A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage School in Los Angeles, CA

There is a place in the Los Angeles metro area for a massage therapist to practice just about any niche or specialty provided he or she takes the right steps in preparation. LA massage therapists are found in massage studios, health provider practices, and spas, as well as on-site at homes and businesses. They deliver massage that is suited to people’s healthcare needs, lifestyle, and personal philosophies.

Popular Massage Therapy Schools in Los Angeles

IPSB at Life Energy Institute offers two different 550-hour programs, both approved by the California Massage Therapy Council: integrative massage and bodywork and integrative therapeutic bodywork. The latter is designed for those with an interest in energy modalities; they can expect Thai massage, Reiki, Craniosacral Unwinding, sensory repattening, Shiatsu Anma, facial marma and reflexology among their courses. This program, though, doesn’t include coursework in subjects like deep tissue, sports massage, or spa techniques. Both programs include a 120-hour foundations course. There are additional topics that are common to both, including elder massage. Both include an introduction to their specialty: polarity.

Hands on Healing offers a 550-hour program that includes a 450-hour core plus student clinic and electives. The school boasts many electives, among them, Lomi Lomi, Thai massage, lymphatic massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial stretching. Students may not be able to fit in everything they want the first time around – they can take additional courses later as continuing education.

At the Holistic Health Institute, the standard massage therapy program is 800 hours – well above the minimum – but those who want more can follow it up with 450 hours of advanced neuromuscular training. This option is also available to massage therapists who have completed their training elsewhere.

The Downey Adult School Career and Education Center offers a 600 hour program that is less expensive than most; gainful employment data is generally favorable.

A2Z offers a 550-hour program has a lot of favorable reviews; they come from students as well as from members of the public who have gone for massage at the student clinic.

Massage Therapist Work Settings in Los Angeles

A person can start his or her own dream business or apply for a position at someone else’s. Los Angeles has many spas catering to clientele in different price ranges; facilities may pair massage with beauty treatments, integrative health treatments, and/ or spiritual/ meditative practices. A portion of the spa clientele has serious medical issues. The owner of Larchmont Sanctuary Spa wrote in an article for the Spa Industry Association of the important role spas have in supporting people who have gone through cancer treatment (https://dayspaassociation.com/oncology-massage/). Massage therapists who work for Larchmont Sanctuary Spa go through a certification program through Greet the Day. Larchmont Sanctuary Spa was among the organizations advertising in early 2019. The organization noted oncology massage among the modalities where previous experience was looked upon favorably but wasn’t a hiring requirement. (It is not uncommon for spas to list desirable modalities.)

Here, as in other cities, massage therapists are often housed in chiropractic offices. A 2019 job search reveals a number of chiropractors advertising. A massage therapist in this setting might work as an independent contractor.

Some massage travel to people may travel to the domicile of someone who is homebound. They may provide massage in corporate settings or do events. A senior care facility may contract for massage services on the behalf of residents.

In some cases, a massage therapist business is based on convenience or lifestyle. Zeel is touted for its ability to travel to a person quickly. Zeel operates out of cities across the nation, but putting a local spin on their LA promotion, they tell people they’ll come to their home, business, hotel, or movie studio.

Not surprisingly, LA also features an XPress Spa at the airport.

Massage and Spa Franchises in LA

Many franchises operate in the LA area, and they’re a varied set. Some encompass multiple spa services. The Burke Williams spa chain features massage as one integral element. Patrons can receive a basic Swedish massage each month as part of their membership and can receive a discounted rate on others. They can add enhancements to a basic massage: aromatherapy, hot stones, or Himalayan salt treatment. The "flagship massage" includes heat packs, essential oils, and Chinese herbs.

Squeeze is an uber-modern franchise. Clients can use an app to set massage therapy preferences, customize certain aspects of the therapeutic environment, and later rate and tip the massage therapist. The company rationalizes that massage is relaxing and clients should be able to "float out" on that note and not stand in line to deal with the mundane or the stressful. They take into account that not everyone who wants a massage feels comfortable sitting down with a therapist to talk about their physical issues and massage preferences. Squeeze was among those hiring in early 2019; the organization advertised an hourly wage of $22 plus benefits. Recent postings for Squeeze massage therapists in Los Angeles and Studio City have cited an organizational partnership with Canine Companions for Independence -- and periodic opportunities to volunteer at events and/ or see the pups at one’s own worksite.

Massage Therapy as a Calling

Recent news articles describe massage therapists who are using bodywork techniques – and their own ingenuity – to better people’s lives. The Daily Bulletin recently profiled the proprietor of Whispering Winds Therapeutic Touch (https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/08/27/rancho-cucamonga-massage-therapist-uses-healing-touch-to-help-first-responders-those-in-need/). She provides therapeutic massage for first responders and for individuals with special needs. Her career was born out of her own experience with massage; both she and her son had asthma – seemingly intractable at times – but both responded to therapeutic touch. This LMT is committed to helping those who need it most, even those who would find it an unaffordable luxury under market prices. To this end, she founded a nonprofit. It’s a rewarding job – a calling. Working at a Massage Heights franchise helps ensure that she makes ends meet.

Massage Therapist Salary in Los Angeles

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2017 median wage of $16.71 for massage therapists in the Los Angeles area. Those at the 10th percentile made $10.37 while those at the 90th percentile made $30.67. Early 2019 finds multiple massage businesses advertising positions at well above the posted median rate.

Massage therapy employment is higher than average in the Los Angeles area, even when figured by population. Figures for the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine area are especially high.

Additional Resources

California Massage Therapy License

Massage Schools in California