17 Best Massage Therapy Schools in Chicago

Massage Therapy Schools in Chicago

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Choosing the right massage therapy school is a pivotal step on the path to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Whether you’re an aspiring massage therapist, bodywork practitioner, or holistic wellness enthusiast, the decision of where to receive your education holds great significance.

In the vibrant city of Chicago, renowned for its rich culture and diverse opportunities, the quest for the top-rated massage therapy schools has become an exciting adventure.

With countless options available, it can be challenging to navigate the educational landscape and make an informed choice. That’s why we’ve curated a comprehensive guide to the “Top 17 Best Massage Therapy Schools in Chicago.”

Our list has been carefully assembled to help you discover the institutions that offer exceptional programs, meet the highest standards of accreditation and licensing, and provide the training needed to excel in this hands-on healing profession.

We’ve carefully considered a range of factors, including curriculum, faculty expertise, student experiences, and career opportunities, to compile this list.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the top massage therapy schools in Chicago, empowering you to take the next step on your journey to becoming a skilled and compassionate practitioner of healing touch.

Related: Best Massage Therapy Schools in NYC

Best Massage Therapy Schools in Chicago

In no particular order, here is the list of the best therapy schools in Chicago:

1. The New School for Massage

The New School for Massage

Location: 40 E Huron St Ste 200, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

The first institution on our list of massage therapy schools in Chicago is The New School for Massage. The New School for Massage is a well-established institution with a proven track record of success in training massage therapists since its inception in 2002.

The school offers a comprehensive massage and bodywork diploma program that is state-approved and COMTA-accredited, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped to pass the licensing exam and pursue licensure in Illinois.

The school’s curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of massage therapy techniques, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. They also receive extensive hands-on experience through a variety of clinical rotations, allowing them to apply their skills in a real-world setting.

The school also offers a variety of resources for students, including a student clinic where they can practice their skills under the supervision of experienced instructors, a library of massage therapy books and journals, and access to a private online student portal.

2. Soma Institute

Location: 55 E Jackson Blvd #300 Chicago, IL 60604, USA

Nestled in the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, The Soma Institute stands as a pioneer in the field of clinical massage therapy. Founded in 1998, the institute has consistently set the standard for excellence in clinical massage education, earning a reputation for its rigorous curriculum, experienced faculty, and commitment to student success.

The Soma Institute distinguishes itself from traditional massage therapy programs by emphasizing clinical expertise. Their curriculum goes beyond relaxation techniques to delve into the intricacies of musculoskeletal anatomy, physiology, and orthopedics.

The school recognizes the importance of industry connections and practical experience for aspiring massage therapists. To this end, they offer exceptional internship and externship opportunities at their state-of-the-art on-campus clinic.

These placements provide students with the chance to apply their skills in real-world scenarios under the supervision of experienced clinicians.

3. Zen Shiatsu Chicago

location: 818 Lake St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

With over four decades of experience, Zen Shiatsu Chicago has established itself as one of the renowned massage therapy schools in Chicago, offering a comprehensive program that delves into the profound principles of Chinese medicine and the therapeutic power of touch.

Their Professional Asian Bodywork Program, spanning 715 hours of rigorous training, equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to become proficient Shiatsu practitioners.

Students immerse themselves in a blend of practical instruction, clinical practice, and theoretical foundations, gaining an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, and the intricate network of meridians that underpin Shiatsu therapy.

Related: Top 12 Best Massage Therapy Schools Online

4. National Institute of Massage Therapy

Location: 5900 Doyle St, Emeryville, CA 94608, United States

Founded in 1979, the National Holistic Institute (NHI) is one of the leading massage therapy schools in Chicago, with ten campuses across California.

The school’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve their career goals in massage therapy and holistic health while promoting healing and well-being.

NHI offers a comprehensive massage therapy diploma program that aligns with the standards set by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). The program covers a broad range of topics, including anatomy and physiology, massage techniques, client assessment, therapeutic communication, and business management.

In addition to classroom instruction, NHI provides students with extensive hands-on experience through supervised clinical practice in the school’s fully-equipped massage clinics. This hands-on approach allows students to develop their skills and gain confidence in their ability to provide effective massage therapy treatments.

