FAQ

Topics:
The Program Itself
Faculty and Staff
Top Ten lists
School History
Living in Santa Fe
Applying to the Program
Financial Aid and Financial Information
Your Career in Massage Therapy
Massage Therapist Licensing and State Regulation
Credentials, Approvals, Pass Rates and Accreditation

The Program Itself FAQ

Q:  Can you give me an overview of the curriculum itself?
A: The Santa Fe School of Massage offers a 700-hour massage therapy certification program with a creative, profound, and practical curriculum. Massage therapy certification courses offer comprehensive and expert training in massage and bodywork that include strong foundations in anatomy and pathophysiology.  In addition to the core massage curriculum, we offer courses in energetic and natural healing modalities. Classes in business and ethics prepare students to succeed in the working world, and our extensive student clinic practicum provides invaluable experience in the practical and professional aspects of massage therapy.

The school offers two full-time massage therapy certification programs, one in the fall and one in the spring. The full-time program is well-suited to those who wish to attend intensive classes during weekday hours. Students receive their diploma after 6 months of study. For students who need a more part-time format, there are a limited number of seats for some individuals to take the program over a year’s time by splitting the curriculum into two parts. If you are interested in this type of format, contact our office.

Throughout our program, we embrace paradigms that honor the whole person and value the inter-relatedness of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of being. Our students emerge with the skills and professionalism to establish a successful career in the healing arts.

Q:  Can I take electives?
A:  In addition to the core 700-hour certification program, students may take additional courses to increase their diploma hours.  Courses are offered at times that do not interfere with program coursework.  Topics include: Aromatherapy, Thai Massage, and many of our Advanced and Continuing Education classes.

Q:  What types of support are available to students if they are finding the information challenging?
A:  SFSOM offers assistance to any student experiencing difficulties with bodywork or academic classes.  Coaching for improvement of study skills and test taking ability is available at any point throughout the program.  If a student requires tutoring, they may choose from an extensive list of SFSOM graduates and teachers to assist in their studies.

Q:  What is SFSOM’s facility like?
A:  The 3600 square foot SFSOM facility creates an airy, open, warm-feeling space with a natural sense of flow. You will be welcomed to the school in our bright, expansive reception area. Throughout the school, high ceilings, spacious proportions, and interconnected rooms are complimented by large south and west facing windows.  Walls are painted in soothing colors that change subtly as natural light shifts throughout the day. Students spend most of their class time in the large, light-filled main classroom. Occasionally, instruction takes place in our more intimate small classroom. Between classes, students can relax on the couch or in the cozy chairs of the library, or in the large, warm lounge with couches and traditional upholstered bancos.

There is a large “backstage” area for students with lockers, kitchen, and wooden tables and chairs.  You will likely have your interview in the executive office suite where the administrative staff works.  There is ample, free, off-street parking and a bicycle lock-up area behind the building.

Faculty and Staff FAQ

Q:  How many faculty and staff do you have?
A:  SFSOM has a faculty of about 20 teachers, and 4 administrative staff.

Q:  What type of training and experience have your teachers had?
A: Our courses are taught by dedicated and expert instructors who are passionate about their work. Most teachers at SFSOM are all LMT’s (Licensed Massage Therapists), and all of the bodywork instructors are RMTI’s (NM Registered Massage Therapy Instructors).  Many of our teachers are SFSOM graduates and have apprenticed extensively with our senior instructors.  All of our bodywork teachers are practicing therapists with thriving practices.
Many of our teachers have had extensive training in various other disciplines, for example, Rolfing and structural integration, Shiatsu, Craniosacral, naturopathy , neuromuscular therapy, reflexology, polarity, and somatic experiencing, as well as genetics, biology, counseling psychology, philosophy, literature, and education. They each bring a depth of training and practical experience to their classes.  Please see our staff page for individual profiles.

Q: Are faculty and staff available and easy to talk to?
A: Yes.  Faculty and staff, including the owners and director, are easily accessible to students.  We make a point of being available on site or by phone to provide support for our students.  If you need assistance with any aspect of the program, we are here for you.  In fact we rely heavily on student feedback to custom-tune our program to each class that moves through the school.  You will be asked your opinion and we pledge to respond quickly and efficiently to your ideas.

Top Ten lists FAQ

Q: What makes SFSOM so special?  Give me 10 good reasons why I should come here.
– Great location:  Santa Fe is a beautiful, energetically charged place to transform your career and your life.  Lots of clean air, sunshine, and blue skies!
– Longevity:  We have 35 years experience- we know what it takes to succeed.  We know the pitfalls and best practice.  We’ve seen the market change, we’ve seen regulation evolve.  We know how to support your success.
– Quality of faculty and staff.  We train and hire the best in the business.
– Personalized attention:  small class size, accessibility of faculty and staff, the support you need when you need it.  We are committed to the healing potential of each of our student.
– The cost of our training is among the most reasonable in the country.
– Statistics:  NCE exam 100% success rate and 96% first-time Pass Rate; MBLEx 100% first-time pass rate; 95% Graduation Rate,  3% Tuition Loan Default Rate.
– Great curriculum:  Superior results, training for rewarding, long-term, injury-free career.   Full range of modalities offered- Swedish, Deep Tissue and Myofascial Bodywork, Energy Work.
– SFSOM community of graduates:  Great people to know and to rely upon.
– Excellent Environment/Culture:  friendly, relationship-based, cooperative, responsibility-focused.
– Our reputation throughout the industry:  outstanding, consistent, loved, high quality, rigorous, full-spectrum, mature, authentic.

