The Best Massage Therapy Schools in Canada of 2024

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Last updated May 22, 2024

If you’re looking for a hands-on career but the trades don’t interest you, consider becoming a massage therapist.

Much like the trades, massage therapy is a growing industry, and there’s huge demand for graduates across the country. Rapid growth over the past five years in particular means there are more options for learning to become a massage therapist. In addition to the well-established, specialized schools such as Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy and West Coast College of Massage Therapy that have been offering training for decades, many of Canada’s public colleges have added programs in recent years, including Niagara College.

For some people, getting a massage is a form of luxurious recreation, but make no mistake: the profession of massage therapy is rooted in science and medicine, and if you choose to pursue a career as a massage therapist, you’ll be working as a healthcare practitioner who’s integrated with other practitioners focused on health and wellness, including physiotherapists and chiropractors, as well as those delivering prenatal and palliative care.

You won’t necessarily work in a hospital setting, however, as there are plenty of places that employ massage therapists, including athletics and fitness clubs, hotels, resorts and spas. Many massage therapists will end up running their own private practices – mobile ones, no less – which is why many colleges that offer training in massage therapy include curriculum related to running a business.

But as much as massage therapy programs and courses open the door for building your business, it’s ultimately a healthcare profession with stringent requirements for acceptance into your school of choice, subsequent graduation, and most importantly, certification with relevant accreditation organizations, professional associations and regulatory colleges, including the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA), the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, and the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia, among others, which administer registration exams.

Here, based on the latest job placement rates, employer reputation scores and graduate ratings, among other metrics, are the best massage therapy schools combining ancient art and modern medicine to help you learn to heal bodies and minds.

CourseCompare’s annual school rankings are determined using a process that considers several core metrics and principles. Read more about our methodology here.

1.

Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy 5/5

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2.

Royal Canadian College of Massage Therapy 5/5

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3.

Conestoga College 4.7/5

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4.

Vancouver College of Massage Therapy 5/5

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5.

West Coast College of Massage Therapy 5/5

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6.

Niagara College 4.8/5

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7.

Algonquin College 4.6/5

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8.

Humber College 4.7/5

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9.

Centennial College 4.35/5

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10.

Fanshawe College 4.3/5

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11.

Georgian College 5/5

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12.

Mohawk College 4.7/5

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13.

Langara College 4.65/5

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14.

Camosun College 5/5

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15.

MaKami College 5/5

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16.

Lethbridge College 5/5

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17.

Mount Royal University 5/5

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18.

Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy 5/5

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19.

Bryan College 5/5

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1

Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy

sutherland-chan-massage-therapy-school
$ $ $ $

The name says it all – the Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy is one of the oldest massage therapist training providers in Canada, going back to 1978.

This pioneering history means that many experienced massage professionals in the industry are Sutherland-Chan graduates, many of whom help to provide the education at the school, where the massage therapy profession is its sole focus. Because of the school’s long history and experience, Sutherland-Chan graduates are considered top tier in the profession, and the school boasts a very low dropout rate.

What Students Are Saying

Did Intro to Massage and the the instructor was knowledgeable, classrooms clean and well-equipped and environment was warm and friendly while still serious about the material. I would recommend this without reservation.

Adrienne Bitel, Massage Therapy

The Sutherland-Chan curriculum leverages its long history to deliver enriched clinical opportunities for students and exposes them to a wind range of people and health conditions, in part through its on-site teaching clinic, which offers student massage treatments to members of the public under the guidance of a supervising massage therapist. Students will also gain experience through off-site placements in hospital, aging, rehabilitation, and community social service settings.

Locations

North York, Ontario

2

Royal Canadian College of Massage Therapy

royal-canadian-college-of-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

The Royal Canadian College Massage Therapy program covers the science and business of being a massage therapist faster than most schools.

It’s notable for offering a short 18-month program in alignment with CMTO inter-jurisdictional competency across four terms so that students learn all about the human body as well as the necessary skills needed to become a massage therapy professional through a combination of class lectures and practical experience.

What Students Are Saying

Relaxed atmosphere with great instructors that trains professionals. I would recommend going for a low-cost massage with a student and seeing for yourself! Insurance coverage included.

