Increasing Education Hours: A Trend on the Rise

Late last year, the US Department of Education revised Gainful Employment rules that impact schools offering massage therapy clock-hour programs. The new rules are strict and require schools to align their program length with their state’s minimum-hour education requirements.

For example: In Tennessee, a massage program’s minimum-hour requirement is 500 hours. Under the new rule, as of July 1, 2024, no school in Tennessee can offer a massage program longer than 500 hours. The problem is that the federal government requires schools to offer at least 600 hours of education to be eligible for federal funding. If Tennessee schools can offer only 500 hours of education but need 600 hours to receive federal funding, student financial assistance and school enrollment are in danger, creating barriers to entry into the massage profession.

Twenty-two states are in jeopardy of losing federal funding because they require fewer than 600 education hours.

But ABMP and the states are trying to help students. Below are proposed and final changes from this legislative session across the country so far:

  • Tennessee introduced House Bill 1610 and Senate Bill 1588, which would increase education hours from 500 to 650.
  • Louisiana introduced Senate Bill 353, which would increase education hours from 500 to 625.
  • The Florida Board of Massage Therapy approved an increase of education hours from 500 to 650 at its March 20 board meeting.
  • The Nevada State Board of Massage Therapy proposed rule changes to increase education hours from 550 to 625.

More states are considering increasing hours, so stay tuned and contact us for more info at gr@abmp.com. In the meantime, look at our advocacy efforts. Here is a letter of support we sent to the Tennessee legislature because ABMP believes an increase in education hours is necessary to help save federal funding for the benefit of students and reduce barriers to entry.