Best Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

People looking for massage therapy schools in Iowa could learn to give massage and practice in different techniques and professional settings.

In large cities like Des Moines or Ames, or in more rural areas of the state, there is a demand for people who are trained in health and wellness.

Massage therapy schools in Iowa train students to provide quality customer service and provide high-quality massage.

Iowa massage schools often offer a number of programs that can teach students how to run a business. When choosing massage therapy schools in Iowa, it is important to compare different schools to find the college that is the best fit for you.

Are There Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa?

There are 23 state-approved massage therapy schools in Iowa. They are scattered throughout the state, in cities and small towns.

Educational programs combine classes with laboratories, as well as practical experience in student clinics or private institutions. Graduates receive certificates within about a year. Some schools offer bachelor’s programs that usually take two years.

Iowa requires that training programs consist of at least 600 hours. Core courses should cover the basics of massage therapy, anatomy and physiology, massage and clinical applications of the body.

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How Much Do Massage Therapy Schools Cost In Iowa?

In Iowa, thirteen colleges offer a professional program in massage therapy/massage therapy.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average tuition for a Massage Therapy/Massage Therapy program at Iowa Vocational/Technical Colleges is $10,359, and the average cost of books and supplies is $1,143. For reference, the average tuition for all trade schools that offer the program is $11,333.

The average length of a massage therapy/massage therapy program is 753 contact hours (credit hours), and students completed the program in an average of 6.8 months.

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What Are The Requirements For Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa?

Only students who have completed high school or earned a GED are accepted into the colleges. To become a massage therapist in Iowa, you must successfully complete an educational program at an accredited institution approved by the state board.

Iowa requires that training programs consist of at least 600 hours. Core courses should cover the basics of massage therapy, anatomy and physiology, clinical applications of massage and bodywork, kinesiology, pathology, client communication, health care referrals, business management, and law and ethics.

The 600 hours must include 120 hours of clinical work. After graduation, the next step is to apply online to the state board for a license.

This involves a fee of approximately $120. Qualified applicants then apply to the Federation of State Boards of Massage Therapy for approval to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

Students schedule their exam sessions at Pearson VUE testing centers in Davenport, Sioux City, Coralville, West Des Moines, or Sioux Falls.

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What Are The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa?

Below is a list of some of the best massage therapy schools in Iowa. You will find schools in all major cities such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Anamosa, Iowa City, and more.

 Iowa School of Beauty-Des Moines

Located in suburban Urbandale, ISB offers a 650-hour certificate program that takes 14 months. Students attend full-time classes for 25 or more hours per week.

Courses cover deep tissue massage, sports, prenatal/infant, geriatric, rehabilitative, corporate and hot stone massage. Students will also learn about trigger therapy, aromatherapy and healing wraps.

The school is equipped with a student set with all the necessary equipment, including a massage table; as well as four textbooks and supplies.


Carlson College of Massage Therapy

This school’s beautiful rural campus is located in Stone City, near Cedar Rapids. It is the oldest institution of its kind in Iowa.

It takes six months for full-time students and 11.5 months for part-time students to complete the 775-hour program.

The following massage techniques are taught here: Swedish, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, Chair Massage, Pregnancy/Side Massage, Myofascial, Hot Stone Massage and Lymphatic.

Students also attend classes in hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, acupressure, stretching, herbology, and craniosacral therapy. The school student clinic provides practical experience.

More than 95 percent of program participants graduate, and all typically pass the MBLEx licensing test.


PCI Academy-Ames

This school has been operating since 1978 and has a 600-hour program that includes 120 hours of anatomy and physiology.

Courses include: Swedish Massage, Seated Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Maternity Massage, Baby Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Athletic and Sports Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Craniosacral, Wellness, and Hot Stone Therapy. There is also a 120-hour clinical practicum.

The school provides iPads, kits and books; reimburses students for the cost of the licensing exam; and offers graduates free continuing education. Students benefit from tailored training and placement assistance across the country.


Capri College-Davenport

This is a family business founded in 1966. It has campuses in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo and Dubuque.

The 720-hour massage therapy program can be completed in 30 weeks while attending school 28 hours per week. Students learn the techniques of Swedish, deep tissue massage, Thai, prenatal, children’s, sports massage and hot stone massage.

They also study aromatherapy and spa procedures, perform massage for the public in the student clinic. Training includes CPR training and certification, as well as licensing exam fees.

The school pays for linens and laundry facilities, iPads, textbooks, uniforms and a massage table that are kept by the students.


Aveda Institute-Des Moines

It is one of more than 60 Aveda campuses in the United States. The institute calls itself “the number one beauty school in the country.” It describes the Des Moines site as “Iowa’s award-winning, cutting-edge, eco-friendly beauty and spa facility.”

The 750-hour massage therapy program includes 25 weeks of classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Students study Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, and Lymphatic Massage/Pregnancy Massage.

They also take classes in aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, trigger points, acupressure, polarity and chakra balancing. In addition to gaining hands-on clinical experience, students attend spas, manual therapy and medical practices.