Helen Bastia, Massage Therapy

The first two terms are dedicated to teaching students all about the human body, a functional knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, the basic outline of the arterial, venous, and lymphatic systems, a basic comprehension of the nervous system, and the structure and function of the joints of the body. This science education is balanced by an introduction to massage therapy techniques. The second two terms focus on the application, knowledge, and refinement of clinical skills, while expanding knowledge in neurology and endocrinology and how massage therapy can address specific conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis, among others.

Aside from the science, there’s a heavy emphasis on professional development, including ethics, relevant laws, and business practices for massage therapists.

Locations

North York, Ontario

3

Conestoga College

massage-therapy-school-conestoga
4.7/5
$ $ $ $

Conestoga College’s full-time massage therapy program runs for the three years – it’s an advanced diploma designed to meet the educational requirements for certification, through examination, as a Registered Massage Therapist by the CMTO.

Conestoga’s curriculum reflects that massage therapists are part of a broader interdisciplinary healthcare team who work with a range of patients. It is geared toward students who have an aptitude for science and problem solving that want to help people in a healthcare setting.

What Students Are Saying

Demand for therapists is hotter than it is for developers. Conestoga was a great experience with really knowledgeable instructors and practice for students at the Doon clinic. I attended as a mature student and am really liking the switch from my old job in retail.

Alan Wong, Massage Therapy

The fully integrated Conestoga program covers the basic biological sciences such as anatomy and physiology, massage therapy specific knowledge and skills, and clinical reasoning and therapeutic decision making. Students can expect to graduate with the ability to develop and maintain therapeutic relationships to optimize and improve clients’ health and wellness and a plan of care according to the client’s condition and the treatment goals. What’s more, they will become well-versed in the business skills and principles needed to run a massage therapy practice.

Locations

Kitchener, Ontario

4

Vancouver College of Massage Therapy

vancouver-college-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

The curriculum at the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy (VCMT) melds science-based knowledge along with the practical hands-on skills students require to excel in a variety of environments – graduates are trained to understand how the body works at the same level as many other healthcare professionals.

What Students Are Saying

Loved the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy and the clinic and people surrounding it. Instructors are on their game and you will see the comraderie here as a student. VCMT is definitely one of the best in BC.

Valerie Taylor, Massage Therapy

Aside from being solely focused on massage therapy, the college is the only one that offers a registered massage therapy program in both full-time and part-time formats to accommodate a variety of schedules. This approach attracts diverse set of students with varied backgrounds who have different reasons for wanting to become a massage therapist. VCMT also boasts a very low attrition rate because its experienced instructors and focus on student support, including a resiliency program, as well as the highest passing rates on CMTBC exams. The college also limits class sizes to 28 students or less so that students plenty of one-on-one interaction with instructors.

The VCMT program is built upon three pillars of excellence – academic, covering subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, and neurology; practical, encompassing hands-on training including stints at the campus clinic that helps them gain experience treating a variety of injuries and conditions; and professional, so that students navigate a variety of professional settings as health practitioners.

Locations

Vancouver, British Columbia

5

West Coast College of Massage Therapy

massage-therapy-school
$ $ $ $

The West Coast College of Massage Therapy is one of the veteran schools training massage therapists on the west coast and in Canada.

WCCMT has been delivering massage therapy education for more than 35 years and emphasizes its clinical preparation by exposing students to diverse and extensive clinical opportunities through a combination of public intern clinic and outreach opportunities.

For successful completion its Competency-Based Mastery Level Registered Massage Therapy Program, WCCMT strongly recommends that students take its Biology Preparation Program, which is designed as an introduction and overview of the health science portion of the program, while also preparing students for the rigor of the Anatomy & Physiology section of the program. WCCMT graduates have gone on to start their own health and wellness businesses having taken its program in the wake of the pandemic prompting them to reconsider their career paths.

Locations

New Westminster, British Columbia

6

Niagara College

niagara-college-massage-therapy-school
4.8/5
$ $ $ $

Niagara College’s three-year advanced diploma Massage Therapy program is delivered at its Welland, Ontario campus over six consecutive terms.

The college is a relative newcomer to delivering massage therapy training, having started in September 2021 within its School of Allied Health. The program launch recognized the growing need for massage therapists in the Niagara region with a growth rate of 12.6 per cent from 2018 to 2026 as November of 2020.