5. New Age Spa Institute

New Age Spa Institute

Location: 1870 Busse Hwy, Des Plaines, IL 60016, United States

Nestled in Des Plaines, Illinois, New Age Spa Institute (NASI) has been a beacon of beauty and wellness education for over two decades. The school is renowned for its comprehensive and immersive programs, empowering individuals to embark on successful careers in the spa and beauty industry.

NASI’s Massage Therapy Program, encompassing 635 hours, trains students in the art of massage therapy, from Swedish to deep tissue, sports massage, and prenatal massage. Students gain hands-on experience in the school’s massage clinic, honing their skills and building confidence.

With its comprehensive programs, experienced instructors, and commitment to student success, New Age Spa Institute stands as a premier destination for those seeking to enter the beauty and wellness industry.

Related: Top 21 Best Catholic Schools in Chicago

6. Estelle Medical Academy

Location: 4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL 60077, United States

Nestled in Skokie, Illinois, Estelle Medical Academy is a renowned institution dedicated to providing high-quality massage therapy education. Founded in 1999, the school has established a strong reputation for its comprehensive curriculum, experienced instructors, and commitment to student success.

Estelle Medical Academy’s flagship Professional Massage Therapy Program, encompassing 675 hours of rigorous training, equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to become proficient massage therapists.

This is one of the best massage therapy schools in Chicago that delves into a comprehensive range of massage techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, prenatal massage, and more.

The program emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience, providing students with extensive clinical practice in the school’s fully equipped massage clinic.

7. Pacific College of Health and Science

Location: 65 E Wacker Pl Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

The next school on our list is the Pacific College. Nestled in renowned cities like San Diego, New York, and Chicago, the Pacific College of Health and Science is a premier institution dedicated to holistic health education.

Founded in 1975, the college has established itself as a leading provider of programs in acupuncture, massage therapy, holistic nursing, and other fields, empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to promote well-being and healing.

The Massage Therapy Program, encompassing 1,500 hours, equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to become proficient massage therapists. The students here are taught a variety of massage techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, and prenatal massage, gaining hands-on experience in the school’s clinics.

The graduates from Pacific College are well-prepared to make a positive impact on the lives of their clients and communities, promoting healing and well-being through the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine and the principles of holistic nursing.

8. Coaching The Body Institute

Location: 604 Davis St #1, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Coaching The Body Institute, located in Chicago, is a reputable school known for its specialized approach to massage therapy education. With a focus on the integration of structural integration and bodywork techniques, this institute offers a unique and innovative learning experience for aspiring massage therapists.

The Coaching The Body program is designed for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, from those seeking relief from chronic pain to those interested in improving athletic performance and overall well-being. The program can be taken in person at CTB’s Evanston campus or online through a self-paced course.

CTB also offers a variety of CEU courses and workshops for healthcare professionals, massage therapists, and fitness instructors. These courses provide continuing education opportunities and allow professionals to integrate CTB’s principles into their practices.

With its unique approach to pain management and movement education, Coaching The Body Institute is one of the best massage therapy schools in Chicago, poised to make a significant impact on the field of wellness.

9. Blue Lotus Thai Healing Studies

Blue Lotus Thai Healing Studies

Location: 1304 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607, United States

Nestled in Chicago, Illinois, Blue Lotus Thai Healing Studies stands as one of the best massage therapy schools in Chicago for people seeking to embark on a journey of holistic healing through the ancient art of Thai massage.

With over 14 years of experience, Blue Lotus has established itself as a renowned center for Thai education, offering a comprehensive 200-hour Traditional Thai Bodywork training program that delves into the profound principles of Thai medicine and the therapeutic power of touch.

The program’s extensive curriculum encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of Thai massage, providing students with a holistic understanding of this traditional healing practice.

The school allows students to immerse themselves in a blend of practical instruction, clinical practice, and theoretical foundations, gaining an in-depth understanding of Thai element and sen theories, Reusi Dat Ton self-care practices, and various physical therapy techniques.

Read also: Best Massage Therapy Schools in NYC

10. Chicago Massage Works

Location:1821 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Nestled in Chicago, Illinois, Chicago Massage Works is a renowned institution dedicated to providing high-quality massage therapy education. Founded in 1991, the school has established a strong reputation for its comprehensive curriculum, experienced instructors, and commitment to student success.

Chicago Massage Works’ flagship Massage Therapy Program, encompassing 675 hours of rigorous training, equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to become proficient massage therapists.

