more. Bodywork focuses on improving the body’s function and promoting overall wellness.

3. What is the healthiest type of massage?

The “healthiest” type of massage can vary from person to person, depending on their specific needs. Some popular and generally beneficial types of massage include restorative circulatory massage for relaxation, deep tissue massage for muscle tension, and sports massage for athletes. The IPSB-550 program includes classes and training in all these modalities.

4. How long does it take to become a massage therapist in California?

Becoming a massage therapist in California requires dedication and time. The minimum requirement for training and education is 500 hours. However, the specific duration may vary depending on the program and school you choose. The IPSB-550 program is 550 hours, and the average time it takes to complete is 14-15 months. Some students choose to stretch it out to two years.

5. What is the difference between a CMT and LMT?

California primarily uses the title "Certified Massage Therapist" (CMT) rather than "Licensed Massage Therapist" (LMT). Both titles essentially refer to qualified individuals who can provide massage therapy. However, the specific requirements and regulations may vary by state. California’s regulatory body for massage therapy is the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), which grants certification to qualified individuals. The specific terminology and requirements can change over time, so it's essential to check with CAMTC for the most up-to-date information on massage therapy programs and certifications in California.

6. How much is massage school in Los Angeles?

The cost of massage school in Los Angeles can fluctuate significantly. It’s advisable to research different schools and programs to find the one that best fits your budget and educational goals. 

The IPSB-550 program price is $11,005 that is good for a two-year period. After that, if the program price has officially increased, then a student would be subject to price increases. IPSB offers 0% APR payment plans that can incorporate the cost of your massage table and textbooks. Tuition may be paid in full or in installments over the duration of the program to receive certificates or transcripts.

7. Do massage therapists make good money in California?

Massage therapists in California have the potential to earn a decent income, but actual earnings can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and specialization. In major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, therapists may have the potential to earn higher incomes due to the higher cost of living. AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) and ABMP (Association for Bodywork & Massage Therapists) are national professional organizations that provide support, resources, and insurance for massage therapists, bodyworkers, and estheticians in the United States. They aim to help practitioners grow their careers and maintain professional standards in the industry. They periodically provide market research on the industry. Visit their official websites or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

8. What resources are available for massage school graduates? 

In addition to AMTA and ABMP professional memberships, IPSB offers extensive life-time resources for alumni including mentorships to support recent graduates making the transition into a professional career, job postings and an IPSB alumni locator based on geographic location to support your professional practice, and private alumni group messaging boards for classmates to stay connected and share information after graduation. 

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a massage therapist in California, particularly in Los Angeles, can be a fulfilling path. However, it’s essential to stay informed about the latest requirements and opportunities to make the most of your journey in this exciting field. Always verify current regulations and consult with professionals in the industry for the most accurate guidance. 

IPSB is here to share in the transformative power of our holistic approach to massage therapy and more. Join us at our next Open House event and embark on a rewarding career path filled with wellness and healing!


(310) 342-7130


3400 Airport Ave, Unit 25

Santa Monica, CA 90405


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