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FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions about PMTI

Massage As A Career

Is massage therapy the right career for me?

Massage therapy is a deeply rewarding career that draws many different types of people who want to serve the world in this way. It is also highly specialized and requires both basic and some out of the ordinary qualities. As you consider whether massage therapy is a good fit for you, you might begin by answering these questions: Do I like helping others? Can I receive help from others? Am I comfortable with skin to skin contact? Do I like working one-on-one? Am I open and non-judgmental about people who are different from me? Am I energetic and self-motivated? Am I able to work alone and pro-actively promote my own practice? Am I a good, clear communicator? Do I listen well? Have I received and given massage in the past? Do I like doing both? Am I clear about the need to keep my personal, romantic, and intimate relationships separate from my professional life as a massage therapist? Am I interested in human anatomy and physiology? Am I willing to make some sacrifices during my first two years, while improving my professional skills? If you answer yes to most of these questions, you are likely a good candidate for for the PTP and a career in massage therapy! Now that you have gotten that far - discover what are important aspects of a good massage therapy training program.


Where do massage therapists work?
Private practice, group practices, chiropractic clinics, multi-disciplinary clinics and wellness centers, sports teams, retreat centers, nursing homes, spas, airports, hospitals, and hospice centers. New opportunities are created constantly!


How much money can you make?
This really depends on where you work.  If you work for another organization as a contractor there are a variety of compensation percentages offered.  If you have your own practice you have overhead to take into consideration. Generally massage therapists in this area of the country charge anywhere from $55 to $120 per hour depending on their expertise and the modalities practiced.


What does “full time” mean?
On average a full time massage therapist sees 15–25 clients per week.  It is difficult to see more clients than this and maintain good health and appropriate self-care practices.


What are the requirements for licensure in each state?
Licensure requirements can vary significantly from state to state. Check with local governments to learn about specific regulations in the area where you hope to work. You can find information regarding state regulations nationwide at or


NOTE: PMTI’s Professional Training Program satisfies the educational requirements for certification and/or licensure in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  Nationally, each state varies greatly in their requirement for program hours in order to be licensed.  The range nationally is 0 – 1000 hours.  In Washington DC and Virginia the minimum number of hours required is 500 and in Maryland (and because PMTI is accredited by COMTA) the minimum requirement is 750 hours.  We urge you to investigate other states requirements if you are planning to move in the near future.  Contact or for specifics.


PLEASE NOTE: Graduation from PMTI's Professional Training Program does not guarantee licensure in massage therapy in all states, counties or cities. Some states have different or more extensive requirements than standards established by DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Contact or for information on other states, etc. PMTI continues to maintain an exceptional pass rate on the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEX) for first time candidates: Almost all PMTI graduates in the last 6 years have passed -- 93%.  This is 35% higher than the state of Maryland's average (which includes PMTI in that average!) This exam is accepted by several states including the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland for licensure or certification.

Right career?
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About Training

How do I select a school?

Massage therapy is different from many other professions and vocations.  This is a field where you must build a relationship of trust with your clients, maintain ethical boundaries in the business as well as therapeutic aspects of the work, and develop your ability to “feel” the tissue in order to effect changes.  This takes time and right intention. This is the kind of profession where you want to be very selective about where you get your education. So, consider these questions as you consider where you will go to school: 

  • Will this school give you a high quality education and challenge you to be your best?  This is a career where you touch people, literally and figuratively.  It’s essential you know and are comfortable with what you have learned and how to use your new knowledge and skills. 

  • Does the training program offer a solid foundation in the sciences - anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology?  There is much more to massage than touching people.  You will need to understand what you are touching and how your skills can effect the function of that person’s body. 

  • Does the PTP offer adequate supervision?  What is the student-teacher ratio? Are there enough trained instructors to supervise your work with direct one-on-one instruction and feed-back? Do instructors observe and experience your work on an on-going basis? A good program needs to be long enough for your brain to absorb the data, your body to move appropriately and your spirit to make the emotional shift necessary. Shorter rarely means better. 

  • How experienced are the instructors?  It is essential for a massage therapy instructor to be an expert in the field.  If they are an academic teacher they need a solid background in human biology.  If they are a technique instructor, they need to have expertise in the massage modality they are teaching.  

  • Do the instructors actually get on the table to feel the student's work during the PTP?  We believe the study of massage is most effective when the teacher experiences the student's touch along with observing their performance. 

  • What is their success rate on the MBLEX?  Although a practitioner’s success is evident in their skills as a massage therapist and whether they have a thriving practice, an excellent program will also consistently have a high pass rate on the exam that is a prerequisite for licensure.  PMTI graduates enjoy a 93% first time pass rate! 