The program emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience, providing students with extensive clinical practice in the school’s fully equipped massage clinic.

Under the guidance of experienced instructors, students gain proficiency in performing massage techniques, assessing clients, and maintaining appropriate hygiene and safety standards.

Upon completion of the program, graduates emerge as well-rounded massage therapists, ready to embark on successful careers in various settings, including private practices, spas, hospitals, and healthcare facilities.

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11. River North Massage Therapy Center

Location: 40 E Huron St Ste 200, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

Located in the vibrant River North neighborhood of Chicago, the River North Massage Therapy Center is a respected institution that focuses on the art and science of massage therapy.

Founded in 2004, the center has established a reputation for providing exceptional massage services and comprehensive massage therapy education, empowering individuals to embark on fulfilling careers in the wellness industry.

River North Massage Therapy Center’s signature program, the Professional Massage Therapy Training Program, encompasses 750 hours of rigorous training, equipping aspiring massage therapists with the knowledge and skills to excel in their practice.

Beyond technical skills, River North Massage Therapy Center fosters a deep understanding of the therapeutic principles of massage therapy. Students learn to address various client concerns, from pain management and stress reduction to improved circulation and relaxation.

12. Universal Spa Training Academy

Location: 340 Burlington Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515, United States

Situated in Chicago, the Universal Spa Training Academy is a renowned institution that offers a range of wellness and spa-related programs, including massage therapy.

From their 12,000-square-foot training facility, they’ve graduated more than 1,500 students since 2006. With more than a decade of experience in education, they have earned their reputation for excellence as the top spa training school in Chicago.

The Universal Spa Training Academy’s holistic approach to wellness, commitment to practical training, and spa-like learning environment make it an excellent choice for individuals seeking a well-rounded education in massage therapy.

The academy prepares students to excel in various massage modalities and provides a solid foundation for success in the spa and wellness industry.

13. School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology

School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology

Location:

The School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology is one of the most reputable massage therapy schools in Chicago specializing in massage therapy and reflexology education.

With a strong commitment to providing students with a well-rounded understanding of holistic healing practices, this school is a top choice for individuals looking to enter the world of alternative and complementary therapies.

SOHMAR’s flagship 630-hour Professional Massage Therapy Program equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to become proficient massage therapists.

In this program, students immerse themselves in a blend of practical instruction, clinical practice, and theoretical foundations, gaining an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, and the intricate network of meridians that underpin massage therapy.

In addition to its massage therapy program, SOHMAR offers a 160-hour Reflexology Certification Program, equipping individuals with the expertise to practice reflexology, an ancient healing technique that focuses on stimulating specific points on the feet and hands to promote overall health and well-being.

14. National Holistic Institute

Location: 5900 Doyle St, Emeryville, CA 94608, United States

Founded in 1979, the National Holistic Institute (NHI) is a leading provider of massage therapy education, with ten campuses across California. The school’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve their career goals in massage therapy and holistic health while promoting healing and well-being.

NHI offers a comprehensive massage therapy diploma program that aligns with the standards set by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). The program covers a broad range of topics, including anatomy and physiology, massage techniques, client assessment, therapeutic communication, and business management.

In addition to classroom instruction, NHI provides students with extensive hands-on experience through supervised clinical practice in the school’s fully-equipped massage clinics. This hands-on approach allows students to develop their skills and gain confidence in their ability to provide effective massage therapy treatments.

Related: Top 12 Best Massage Therapy Schools Online

15. Northwestern Center for Holistic Education

Location: 150 E Huron St Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

The Northwestern Center for Holistic Education (NCHE) is an educational center at Northwestern University that offers a variety of programs and courses on holistic health and wellness. The center’s mission is to promote the understanding and practice of holistic approaches to health and wellness and to provide resources and support for individuals and communities seeking to integrate holistic principles into their lives.

NCHE offers a variety of programs, including certificate programs in holistic health and wellness, continuing education courses for professionals in the holistic health and wellness field, and workshops and retreats that provide hands-on experience in holistic health and wellness practices.

The school also offers a variety of resources for individuals and communities seeking to integrate holistic principles into their lives. These resources include a library of books and periodicals on holistic health and wellness, a referral network of holistic health and wellness practitioners, and a calendar of events and programs on holistic health and wellness.

