How to Learn Massage Therapy

If you’re looking for a new career, becoming a massage therapist should be at the top of your list. According to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for massage therapists is growing at a rate of 22% from years 2014-24 (which is much faster than average). US News lists massage therapy as #5 on the list for Best HealthcCare Support Jobs.

The increasing demand for massage therapists is not the only benefit to getting into the career now. There are several others including the amount of time it takes to get a massage education, the variety of careers available, and the personal reward you get out of working with clients. If you’re interested in learning massage therapy, read on!

How to Learn Massage Therapy

The first step to learning massage therapy is to get an education that can prepare you for a career.

Enrolling in a School

Being enrolled in an accredited school makes a difference. Accreditation shows that the school is reliable, has a qualified staff, and are recognized by employers across the nation.

We are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, and we are approved by the New York State Education Department. Because of our accreditation, we are able to offer federally funded financial assistance to those that qualify. Just another perk of being accredited!

How to Get Enrolled: Tour the School

To find out if a school is for you, set a time to explore massage therapy on a your personalized tour! If you’re interested in exploring the career of massage therapy at our school, walk-in tours are available during business hours, but scheduling an appointment can allow for a more in-depth tour. If you book your tour, you will also have the chance to speak with our financial aid department. For more information about recent FAFSA changes, see our blog post on the topic.

To book your tour at one of our campuses, contact our Admissions Director and our Advocate of Possibilities or click here:
Phone: 315-424-1159

Phone: 585-241-0070

How to Get Enrolled: Learn About Financial Aid & Funding

We offer financial aid to those that qualify, as well as scholarships and other forms of funding. Not all schools offer all types of funding, so do your research. If you’re interested in what we offer, contact our financial aid administrators: Selina Boyd (Syracuse campus) and Jodi Brodner (Rochester campus)

Learn With No Boundaries

The next step to learning massage is to go for it. Dive into your program. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, take opportunities, and fail. There is no better way to learn than to learn from mistakes. If you want to become a talented massage therapist, you should dedicate yourself to learning the craft.

Our Licensed Massage Therapist program covers a variety of techniques and modalities. You can learn the science elements in massage therapy including anatomy and physiology, as well as the specific types of massage such as Swedish and sports massage. Massage therapy education is our passion, and we strive to create a curriculum that reflects how much we love the industry.

If you’re looking for a way to learn massage that feels comprehensive, hands on, and professional, look to Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage. We believe that we can offer you just that. Want to learn more about why students enroll? Read more here. Ready to apply? Simply fill out our form to get started. We’re looking forward to seeing you here at OSTM.

Changes to FAFSA: What You Need to Know

Here at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we are proud to be able to offer financial aid to those who qualify. However, we know and understand how intimidating applying for financial aid may seem. We’re here to give you the latest update on FAFSA changes and to help you get assistance with applying to make it as easy as possible for you.

What Changes Have Been Made to FAFSA?

Previously, when filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) there was a retrieval tool that allowed students to go in and see their tax information. You could input your FSAID, and it would pull all of that for you. Unfortunately, that tool is no longer available, and it will not be available again until October of 2017. The great news is the Financial Aid Administrators at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage can help you with the process!

Who Do These Changes Affect?

The change will affect any student looking to apply for federal aid before Oct. 2017. However, it by no means makes the process impossible, just a bit slower!

Why Did This Change Happen?

The change was made by the IRS strictly for the purposes of website security. It appears to be an extra precaution they are taking to protect student information. It may be a bit more inconvenient, but it is worth it to keep your info safe!

What Can OSTM Do to Help Me?

By scheduling your one on one financial aid appointment you will receive support and guidance throughout the financial aid process to finding out what you qualify for, and we will schedule a follow up financial aid appointment with you to complete the last steps on the online application. Before the second appointment, make your way to the State Department of Taxation (it’s right down the street from our Syracuse campus!) to obtain your 2015 taxes. During your second appointment with us, we will help you fully with completing your application.

Simply contact us with any questions you may have about getting your FAFSA started or about our massage program. We’re here to help!

Ready to Get Started?

Our friendly and helpful staff is here and ready to help you get started on your application if you qualify! Also, simply click here to book a tour today!

Other Helpful Links

Remember: never pay to receive information about or apply for federal aid or scholarships.
FAFSA Website
FSAID Website
Loan Status Check
Scholarship Information

Massage Therapy & Family: The Perfect Pair

Did you know that you could learn to become a massage therapist at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in as little as six months? We offer a variety of schedules because we know that the “traditional college schedule” doesn’t work for everyone. Here are some advantages to enrolling in our program for you!

Spend Time With Family

We know that family time is a priority. We don’t want you to sacrifice what is important to you. Spend the day with your kids while enrolled in our 15-month evening schedule. If evenings don’t work for your family, try our 15 or 12-month day program.

Keep Your Job

Both our 15-month programs and our 12-month day program can potentially accommodate your current job. We understand that you need to work to provide for your family and fund your education. We’re here to make it easier for you.