The Massage Therapy program at Niagara College also recognizes that gradates will apply their skills in a wide range of environments, including fitness centres and health clubs, mobile practices, private practice, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices, and the hospitality sector, such as hotels, resorts, or spas.

The curriculum ensures that students get an opportunity to work with clients in supervised clinics on-campus and in community placement settings, complemented by the necessary classroom work that will ensure they pass CMTO certification exams.

Locations

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

7

Algonquin College

algonquin-massage-therapy
4.6/5
$ $ $ $

The Massage Therapy Ontario College Advanced Diploma program at Algonquin College provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to provide safe, effective and ethical care at an entry-level of practice within the massage therapy profession.

What Students Are Saying

The best part of my experience is that I was doing the job before graduating. The clinic in A building (Woodroffe and Navaho) share admin with a spa and students and people in the city come out for massages. Instructors were professionals who were passionate about anatomy and healing the body, but also about teaching. There are so many job opportunities out their in this field I can see a path forward to starting my own business. I would say this is the best option in Ottawa and the surrounding area without a doubt.

Natalie, Massage Therapy

Algonquin Massage Therapy program students are driven to help others and are exposed to a curriculum that teaches them how to assess patients and apply techniques safely and efficiently. Work placements expose students to a wide variety of settings and clients, including sports, prenatal care in different trimesters of pregnancy, and people in chronic pain. Students report that the program’s approach allows them to build a rapport with their clients and witness positive change as they learn to help improve their overall health through massage therapy.

Locations

Ottawa, Ontario

8

Humber College

humber-massage-therapy
4.7/5
$ $ $ $

Humber College offers an advanced diploma program in Massage Therapy that combines deep academic preparation and hands-on practical experience to prepare graduates to work as part of a healthcare team.

Humber emphasizes work placements to maximize the practical experience, with four taking place in the college’s own Massage Therapy Teaching & Learning Clinic. The remaining three take place off campus in the community for a total of 330 workplace hours. The college also focuses students on learning how to run a business so that graduates are well prepared to become an entrepreneur or own a private massage therapy practice. Through industry partnerships, Humber students have the opportunity to treat diverse patient populations and conditions, including complex conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and diabetes, and neurological conditions across wide patient groups from infants and children to seniors and palliative care patients.

Throughout the program, students practice skills and techniques including assessments, treatments, hydrotherapy applications, and therapeutic exercises, guided and supervised by faculty. They are also able to use the College’s Massage Therapy Lab as their schedule permits for self-directed practice through open-lab sessions. The lab houses hydro-electric massage therapy tables, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, and therapeutic exercise equipment.

Locations

Toronto, Ontario

9

Centennial College

centennial-massage-therapy
4.35/5
$ $ $ $

The Massage Therapy program at Centennial College is part of its School of Community and Health Studies and delivers theoretical and applied curriculum through in-class lectures, lab experiences, an onsite public clinic and offsite outreach placements.

Centennial’s program provides students with both the fundamental and advanced massage therapy skills to become a successful massage therapist. The program emphasizes professionalism and takes an evidence-based approach to assessment, treatment planning and implementation.

What’s notable about Centennial’s Massage Therapy program is you can do a three-year program or opt for the compressed delivery, which only takes two years to complete with a winter intake that includes the summer semester – there are several weeks off between semesters. The compressed program is aimed at students who have already completed a diploma or degree in a related field and want to complete the program in less time. Be advised that once you opt for the compressed stream there’s no switching over to the traditional three-year program.

The program teaches necessary assessment tools and techniques related to conditions that involve lymph, muscle, nerve, fascia, and joints of the body.  There’s also a wellness focus that maintains physical health, function, and mobility. Courses span Massage Theory and Practice, Clinical Practice, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Kinesiology. Students report being well-prepared for their CMTO registration exams thanks to having already passed their comprehensive Centennial exams.

Locations

Toronto, Ontario

10

Fanshawe College

fanshawe-massage-therapy
4.3/5
$ $ $ $

Like all massage therapy education in Ontario, Fanshawe College’s program is built around CMTO guiding principles, but makes a point of going beyond the minimum curriculum required.

The Fanshawe program is notable for being “accelerated” – the three-year Ontario College Advanced Diploma program is delivered within two years with a strong focus on medical knowledge so that graduates are well-prepared to pass CMTO exams.

