With highly-trained hands, a massage therapist has the power to relieve tension and wipe away the stress of a rough day. Massage School Directory lists some of the top schools for those looking to learn the trade; the schools are ranked based on reputation, graduation rate, admissions criteria and cost. Of Massage School Directory's top six schools, five are also accredited through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Those five schools are described below.

Cortiva Institute

With 12 locations scattered across seven states, Cortiva Institute schools are open to students from coast to coast. Each school offers a 750-hour comprehensive course that covers theory, practice, communications and ethics. The schools offer open houses and workshops to learn more before you enroll. You can complete the massage therapy program in varying increments of 32, 42 or 52 weeks depending on the school. Graduation and job placement percentages vary from state to state. In Scottsdale, Arizona, 94 percent of students who started the 52-week program graduated and 96 percent found jobs within 30 days of graduation, according to information posted in 2014. In Crystal Lake, Illinois, those rates fell to 90 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

National Holistic Institute

Based in Emeryville, Calif., the National Holistic Institute offers a 900-hour core curriculum program and 450-hour advanced program. The core program covers Swedish massage, shiatsu, hot stone therapy, Thai massage, aromatherapy, business finance and marketing. The advanced program has a cadaver lab, so students can physically see the layers of muscle they have studied. The advanced class also covers facial muscles, orthopedic massage and pain management. Ninety-three percent of students who took the massage therapist and educator program completed it in 2012-13, and 78 percent of graduates landed jobs within 30 days of graduation.

Everest College

Everest has locations in 23 states from Massachusetts to California. Graduates of the massage therapy program have gone on to work in rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, doctors' offices, health spas, fitness centers, sports organizations, tourist destinations and on cruise ships. Classes cover post-natal and infant massage, clinical and sports massage, health and wellness. The program covers anatomy and physiology, business skills, health and wellness. Graduation rates vary from state to state. In Seattle, Wash., 71 percent of students completed the 48-week massage therapy program in 2012-13. In South Plainfield, N.J., 94 percent completed the program.

The Soma Institute

The Soma Institute in Chicago, Illinois, clinical massage therapy program will enable graduates to successfully treat chronic muscular tension, carpal tunnel syndrome, digestive disorders, whiplash, arthritis, circulatory problems, stress, insomnia, strains, headaches, asthma, sinusitis, depression and sports injuries. The 750-hour program has classes in anatomy and kinesiology as well as several clinical demonstration classes. Soma offers campus tours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The school had a 91 percent job placement rate, as reported on the school website in 2014. Graduates have gone on to work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Joffrey Ballet, Swedish Covenant Hospital and the Peninsula Hotel.

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

With an emphasis on the mind-body-spirit connection, the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona, has offered massage therapy programs for more than 20 years. The institute was named school of the year for innovative and outstanding practices from 2011 through 2013 by the Arizona Private School Association and won the Natural Awakening’s Natural Choice Award for Holistic Business of the Year over the same period. The school offers a 750-hour professional massage practitioner program and a 1000-hour master massage practitioner program. The overall graduation rate for 2010-11 was 72 percent.

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