  • Does the program include clinical work, fieldwork projects and public volunteer activities?  The only way to truly “get” the work is to do it over and over and over again.  Practice, practice, practice! In addition to regular weekday classes, PMTI students work on the general public on-site in our clinic courses and off-site during their fieldwork projects. These courses are supervised by practicing, experienced massage therapy instructors. We also offer opportunities for students and alums to volunteer at events where they can improve their skills and give to the community at the same time! 

  • Does PMTI's business courses offer comprehensive and accurate information, profession and compensation?  We provide 21 hours of marketing and business coursework in the program to help ensure you are fully prepared to be successful as a business person.  You will ultimately be able to charge your clients $70 to $90 per hour or more, but how much will you really make?  And how soon can you charge that kind of fee?  It is critical to understand the business of massage therapy as well as the personal rewards. 

  • Is the cost for tuition in line with the benefits of success?  You are investing your money in an excellent education - make sure the school is right for you!  Student satisfaction as well as cost are important facets as are any school's pass-rate statistics. As a non-profit, PMTI enjoys an exceptional learning environment with a focus on community and fellowship. Tuition is slightly less than that of our competitors. 

  • How do you feel in their facility?  Do you feel like you belong - do you feel a kind of kindred spirit? Trust your instincts! 

  • Does the school have an active support system for Alumni?  It’s important to have support from your school with assistance in finding a job and continuing your career development well after you have completed the program.  We support our alums for life!


There are a number of massage schools in the Washington area, and choosing the right massage school can be a challenge!

In summary, here's what you need to know about us...

  • PMTI is a non-profit organization. High quality education is the school's primary focus.
  • Our students have an above average first-time pass rate on the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx). The national average is currently 72%.
  • Faculty consisting of over 40 instructors, and our core faculty enjoys a 95% retention rate. Our teachers have a wealth of experience and love what they do! We conduct at least 2 instructor development sessions annually.​
  • PMTI offers an optional workshop in learning styles and study skills that can help you optimize your participation in the program.
  • Our fieldwork and clinic opportunities provide many experiences for learning to work with different clients and amongst a wide variety of populations. 
  • Local employers who are "in the know" seek to employ PMTI graduates to fill job openings.
  • PMTI's focus on body dynamics and appropriate professional ethics and boundaries ensures professional longevity.
  • Our student to teacher ratio in the practical classroom is limited to 10 students to 1 instructor, so all students receive a great deal of individual attention.
  • You can participate in the leadership of the school by participating in PMTI's Student Advisory Council (SAC).
  • You can participate in professional partnerships with other healthcare organizations.
  • PMTI has "the circle" - a long standing tradition of connecting as an inclusive community in everything we do. Won't you join our circle today? Attend an orientation or schedule a tour... we look forward to welcoming you to PMTI.

What is an Information Session?

In our Information Session you will learn:

  • How our 3-segment programs work (10-month and 20-month)

  • What classes you’ll take during each segment

  • The process for applying and acceptance

  • The reasons our students chose PMTI and why they’re glad they did

  • Why our students prefer our 10- and 20-month programs over the 6 month program at other DC, Virginia and Maryland schools

  • What it’s like to work with the general public when you go out and do fieldwork and community service in a public setting

  • How PMTI prepares you for working in the massage therapy profession

  • The reasons why employers call PMTI first when looking for new MTs

  • Payment options and support

  • The numerous benefits you’ll receive in becoming part of the PMTI community

What is the PMTI program like?

The Professional Training Program (PTP) is an unforgettable experience! Here's what you'll learn...

  • A client-centered approach to massage therapy that involves tailoring each session to the specific needs of the person on your table, rather than providing the same "formula" massage for everyone.
  • Principles of proper body dynamics and other self-care techniques that help you avoid injury and physical stress, and support you in maintaining a healthy long-term practice.
  • How the major systems of the body function and interact, how they are affected by massage, and how stress affects each system.
  • How to identify and work with the musculoskeletal system.
  • How to perform Swedish massage and deep tissue work with a focus on the kinesiology of specific muscle groups.
  • How to use your verbal and listening skills to establish a supportive environment for your clients.
  • Much, much more!


Download a catalog and get more information about our Professional Training Program. You may also request a catalog by calling our office at (202) 686-7046.


The PMTI Professional Training Program (PTP) is either a 20-month or a 10-month program. Both programs include:

  • Academic and Practical classes.
  • Required clinic, fieldwork, and weekend courses.
  • Regular hands-on practice with instructors observing, as well as periodically giving you direct feedback while on the table.
  • Structured opportunities for interaction with other health care professionals.
  • Personal learning style assessment and support.

At PMTI you not only learn massage as a skill, you become a massage therapist with exceptional skills.


What is the PMTI campus like?