Both theory and practice are integral to the Fanshawe curriculum, so students will have an opportunity perfect their hands-on massage skills in the college’s student-run clinic, including how to assess clients and their needs. Right from the start of the program, students will get a chance to experiment with different types of massage techniques including adjunct therapies such as sport, clinical, therapeutic, and pregnancy.

Locations

London, Ontario

11

Georgian College

georgian-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

Georgian College’s Massage Therapy program prepares graduates to apply their training to a variety of environments, including massage, chiropractic and physiotherapy clinics, interdisciplinary clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities, fitness institutes and private practice.

Georgian’s program is especially collaborative, not only looking to help students develop massage knowledge and skills by working with peers and faculty, but also learn to apply business principles relevant to a massage therapy practice so they can respond to environmental issues related to the massage therapy trade and keeps pace with industry changes. The philosophy of the Georgian Massage Therapy program is underpinned by evidence-based practice, clinical decision making, and therapeutic relationships as the basis of massage therapy.

Classroom curriculum focuses on theoretical frameworks related to massage and applied sciences – students get to apply that learning in a lab and clinical setting to provide evidence-based, client-centred care by both receiving and performing treatments under the guidance of a Registered Massage Therapist, as well as practicing in a variety of clinics and through field placements.

Locations

Barrie, Ontario

12

Mohawk College

mohawk-massage-therapy
4.7/5
$ $ $ $

The Massage Therapy Program at Mohawk College is a three-year diploma that’s accredited by the CMTCA.

The program is notable for professors who are also recognized industry leaders in the massage therapy field, with a focus on making sure students are prepared to practice with a variety of unique populations through clinical courses and outreach opportunities that expose them to athletics, chronic pain, neurological disorders, and hospice and palliative care. This includes two college-run clinics in Hamilton.

Mohawk’s evidence-based curriculum supports an inter-professional health care approach to maximize patient outcomes, covering anatomy, physiology, and common pathologies of the human body, while helping students develop critical thinking skills to prepare and implement safe and effective treatment plans, as well as alternative health care strategies. Students will graduate with all the knowledge and skills necessary to complete and pass CMTO exams.

Locations

Hamilton, Ontario

13

Langara College

langara-massage-therapy
4.65/5
$ $ $ $

Langara College’s Registered Massage Therapy program does student intake three times a year, welcoming both domestic and international students with classes held in-person and at its student massage therapy clinic.

Langara is notable for being the first public post-secondary institution in British Columbia to offer massage therapy training, so students benefit from a long history of health programming that informs its two-year diploma in Registered Massage Therapy. Its instructors are described as the best in the province – most have been at Langara since the program began, preparing graduates for their CMTBC provincial registration examinations, with a heavy focus on preparation during the last two semesters with 330 hours of extensive content review. Graduates report being well-prepared to work in the health care system to practice within the Health Care Professions Act and provide hands-on treatments.

From the first semester, the curriculum is quite hands on so that students quickly learn and practice the “art of touch” through techniques and skills, palpation exercises, hydrotherapy, clinical preparation, and clinical assessment protocols, combined with studies of anatomy and physiology. Further along, advanced manual skills and techniques for managing trigger points, scar tissue and muscular tension are introduced. Students will do a clinical internship and five sessions in the gross anatomy field study.

Locations

Vancouver, British Columbia

14

Camosun College

camosun-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

Out in Victoria, British Columbia, Camosun College offers a two-year Massage Therapy diploma that prepares students to meet the industry standards set by the CMTBC (College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia).

Camosun is notable for delivering its Massage Therapy curriculum through an intensive, cohort-based program where students learn about physical, health, and social sciences as they relate to massage therapy in the classroom, simulated environments, and through clinical placements in the College’s on-campus clinics and in the community.

The curriculum covers advanced theoretical knowledge and the practical application of the skills necessary to provide safe, effective, and ethical massage therapy so they can critically evaluate patient case histories, conditions, and impairments to inform a treatment plan and apply knowledge of clinical conditions and pathophysiology to patient assessments. Graduates will be well prepared to apply their massage therapy skills in a wide range of employment opportunities, including their own private practice as well as multi-disciplinary clinics, wellness centers and resort spas.

Locations

Victoria, British Columbia

15

MaKami College

MaKami-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

MaKami College serves students in Calgary and Edmonton with its two-year, 3,000-hour Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy (ACMT) program.