Love Your Time Here

If you like your school schedule, you’re more likely to be excited and focused while you’re here. We don’t want school to be another stress in your life. It’s important to us that you love what you do!

Enter The Massage Profession Sooner

If you are eligible for enrollment in our 6-month program, you can get started on your way toward a job sooner than later! This schedule is significantly shorter than most traditional college programs.

*Our program availability varies throughout the year, so give us a call now to find out what is currently available!

Our Schedules

6-Month Accelerated Program

Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
& 1-2 Saturdays each month.

12-Month Day Program (Morning)

Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
4-5 full days until 4:30 PM & an average of 2 Saturdays each month.

15-Month Evening Program

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM.

15-Month Day Program

Monday – Friday: either from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM or from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, (depending on availability) & an average of 2 Saturdays each month.

In all programs, clinic practice hours are additional. Some Saturday work is required. All programs are 1,000 hours, and students who successfully complete the program should be eligible to sit for the National Exam and New York State Licensing Exam. Program lengths may vary depending on scheduling.

Where Can I Work as a Massage Therapist?

One of our favorite parts of the journey to becoming a massage therapist is touring the school. It’s a wonderful experience to watch their faces light up, and the joy spread over their features as they realize they are one step closer to their dreams.
During the tour those exploring massage therapy are encouraged to ask questions. One of the questions we seem to get on the most is: Where can I work as massage therapist?
If this question has crossed your mind as well, you are not alone.

    1. Club Spas

      Comforting music, lemon water, and a relaxing atmosphere. These may draw you back to what you relate to “spa”, here however they come aligned with monthly club fees and a client base that always seems to be booming. Whether you simply want to gain more experience before you open your private practice, or sink in deep and find a home, this is a great option.

    2. Boutique or Themed Spas


      Japanese Style Spa

      Interested in working in a Japanese style bath house or perhaps a holistic based healing center? While they may seem kitschy and odd to some, the business of specialized centers is booming. If you have an interest in a boutique philosophy or would like to learn about different cultures and techniques, this might be a great place to expand your knowledge.

    3. Physical Therapy, Rehab and Hospitals

      work in sport massageWhile a wide array of massage-based jobs take place in spas and dripping luxury, none are more important than those that reside within physical therapy and rehab. From recovery from strokes to car accidents, to sports therapy and prevention, these massage therapists help get people back on their feet. If you want to use your skills to help others heal, quite literally, this path was meant for you.

    4. Cruise Ships

      work on a cruise ship Don’t get seasick? Good. This exciting opportunity can, quite literally, take you all around the world. People take cruises to relax and get away from life for a little while, and the best way to relax is a massage – they are obviously going to need someone to help with that. If you aren’t scared of sharks, and want to see the world while doing what you love most, consider this possibility.

    5. High End Resorts

      Whether they be country clubs, or some of the top getaway resorts in the world, they all need massage therapists. If you pride yourself on the perfection of your skill and are ready to work among the elite, or are willing to work to get there, this could be the option for you.

    6. Self Employed or Private Practice

      If working hours at a spa isn’t for you, or if you’ve been doing it so long you have already built an extensive clientele, working for yourself or opening or your own practice might be right up your alley. Additionally, if you are just starting out and need help building that budding list then smartphone apps like Soothe and Zeel can help you do that.

These are just some of the places that you may be able to find employment as a massage therapist. If any of these sound like a dream come true to you and if you would like to find out more about YOUR possibilities in the massage profession, then simply call us now to speak with a friendly and helpful Admissions Guide, contact us today.


Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage is immediately hiring teachers for the Rochester campus in the following areas: TREATMENTS, SPORTS, & CPR/FIRST-AID. Positions are available during the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Qualified candidates must have been a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist practicing massage for a minimum of 3 years. They should have experience and more than a basic knowledge of these massage modalities.

September 27, 28, 30; October 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 25, 26, 28; November 1,4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, 18, 22, 28, 29, 30; December 2, 6, & 8 (FINAL).

December 9, 12, 13, 14, 15

March 9, 14, 16, 21, & 23, 2017

May 4 & 10, 2017

July 25; August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; September 5, 12, 19, 21, 26; October 3, 5, 10, 17, 19, 24, 31; November 2, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 27, 29; December 4, & 6, 2017

To apply, please send resume immediately to Kennan Beckstrand, Director of Education, at


March 29-April 9, 2017 on Hood Canal in Brinnon, WA

This scholarship will be awarded to a massage practitioner or massage school student who contributes to community using manual healing arts.

Applications accepted until December 1, 2016.

Spend 12 days of living in harmony with Nature, Spirit and other People while learning a lomilomi healing massage approach. This in-depth, expansive program includes massage instruction, time in nature, ho’oponopono, Hawaiian dance, handicrafts, meditations, song, ceremony and more, while living together in a beautiful setting.