16. Midwest College of Oriental Medicine

Location: 8950 Gross Point Rd, Skokie, IL 60077, United States

The Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, with campuses in both Chicago and Evanston, is one of the well-regarded massage therapy schools in Chicago, specializing in Oriental and alternative medicine education.

Offering comprehensive programs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and other holistic modalities, this college is a prominent choice for those interested in Eastern healing practices.

The college’s emphasis on integrating Eastern and Western approaches to healthcare ensures a well-rounded education that prepares students for successful careers in the field.

The Midwest College of Oriental Medicine’s dedication to preserving and teaching these traditional practices sets it apart as a valuable resource for those looking to enter the world of Oriental and alternative medicine.

Upon completion of the program, graduates emerge as well-rounded acupuncture practitioners, ready to embark on successful careers in various settings, including private practices, hospitals, and healthcare facilities.

17. National University of Health Sciences

National University of Health Sciences

location: 200 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, IL 60148, United States

Nestled in Lombard, Illinois, National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) is another amazing massage therapy school that is deeply rooted in the principles of holistic health and wellness.

Founded in 1906, the school has established itself as a premier institution for a variety of health science programs, empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Their Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) Program equips individuals with the expertise to become proficient naturopathic physicians. Here, students immerse themselves in a comprehensive curriculum that covers anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and the application of naturopathic therapies, including herbal medicine, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling.

The program emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience, providing students with extensive clinical practice in NUHS’s fully equipped clinics. Under the guidance of experienced naturopathic physicians, students gain proficiency in patient assessment, treatment planning, and the delivery of comprehensive naturopathic care.

Related: Best Massage Therapy Schools in NYC

How to Get a Massage Therapy License in Chicago

Getting a massage therapy license in Chicago, as in many places, typically involves a series of steps and requirements to ensure that practitioners meet certain standards of education, training, and professionalism. Here’s a general guide on how to obtain a massage therapy license in Chicago:

Complete an Approved Massage Therapy Program:

You must graduate from an approved massage therapy program that meets the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation’s (IDFPR) requirements. These programs typically consist of at least 675 hours of instruction, covering anatomy, physiology, massage techniques, and other relevant topics.

Pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx):

Once you have completed your massage therapy program, you must pass the MBLEx, a national exam that assesses your knowledge and skills in massage therapy. You can register for the exam online through the FSMTB (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards) website.

Submit an Application for Licensure:

After passing the MBLEx, you can apply for a massage therapy license through the IDFPR online services portal. You will need to provide your personal information, education history, exam scores, and other required documentation.

Pay the Licensing Fee:

The application fee for a massage therapy license in Illinois is $200. You can pay the fee online through the IDFPR online services portal.

Obtain Liability Insurance:

You must obtain professional liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $1 million per occurrence and $3 million per aggregate. You will need to provide proof of insurance to the IDFPR.

Complete Continuing Education Requirements:

Once you are licensed, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) credits every two years to maintain your license.

FAQs

How long does it take to become a massage therapist in Chicago?

Massage therapists must typically complete an 18- to 24-month or 18- to 36-month massage therapy program from an approved school, as well as a period of supervised practical training.

How much is massage therapy school in Chicago?

Massage therapy schools in Chicago typically cost around $14,150. This fee includes uniform, complimentary massage therapy treatments, lotions for lab and clinical education classes, tuition, course handouts, professional liability insurance, initial massage licensure in Illinois, career services, and job placement.

How long is massage therapy school in Illinois?

Most states require between 500 and 600 hours, with few exceptions, and some states have no licensing requirements at all. However, Illinois requires 600 hours.

How much does a licensed massage therapist earn in Chicago?

Massage therapists in Chicago earn a reasonable amount of money. The top earners earn around $102,703 per year, the 75th percentile earns around $83,300, and the average earners make around $64,918 per year.

CONCLUSION

Massage therapy is a rapidly growing field with many opportunities for career advancement. If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist, there are many excellent massage therapy schools in Chicago to choose from.

The 17 best massage therapy schools in Chicago we listed above offer a variety of programs to meet the needs of different students. 

Some schools offer traditional Swedish massage programs, while others offer more specialized programs, such as deep tissue massage or sports massage. Some schools also offer holistic health and wellness programs that include massage therapy as part of the curriculum.

No matter what your needs are, the top 17 best massage therapy schools in Chicago in this post are all accredited and offer a high-quality education to meet your needs. 

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