We are very proud of our school and look forward to showing you our professional home.  You'll find everything you need to support your study of massage therapy at PMTI. 


PMTI's Lecture Hall and academic classrooms contain:

  • Study tables and various seating options

  • Integrated Projectors

  • Webcams for remote classes via Zoom

  • Sonos sound system

  • Wifi Internet access

  • Dry erase boards

  • Full and small-scale skeletons

  • Full-size bone replicas

  • Clay and anatomical modeling equipment

  • Other equipment for anatomy study


Our practical classrooms have:

  • Fully equipped and adjustable massage tables

  • Pillows, bolsters, blankets, and oil

  • Touch-free Handwashing station

  • Sonos sound system

  • Full-scale skeletons

  • Anatomy charts

  • Full-length mirrors

  • Study tables and seating for floor and/or tables

  • Stools for clinical practice

The Clinic treatment rooms include:  

  • Fully equipped and adjustable massage tables

  • Pillows, bolsters, blankets and oil

  • Touch-free Handwashing station

  • Sonos sound system

  • Anatomy charts


Our Student area is complete with: 

  • Refrigerator, microwave, and sink

  • Computer with internet access and printer

  • WIFI Internet access

  • Touch-free Handwashing station

  • Comprehensive library for research and browsing

Fieldwork assignments occur in a variety of locations around the Washington area, as well as suburban Maryland and Virginia.  Massage tables or chairs and face rest covers are provided.


What is the timeframe for the 20-month PTP?

Our 20-month Professional Training Program is presented in three 20-week segments over 20 months.

What is the timeframe for the 10-month PTP?

Our 10-month Professional Training Program is presented in three 10-week segments over 10 months.


How many hours is PMTI’s program?
We offer a 750+ hours program.

What modalities will I learn?
You will graduate from our program with a solid foundation in client-centered Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques.  We also feel it is important for a skilled massage therapist to understand the three main types of massage and bodywork techniques, including soft-tissue modalities, movement modalities and energy modalities.  Therefore, our students are also introduced to a variety of other modalities in order to help them decide upon advanced training after graduation.

How many hours per week are the classes?
For the 10-month program, Academic and Practical classes meet twice a week.  The 20-month program 
Academic and Practical classes meet once a week. In addition there are clinic, weekend courses and fieldwork requirements which are scheduled separately by each student at the beginning of each semester.  The hours required for each of those additional courses varies per semester.


What happens if I miss a class?
Each course has its own make-up policy.  Some can be made up by tutoring, some require a written assignment and others have to be made up in actual class time.


What kind of homework can I expect?
This varies depending on the course – and – you can count on study time for the sciences, at least two hands-on practice sessions per week outside of class and occasional papers to write.  Each instructor will give clear guidelines about those expectations at the beginning of their course.


What does “rolling” admissions mean?
As soon as a complete application is received that applicant is given a number.  That number ensures that if they are accepted into the program and have applied early enough they will likely get a space in the classes they have requested.  We do not wait until all applications are received to “select” candidates for the program.  It’s an open and fair process.

Are all applicants interviewed?
Once PMTI has received a complete application, the Admissions Committee reviews it for acceptability. The Admissions Department sets up a one-on-one interview with the applicant and one Admissions Committee member.  It takes about 90 minutes and we discuss a variety of topics including the applicant’s motivation for applying to the program.  This insures our students are appropriately screened and motivated to attend the training program.


What is your acceptance rate for applicants?
Statistically we accept 85% of the applicants who apply for our program.

What makes an application “acceptable”?
There are a couple of factors that can prevent an applicant from being accepted into the PTP.  Here are a couple of situations that arise occasionally.

  • No experience either giving a non-professional massage or receiving a professional or non-professional massage.  In other words, there is no direct experience with the work they are about to study.

  • Conflicting priorities and not enough time. If an applicant works full time, has children, and is getting a masters’ degree, we would likely recommend they wait until they have sufficient time to devote to their studies at PMTI.

  • A lack of proficiency in English. Classes are taught in English & related text and materials are presented in English. If a potential student has not appropriately mastered the language, PMTI may suggest ESL courses prior to beginning the PTP.

It is important to understand that our main goal is to provide the student with a successful and enjoyable learning experience.

If I have taken some of the coursework before will PMTI transfer credit?
Although not every course has the same content depending on the focus of that institution or course, we will look very closely at what you have achieved already and consider transferring credit or providing a way to test out of a subject.

Can you review my transfer documents before I apply to the program?
Document review is a time-intensive process handled by the Director of Education.  Because of this we require a student to apply to the program and be accepted before we review their documents and set up specific program waivers for them.

Info Session?
Prog Hours?
Hours per week?
If I miss?
Transfer docs?
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