Number of Massage Program Graduates Continues to Decline

 

By Les Sweeney, ABMP President

 

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) conducts a census of all state-approved massage programs every two years, and recently completed its analysis of 2018 massage program results and trends.

The 2016 ABMP report stated the following: “The trend continues, and accelerates: fewer schools, fewer graduates.”

The 2018 report looks much the same, with additional decline in both the number of graduates and the number of programs.

According to the results of the survey, the number of massage therapy training programs in the United States is at its lowest since 2000, and the number of graduates from those programs is the lowest since ABMP began conducting the survey in 1998—surpassing 2016’s previous low water mark. ABMP’s biennial census of massage school programs indicates 23,877 students graduated from massage therapy programs in 2018—a drop of over 15 percent from 2016’s total, which had fallen 22 percent from 2014’s total.

ABMP’s census was conducted December 2018–January 2019, during which time ABMP representatives attempted to contact 1,080 programs; over 100 were found to be no longer operating a massage program or were out of business altogether. Those who were reached (and still in operation) were asked, “How many students graduated from your primary massage program in 2018?”

More than 75 percent of approved programs responded to the survey. Using state and program data, we projected results for the segment of schools we did not receive an answer from.

The results show that an average massage program in 2018 graduated slightly under 25 students, the lowest per-program average since ABMP began the survey.

Types of Programs and Their Graduates

ABMP categorizes massage programs into six organizational types:

  • Career School—multiprogram institutions offering many career training programs in addition to massage therapy, typically medical and dental assisting, medical recordkeeping, etc.
  • College—massage program offered at a community, junior, or technical college.
  • Corporate School—massage therapy and spa programs as part of a multicampus, multistate, larger corporate entity.
  • Nonprofit—programs whose organization is incorporated as a nonprofit entity.
  • Proprietary—traditionally and typically “Mom & Pop” programs; single owner at a single campus.
  • Public—programs offered through the public education system/school district.

This information, along with results from ABMP’s recent consumer survey regarding massage usage, was shared in April with attendees at the 2019 ABMP School Forum in San Diego, California. ABMP’s next School Forum will be held April 17–18, 2020, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You can reserve your spot at www.abmp.com/educators/abmp-school-forums.

Les Sweeney is president of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. For more information, email les@abmp.com.

Category: 

Trustpilot Reviews

News

Spa Industry Revenues Rebound from 2020 Lows

The International SPA Association (ISPA) released the findings of the 2022 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, which indicate a return to near pre-pandemic industry revenue levels even as staffing challenges persist.

Washington Board of Massage Public Member Vacancy

The Washington Board of Massage (Board) and the Department of Health and Health Systems Quality Assurance Division are now accepting applications to fill the seat for the public member position.

Blog

Benefits

Read the May / June 2022 Issue of Massage & Bodywork Magazine

The May/June 2022 issue of ABMP's Massage & Bodywork magazine is available at www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com. ABMP members get a print subscription as part of membership, and the digital edition is available online and free to the profession.

In this issue, we explore pelvic tilt and spinal compensation, improving bodywork through breath, and how listening to your clients is a superpower. We also discuss SI joint dysfunction, overuse injuries, and much more!⁠

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY: Value over $2,022!

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY—value over $2,022!

3 lucky participants will win shared prizes:

• 16 CE live online Evidence Informed Clinical Cupping course from Cupping Canada & Cupping USA (NCBTMB approved & Canadian approvals) - valued at $405 CAD

• Online course starter kit, tie dye silicone drinking glass & silicone straw kit from Cupping Canada and Cupping USA - valued at $120 CAD

2022 ABMP CE Summit Course: Updating our Hands-On Approach

Learn about the properties of fascia and hands-on techniques for working with fascia in the leg. Join Til Luchau and Whitney Lowe for this engaging course that explores the composition and roles of fascia and collagen and demonstrates several myofascial hands-on techniques focused on the fascia in the leg and the sartorius, gracilis, semitendinosus, and pes anserinus muscles.

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...