The participants will learn this bodywork: (1) a full body protocol, (2) specific treatment work for the anterior torso including the chest and abdomen, and (3) massage which can be given with the client fully clothed and seated on a common chair or the floor. People with all levels of experience are welcome to register.

Barbara Helynn practices and teaches clinically focused, spiritually grounded lomilomi from the Big Island. This Big Island Style Lomi lineage is therapeutic, specific work which addresses and helps resolve injury. It is structural lomilomi incorporating concepts of Hawaiian spirituality, meditation techniques, and indigenous values. Barbara Helynn has a strong focus on increasing body awareness and helping people move more smoothly and easily.

Barbara Helynn Heard, LMP, WA massage license # MA 00009734
Barbara Helynn Heard, of Seattle, Washington has practiced lomilomi since 1996 and has taught lomilomi since 2005. She began doing massage as a teenager in the 1970’s and graduated from Brian Utting School of Massage in Seattle, WA in 1996. Barbara Helynn was mentored by Mana Lomi® founder Dr. Maka’ala Yates for 13 years, and taught lomilomi under his guidance for 9 years. Barbara Helynn’s intent as a teacher is to see the Light in each person and to help each student to be and to do their very best.

View the program description here:

Send an email to which includes:
1. Your name, your address and phone number
2. State your intention to apply for the 2015 Lehua Goodwill Scholarship.
3. A thoughtful one paragraph introduction of yourself
4. An explanation of why you wish to participate in this program in 150 words or less
5. A description of contributions you have made to community and/or how might you “pay forward” the scholarship support once you have acquired the training
6. Optional supplemental material of your own choosing
7. Your website address, if you have a website
8. Tell me how you learned of this scholarship opportunity

Note: The scholarship covers tuition and is worth $1295. The scholarship recipient will be asked to contribute $700 for food & lodging.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please see details on website:
or contact me (Barbara Helynn Heard) at 206 325-3479

Barbara Helynn Heard, LMP
206 325-3479

OSTM Syracuse Campus–HIRING Evening Treatments Instructor–Part-time

Treatments Instructor

OSTM Syracuse Campus

Evenings Instructor


Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, Syracuse Campus, is seeking a part-time instructor for the Treatments hands-on class.  Candidates are required to have the tollowing:

-An active NYS LMT license

-3 years of practical experience as a New York State LMT

-3 professional references

-A desire to and an ability to teach massage treatments classes.

-Availability to teach 6 to 9:30PM on July 25, August 1, 9, 16, 23, 29, September 6, 13, 19, 21, 26, October 3, 5, 10, 17, 19, 24, 31, November 2, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 27, 29 and December 4, 2017.

Pay is commensurate with experience and education.

To apply:

Please Email resume and references to and please address Email with “SYRACUSE TREATMENTS” in the subject line.

Dr. Gene’s Board Review

It will be held at the Syracuse Campus on Sunday January 11th from 9am-6pm

Cost is $175 if also purchasing the website review or $100 for just the class.


(516) 690-6878

Payment and registration can be made directly to Dr. Gene.

2014 Alumni Nights

Dear OSTM Alumni,

Greetings from your alma mater! OSTM consistently hears from the field about the expertise and professionalism of OSTM graduates they employ. Congratulations on being excellent ambassadors of your profession.

Consumers continue to support in the efficacy of massage for relaxation, pain relief, and overall health and wellness.  Recent AMTA data suggests that 89% of all people who receive massage recommend and encourage family and friends to do the same. The healthcare industry continues to provide new employment opportunities to massage therapists.

This growing number of referrals from healthcare professionals indicates more integration of massage into health care environments and plans. A wider variety of individuals are seeking out your services.

Since 2000, over 800 graduates have gone on to become LMTs. A majority of you continue to live and practice in the Greater Monroe county area.  Collectively, you represent an abundant local resource that can and should encourage growth in your profession.

As part of OSTM’s ongoing commitment to the professional massage community, we would like to:

  • Encourage graduates to develop more local Continuing Education classes for your colleagues. Many of you have become local experts in a variety of techniques and strategies in your practice.  In this effort, we will offer class planning for ideas you may have for a CE class.  Share your knowledge with others. Call me directly at 585-241-0070 to discuss these possibilities.
  • Our Hands-on room will be available select Wednesdays to gather and have discussions of interest to LMTs. I am soliciting ideas for topics at this time.  Please email me with ideas or topics of interest.  Contact me ( if you have any topics you would like to initiate with your fellow LMTs.
  • Monthly Alumni Night will also be offer 10% off all products in our store.  If no topic is planned, feel free to stop in and look at some products at a reduced rate.

The next Alumni Nights will be 6pm on:

**Watch for our 2015 calendar post in January**

Call for Information or ideas (585-241-0070)

I continue to be energized how the public is recognizing the benefit of massage in their lives.  It is skilled professionals such as you that make this a reality.  I look forward to meeting many of you at monthly alumni nights at OSTM and as your ideas for CE classes emerge.