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Delaware Bill Proposes Massage Program Hour Increase


Effective July 1, 2024, Delaware massage students will no longer be eligible for federal financial aid because massage programs are limited by Delaware law. But there is a solution: House Bill 386 would increase the required education hours for massage licensure from 500 to 625. ABMP fully supports this bill, and here’s why you should too.

First, Some Background Info
In October 2023, the US Department of Education issued revised Gainful Employment rules that impact clock-hour programs in states like Delaware, which has minimum clock-hour requirements for licensure or certification. These programs include massage therapy schools.

Why You Should Care
The new rule mandates that schools align with their state’s minimum-hour education requirements, but clock-hour programs must be at least 600 hours to qualify for federal financial aid. In Delaware, the state law requires 500 massage education hours. So, if a student needs 600 hours to receive funding, but Delaware offers only 500 hours, schools can no longer offer federal funding for massage students.

Delaware and 20 other states are in jeopardy because they require fewer than 600 education hours. Delaware must increase its minimum-hour education requirements for massage students to continue to access federal funding.

How You Can Help
Advocate! ABMP encourages you to support House Bill 386. We need your help to ensure an increase in massage education hours is a priority for the Delaware legislature. Write a polite, encouraging letter to Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker at and your elected officials. Share with them why federal financial aid is necessary to keep your school doors open or how it helped fund your student tuition costs. Find your legislators here.

When writing your letter, speak from the heart—elevate your voice, experience, and expertise. Keep in mind that these elected officials navigate dozens of pieces of legislation in any given week, so it’s always best to keep communications to the point and friendly. You can draw inspiration from ABMP’s advocacy letter template here. Hearing from and learning how this legislation will impact schools, instructors, and current and former students may help save massage programs and federal funding. Let’s protect access to student financial aid and entry into the profession together!

Note: Licensed massage therapists who received 500 hours of education will not be required to go back to school to obtain additional training. This bill will only impact future students.