La James International College-Cedar Falls

Founded nearly half a century ago, this beauty school has campuses in Cedar Falls, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Davenport and Johnston. The LJIC site in Mason City is called the College of Hairdressing and Cosmetology.

The 900-hour massage therapy certificate program includes a 180-hour clinical practicum. Students learn to apply such massage methods as Swedish, chair, sports, stone, prenatal and deep massage.

The school also offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Health and Beauty Management that can be completed in one year. Graduates receive certificates in therapeutic massage and aesthetics.


Iowa Lakes Community College

This small public school is located in Spencer, a town in northern Iowa with a population of about 11,000. The massage therapy program consists of 739.2 contact hours and 39 credits.

In addition to typical coursework, classes include Introduction to Swedish Massage, Sports Massage, Spa Bodywork I and II, Geriatric Massage, Intermediate Massage, Maternity/Infant Massage, Chair Massage, and Deep Tissue Massage.

The curriculum also includes clinical rotations in massage areas.


Indian Hills Community College

Based in Ottumwa, IHCC primarily serves students from 10 counties in southwest Iowa and northern Missouri.

The 1000-hour massage program takes 12 months. Along with the usual required courses are computer basics, medical terminology, pathophysiology and massage therapy topics.

Students participate in a pair of 100-hour clinical practicums in long-term care facilities, massage parlors, spas, or hospitals.

The curriculum includes general education courses that are available at the Ottumwa and Centerville campuses, as well as at IHCC service centers.


How Much Do Massage Therapists In Iowa Earn?

The average practicing physician in Iowa earns an annual salary of about $38,200 (or about $18.50 an hour), which is slightly less than the national average of nearly $41,500 a year (or about $20 an hour ).

The top 10 percent of earners earn more than $65,200 (or about $31.50) in the state, compared to about $78,300 (or more than $37.50) nationally. For the bottom 10 percent, wages are about $19,500 (or nearly $9.50) in Iowa; and over $21,300 (or about $10.25) nationwide.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,100 licensed massage therapists in the state in 2016. The agency projects that number will grow to 1,410 by 2026. That would be a job growth rate of 28 percent, faster than the projected national average of 26 percent.

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How Do I Become A Massage Therapist In Iowa?

To become a massage therapist in Iowa, students must complete at least 500 hours of training at a massage therapy school. They must then take a written national competency exam. These are NCETMB or MBLEx exams.

The license also requires students to complete CPR and first aid courses as part of their training. Most massage schools in Iowa offer a solid foundation in Swedish massage.

This is followed by teaching students specific methods of eliminating pain and discomfort in people’s bodies. Some forms of exercise taught in Iowa include sports massage, therapeutic touch, reflexology, and shiatsu.

Students who graduate from massage therapy school can use their skills to create their own style and approach to massage therapy with their clients.

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Best Paying Massage Therapy Jobs In Iowa

Iowa is not that competitive when it comes to massage therapist jobs. This is a good choice for starting a business or working in a spa or something similar.

Massage therapists also have the option of working full-time or part-time depending on preference, and many therapists can set their own schedules, especially those who decide to start their own private practice.

In addition to ample employment opportunities, massage therapists in Iowa earn a comfortable living with an annual average salary of over $38,000.

Mercy Medical Center – Cedar Rapids – Massage Therapist, Women’s Center

GENESIS Health System – Bettendorf – Massage Therapist

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort – Massage Therapist

Grand Falls Casino – Larchwood – Massage Therapist

WesleyLife – Newton – Massage Therapist

Avera – Rock Valley – Massage Therapist

Rhythm City Casino – Davenport – Massage Therapist

Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa FAQs

Are Massage Therapists Paid Well In Iowa?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists in Iowa earn an average of $38,420 per year, which is close to the national average. These salary estimates do not include tips, which are a normal part of a massage therapist’s earnings in many places. Massage therapists are in demand in spas, salons, corporate offices, medical clinics, health clubs, gyms, and massage therapy clinics.

What Is The Requirement For Message Therapy License In Iowa?

There are certain educational and exam requirements to obtain a massage therapy license in the state of Iowa. You will need to complete a 600-hour educational program. You will also need to pass the MBLEx, NCBTMB or similar exam.

What Do Massage Therapy Schools In Iowa Teach?

The Iowa Workforce Information Network indicates that the standard massage therapy curriculum in Iowa consists of anatomy and physiology, as well as various massage therapy techniques and other areas of study directly related to the profession.

Are Massage Therapists In Demand In Iowa?

In fact, jobs for massage therapists are growing faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and will continue to grow by 20 percent between now and 2020. Massage therapy jobs can be found in many different places, such as day spas, medical centers, and physical therapy centers.


Massage therapy schools in Iowa offer prospective students a variety of learning environments. Iowa has cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and all have a demand for qualified massage therapists. Massage therapists in Iowa are trained not only to massage, but also to provide a variety of therapeutic techniques to reduce pain, improve clients’ physical and emotional health, and promote wellness.

Graduates will be able to provide excellent customer service as well as high quality massage. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the massage therapist profession will be one of the fastest growing occupations by 2020, increasing its presence by approximately 20% during that time.



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