You've decided to go back to school to become a massage therapist. Great! Your next step is to start researching area schools to determine which is the right fit for you. While it shouldn't be the only factor, or even your #1 factor, we know that price will make a huge difference in your decision. The truth? Massage school isn't cheap.
The Average Cost of Tuition
There are two things to consider when looking at schools and prices. The first is the average tuition cost and the second is whether or not you'll have to pay additional fees for supplies. Some massage schools, for example, will include your textbooks and a massage table. Some will only include the text. Some won't give you any supplies. Regardless, you'll usually have to pay for your own sheets (and the cost of laundering them), and you may have to pay for your own lotions - especially if you for some reason can't use the generic the school provides.
So let's break it down. The cost of your training program alone will vary depending on the state you live in because of the hour requirements. In short, though, you're looking at an average cost of anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 - higher if you're aiming for a really high-end school.
If nothing else is included, you'll have to pay for your books, a massage table, lotions, and sheets. You may also have to pay for a uniform (scrubs). The sooner you know what you'll have to pay for, the easier it will be to budget, start looking for discount textbooks, and more. If you have to buy a massage table, for example, you're looking at up to $500 for a new package, but you can often find gently used tables on sale from those who have upgraded or decided the field just wasn't for them.
Paying for School
You have a few options when it comes to paying for your program. Many schools offer payment plans. If they don't, find another school. A reputable school will offer you their own plan or at least help you apply for financial aid. My particular school helped me through the financial aid process. While it was moderated by Sallie Mae, it was not a federal program and was approved rather quickly.
If the financial aid route doesn't work, consider applying for a private loan. There are plenty of institutions with educational loan programs that aren't associated with the federal government. Just know that you'll have to start repayment immediately - not necessarily after your program has ended.
Savings and family are options, if you're really stuck in a bind. I wouldn't drain my savings for school, if I were you, but drawing from savings to buy your books and help you get started is alright. Your parents may be willing to help you train for a new career, too. It can't hurt to ask, and family loans are often easier on interest rates and repayment options.
Your new career as a massage therapist has the potential to be incredibly lucrative. Find a way to finance your education and you'll be well on your way to success.