top of page

Becoming a Massage Therapist in Tennessee: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking on a career as a massage therapist in Tennessee is both rewarding and fulfilling. This profession not only allows you to help others achieve better health and wellness but also offers a flexible and in-demand career path. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to become a massage therapist in the Volunteer State.

Step 1: Research the Profession

Before diving in, it’s crucial to understand what being a massage therapist entails. This profession involves more than just giving massages; it requires a deep knowledge of human anatomy, various massage techniques, and a compassionate approach to client care. Research different specialties within massage therapy, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, or lymphatic drainage, to determine your areas of interest.

Step 2: Complete High School Education

A high school diploma or GED is typically required to enroll in a massage therapy program. Focus on courses in biology, anatomy, and health sciences, as these will provide a good foundation for your future studies.

Step 3: Choose an Accredited Massage Therapy Program in Tennessee

Enroll in a massage therapy program accredited by a reputable organization. Look for programs that offer a comprehensive curriculum covering:

- Anatomy and Physiology

- Pathology

- Kinesiology

- Ethics and Professionalism

- Business Practices

- Hands-on Massage Techniques

In Tennessee, massage therapy programs must include a minimum of 500 hours of instruction. Some well-known schools in Tennessee include:

- **Cumberland Institute of Holistic Therapies**

- **Nashville School of Massage Therapy**

- **Tennessee School of Therapeutic Massage**

Step 4: Complete the Program

Dedicate yourself to your studies and practical training. Take advantage of internships or externships offered by your school to gain real-world experience. Networking with professionals in the field during this time can also provide valuable insights and future job opportunities.

Step 5: Obtain Certification and Licensure in Tennessee

To practice as a massage therapist in Tennessee, you must be licensed by the Tennessee Department of Health, Board of Massage Licensure. Requirements include:

- **Passing a Certification Exam:** The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is the most widely recognized exam and required by Tennessee.

- **Completing the Tennessee Board Application:** Submit your exam results, proof of education, a background check, fingerprinting, and any other required documentation.

- **Paying the Licensing Fee:** The application fee is $140 as of 2024.

Step 6: Choose Your Specialization

Consider specializing in a specific type of massage to set yourself apart. Popular specializations include:

- **Swedish Massage**

- **Deep Tissue Massage**

- **Sports Massage**

- **Prenatal Massage**

- **Lymphatic Drainage Massage**

Specializing can make you more attractive to certain employers or client demographics and allow you to command higher rates.

Step 7: Start Your Career in Tennessee

Decide whether you want to work for an established spa, wellness center, or chiropractor’s office, or start your own practice. Each option has its benefits:

- **Working for an Established Business:** Provides steady income, less administrative work, and the chance to gain more experience.

- **Starting Your Own Practice:** Offers greater flexibility, the ability to set your own rates, and control over your work environment.

Some well-regarded employers in Tennessee include:

- **Massage Envy**

- **Elements Massage**

- **Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa**

- **Local Chiropractic Offices and Wellness Centers**

Step 8: Continue Education and Stay Current

The field of massage therapy is always evolving, with new techniques and research emerging regularly. Stay current by taking continuing education courses, attending workshops, and participating in professional organizations like the Tennessee Massage Therapy Association (TMTA) or Professional Massage Insurance Organizations like Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Benefits of a Career in Massage Therapy

- **Helping Others:** Massage therapists play a crucial role in their clients’ health and well-being.

- **Flexible Schedule:** Many massage therapists enjoy the ability to set their own hours.

- **Growing Demand:** The need for massage therapists is expected to grow, providing job security and opportunities for advancement.

- **Personal Fulfillment:** This career offers personal satisfaction from helping clients manage pain, reduce stress, and improve their quality of life.


Becoming a massage therapist in Tennessee requires dedication, education, and a passion for helping others. By following these steps and committing to continuous learning, you can build a successful and fulfilling career in massage therapy. Whether you dream of working in a serene spa or starting your own business, the path to becoming a massage therapist is a journey worth embarking on.


If you're ready to take the first step towards this rewarding career, start researching accredited massage therapy programs in Tennessee today. Your future in health and wellness awaits! 🌿✨

0 views0 comments


bottom of page