What makes MaKami’s program different is its blended delivery: it includes plenty of hands-on training with potential clientele as well as practicums where students can practice their new skills, but there’s also an iPad component. The program combines online learning with classroom learning so that students benefit from an instructor as well as asynchronous curriculum that’s always at their fingertips and which allows for a flexible schedule.

MaKami’s massage therapy program covers all the related principles of physical, health sciences, and social sciences, along with simulated clinical environments and clinical placements at the college’s on-campus clinics or in the community. Students can expect to graduate with a variety of transferrable skills such as anatomy and physiology, business and employment preparation, as well as get the chance to earn a certification in First Aid during in-person training. Graduates of the program have gone on to start their own health and wellness businesses.

Locations

Edmonton & Calgary, Alberta

16

Lethbridge College

lethbridge-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

Lethbridge College’s massage therapy program is designed to immerse students in the field with 2,200 hours of classroom theory and hands-on clinical experience.

What’s notable is that about a third of students – 700 in total – are devoted to hands-on practicums at Lethbridge’s on-campus student massage clinic, at independent businesses and in community settings, all while maintaining the ability to transfer credits to other institutions. Graduates are eligible to receive up to 54 transfer credits into the Bachelor of Health Science or up to 60 transfer credits into the Bachelor of General Studies at Thompson Rivers University. The college is currently renewing its arrangement with the University of Lethbridge to allow graduates with a minimum 3.00 GPA to apply to the University of Lethbridge’s Post-Diploma Bachelor of Health Sciences program for completion of their Bachelor of Health Sciences degree, making them a third-year degree level student at the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences upon admission.

The two-year diploma program not only focuses on the skills and attributes necessary for success as a registered massage therapist, but also guidance on how to cultivate client-therapist relationships and develop essential business acumen.

Locations

Lethbridge, Alberta

17

Mount Royal University

mount-royal-massage-therapy
$ $ $ $

Calgary’s Mount Royal University Massage Therapy program is a two-year diploma recognized by the CMTCA and other relevant professional associations and regulatory colleges.

With an emphasis on treating chronic and acute conditions, Mount Royal massage therapy students learn to assess clients, apply therapeutic massage techniques, and adapt treatments to promote rehabilitation and pain reduction.

The curriculum integrates theory, practice and research, which means students will gain new skills in the health sciences, such as biomechanics and neuroanatomy, not just massage therapy techniques. Real-life experience is a key element of the program with students doing 330 hours of supervised massage therapy treatments to diverse populations in the university’s student-run practicum clinic and at a variety of community locations.

Locations

Calgary, Alberta

18

Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy

massage-therapy-school
$ $ $ $

Located in Vernon, British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy has provided Registered Massage Therapy education for more than 25 years.

OVCMT is notable for being the first nationally accredited massage therapy program in Canada, as well as being recognized by CMTBC, ensuring that students are eligible to take their CMTBC exam upon graduation.

The college’s curriculum emphasizes student engagement, critical thinking, and extensive clinical experience for domestic and international students, who are on record as valuing the high level of student and faculty interaction that includes a great deal of informal conversation, not just lectures, thanks in part to the low number of students per class.

Locations

Vernon, British Columbia

19

Bryan College

massage-therapy-school
$ $ $ $

Bryan College’s massage therapy program teaches students to treat patients as well as learn to run the day-to-day operations of a clinic.

The curriculum is heavily guided by potential employers of Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) as well as meeting the CMTO requirements for licensure with education that spans anatomy, physiology and kinesiology to spa operations, merchandising and sales.

Bryan College reviews its curriculum annually; students can expect to learn a wide array of modalities, including Swedish massage, sports massage, pregnancy massage, therapeutic rehabilitation, trigger point therapy, friction therapy, lymphatic drainage, and hydrotherapy, among others. At the college’s on-site clinic, students will have a chance to apply their training in multiple clinical environments under the supervision of an experienced RMT.

Through the Student Outreach Program, students will get to visit hospitals, sporting events and companies or spas as they embark on internships that expose them to unique opportunities to work with members of the community who face physical, emotional, mental, and/or socio-economic challenges to health and wellness. Graduates describe Bryan College’s massage therapy curriculum as one of the most practical and comprehensive experiences as compared with their peers who have graduated elsewhere.

Locations

North York, Ontario

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