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Attend Massage Therapy School with Your VA Benefits

Massage therapy is a popular career choice that focuses on treatments for specific ailments, as well as overall health and wellness. Education and training in massage therapy are typically found as a postsecondary certificate program and as an associate degree program.  But does the GI Bill pay for massage therapy school?

Can I Use the GI Bill to Pay for Massage Therapy School?

The short answer is yes.  The GI Bill can pay for massage therapy school, including certificate or degree programs.  You can find GI Bill®-approved schools with massage therapy programs below.  However, you will always need to check with the school to ensure that your VA benefits actually covers your program of choice.

What Do Massage Therapists Do?

Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Yet, massage therapy is much more than a Swedish or Shiatsu massage when on vacation. Massage therapists work in a wide variety of settings including:
  • Physicians’ Offices
  • Rehab Clinics
  • Spas
  • Wellness Clinics
  • Hotels
  • Fitness Centers
  • Client’s Homes

Education and Training for Massage Therapy

Massage therapists typically complete a postsecondary education program of 500 or more hours of study and experience. Programs include both classroom study and hands-on practice of massage techniques. Programs cover subjects such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, business management, and ethics. Students may also choose to specialize in a particular area treatment. Massage Therapy can span a variety of specialties including:
  • Injury Therapy
  • Headache Treatment
  • TMJ Treatment
  • Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy (MLD)
  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Prenatal Massage
A degree or certification in Massage Therapy is also a popular benchmark and steppingstone for those wishing to advance their education in related fields such as Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy.

Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification. Currently 45 states (and the District of Columbia) have regulations concerning massage therapy. Regulations at the local levels may also apply.

Regulations typically require graduation from an approved massage therapy program and passing an exam. The most popular exam process is the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) licensure exam, offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

Massage therapists may also need to pass a background check, have liability insurance, and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Continuing education credits to periodically renew licensure is also common.



Ready to Become a Massage Therapist?

Many massage therapists do not work a typical 9-5 job. Because therapists work by appointment in most cases, their schedules and the number of hours worked each week can vary considerably. Many massage therapists choose to work part-time, while others may choose to work a busier schedule facilitated by seasonal, vacation, and tourist demand.

Successful massage therapists benefit from the following skills and attributes:

Communication skills

Massage therapists need to listen and hear clients' concerns and their goals for massage therapy treatments. Kindness and empathy are also immensely helpful in establishing trust and giving clients a positive experience, both for repeat customers and in expanding the client base.


Massage therapists often have access to sensitive client details such as medical histories. Therefore, they must be trustworthy and professional to protect the privacy of their clients.

Stamina, strength, and dexterity

Massage therapists must be strong (especially in their hands and arms) when administering treatments and have the stamina for long appointment sessions and multiple appointments in a row.

Critical thinking skills

Massage therapists must evaluate each client’s goals and recommend the best treatment based on that person’s needs. Must also be able to troubleshoot issues as they arise using knowledge, training, and external resources.

Time-management skills

Must use appointment times wisely to help accomplish the goals of each session. Must be able to use time efficiently when handling business-oriented tasks such as scheduling, payments, etc.

Ready to Earn Your Certificate or Degree in Massage Therapy?

Arizona School of Integrative Studies Certificate in Massage Therapy

Offers a Certificate Program in Massage Therapy. ASIS is a private vocational school with 4 locations in Arizona. Certificate programs run for 7 months to 1.5 years. ASIS is a GI Bill-approved school. Students should check with the school to ensure their preferred program is covered by the GI Bill. Students at ASIS can enroll in a certificate program to earn their Arizona License and prepare them to sit the MBLEx.  For more info, please go here.