How to Become a Massage Therapist in New York

Do you find joy and fulfillment in helping others? Do you enjoy working one-on-one with clients? Does the idea of getting a license in what you love in under four years sound inviting? Then life as a massage therapist could be the one for you! Massage therapists help with physical therapy, can reduce stress and tension, can prevent sickness and diseases, and can restore health and well-being.

woman getting a massage from a massage therapist

Licensing Requirements

The road to becoming a massage therapist can vary by state. If you want to work in New York in a job that requires you to treat clients with massage therapy techniques, you will need a New York massage therapy license. Here are the requirements to be a licensed massage therapist in NY

  • Must be of good moral character determined by the the department
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must be a citizen or an “alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence” in the United States
  • Must complete education requirements
  • Must complete experience requirements
  • Must complete a course in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) within the three years of obtaining your license
  • Must pass the New York State Massage Therapy Examination
  • Must pay the fee of $150 to the department of admissions
  • If applicable, you must submit evidence of English proficiency

Education Requirements

Gaining an education in massage therapy techniques is very rewarding and even better, does not take as long as a general degree in education, such as four years. You could be well on your way before you know it! The requirements in education are:

  • Must be a high school graduate or graduate from a school or institute of massage therapy that includes a program registered by the state of New York Education Department
  • Complete no less than 1000 hours in specific courses according to your department. You can complete the program in as little as one year!

Person getting a massage


You probably wouldn’t guess it, but a massage therapist must be well versed in many subjects in order to provide massage services. What’s so amazing about Those subjects include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Myology or kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Hygiene
  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Infection control procedures
  • The chemical ingredients of products that are used and their effects
  • The theory, technique and practice of massage/bodywork therapy

Onondaga’s Education Resources

Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage offers resources to support student success with completing the required 1000 hours. Resources such as:

  • Free tutoring program four days a week
  • Academic advisement
  • Career assistance
  • Alumni Resources

Follow Your Passion

It may look intimidating or overwhelming getting your massage therapy license. But always remember that hard work does pay off. Being a massage therapist can be a very fulfilling job and one that you are proud of. Many people are living that truth! The massage therapy industry is growing creating many different and great places to work! If you need help, contact one of our admissions representatives. They’ve helped thousands of individuals like you follow their dream. Begin your journey by applying to our program! Don’t miss our Open House on Saturday, April 14th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Start your dream today.


To Our Dear OSTM Community

Alumni, prospective students and patrons of Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we have some important news regarding the future of our schools.

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