Q:  What are the top 10 things I will get out of an education at SFSOM?
– You will have the expertise to pass the national tests.  You will have a new career in 6-12 months.  You will have a massage certification good in 46 states.
– You will know how to work safely and deeply with sensitivity and presence.   Your clients will have confidence in you.
– You will be a professional.  You will understand customer service, and how to keep clients.
– Will be prepared to start you own business. You will highly trained and extremely effective in the work world.
– You will have one of the most respected diplomas in the industry. You will be able to give an awesome massage.  You will do bodywork that gets results.
– You will know how to care for yourself and you will develop good boundaries.  You will have more compassion for yourself and others.
– You will know more of your own wholeness and more of your capacity to share with others. – You will have greater sensitivity and a greater knowledge of the human experience.
– You will have a lifelong group of friends (your classmates).
– You will have a greater knowledge of the human body- its structure and function.
– You get the best return on investment in the educational world. 

School History FAQ

Q:  What is the history of SFSOM?
A:  The Santa Fe School of Massage was founded in 1979 by naturopathic physician Dr. Jay Scherer under the name “Dr. Jay Scherer’s Academy of Natural Healing.”  Dr. Scherer was passionately committed to the healing process of the individuals with whom he worked.  He was also devoted to the evolution of holistic health knowledge, and to those who would carry it forward. Following his death in 1990, the school continued its mission to serve students and to advance the healing arts profession.  Over the next 20+ years, the school’s curriculum evolved and grew through the contributions of another generation of innovative teachers.

In 2007, the school was bought by Keith Spear and Cathy Black.  Cathy was an instructor and administrator for the school from 1991 through 2000. Together, she and Keith bring their unique experience and knowledge in the fields of massage, education science, and the healing arts to this historic organization.  In 2011, the name of the school was changed to the Santa Fe School of Massage.

Today, the Santa Fe School of Massage continues to be a leader in massage and bodywork education.  We combine a historical understanding of the modern massage profession with the newest in science and healing arts to offer a superlative massage certification training.  We are passionate about supporting students in their learning and personal development.  Welcome to the Santa Fe School of Massage!

Q:  How many graduates does SFSOM have out in the world?
A:  There are over 1,500 SFSOM/Scherer Institute graduates throughout the United States and the world.

Living in Santa Fe FAQ

Q:  What is Santa Fe Like?
A:  Santa Fe is located in Northern New Mexico, USA, and is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world.  Santa Fe occupies a high desert ecosystem, and is known for wide open spaces, mountains, expansive blue skies, low humidity, moderate temperatures, and dramatic light.  Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States, first inhabited by the Pueblo Indians and later colonized by the Conquistadors, and it has the architectural and cultural diversity to prove it.

New Mexico has its own unique “Southwestern Cuisine” and Santa Fe is one of the best places to experience it.  Hundreds of restaurants grace this ancient city in all styles and price ranges.  There is also great coffee to be had at dozens of local coffee shops and bakeries.  For the epicurean in all of us, Santa Fe features a perpetually full calendar of music, art, poetry and writing, food and wine, spiritual, and cultural events.  There is a farmers’ market downtown featuring local produce, and a robust organic farming movement in the surrounding rural areas.

Enjoy the Santa Fe Film Festival, Santa Fe Opera and the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.  Native American ceremonies and dances occur frequently and are generally open to the public.  Near Santa Fe, you will find ancient churches, living pueblos and ruins.  Recreational opportunities include skiing in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains, rafting on the Rio Grande, and hiking on an extensive system of mountain trails.

Travelers may arrive in Santa Fe Airport on United or American Airlines, or can take a shuttle up from the Albuquerque Sunport, which is serviced by all of the major domestic airlines.

For those of you tuned to the more subtle frequencies, Santa Fe sits at the South Node of the Rocky Mountains.  This provides residents of the region with a fast-flowing transformational energy that can assist in life changes and a return to your essential nature.  There are strong and diverse spiritual communities here as well, and a healing arts community with roots stretching back to prehistoric times up to the modern alternative medicine movement.

Q:  How do I arrange housing in Santa Fe?  What does housing cost?
A:  You can expect to spend $300-550 for a room in a shared house, and about $500-800 for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Students often room together and we have a community resource book at the school containing leads for housing in the area. Feel free to contact us for housing leads.  The local classifieds and Craigslist are great resources for researching housing.  Note, however that some of the best living situations never show up in print or on the web.  Word-of-mouth is key, so you might consider arriving a week or two before classes begin to find housing and to get settled.

Q:  Where can I find work while studying?
A:  For those who need to work and take the part-time alternative at massage school, students who wish to work are generally able to find jobs in Santa Fe.  Santa Fe has a robust tourist industry and provides jobs such as waiting tables, bartending, cooking, retail, and hotel work. Museums and art galleries are sometimes in need of staff.  Students can often find work as personal care attendants, and childcare providers.  Others find work in gardening and landscaping, reception, and as grocery checkers.

The recreation industry also provides positions including rafting guides, ski instructors and bike mechanics.  Bring your specialty.

Q:  Can I take the full-time program and work too?
A:  We do not recommend students in the 6-month full-time program work at all.  If you find you must work, please limit yourself to 10-15 hours a week.

Applying to the Program FAQ

Q:  I’m just starting to investigate massage schools.  What should I look for?
A:  Your journey begins when you contact the school.  Many prospective students just want an initial idea of what the school is like, how much it costs to attend, if there is financial aid, and what the quality of the program is.  Later, you might want to know other facts and figures, like the national exam pass-rate, and the kind of money you can make, and how long graduates from the school stay in the profession.  You might then begin to investigate the type of people you will be learning from and attending class with- a big consideration since you may be spending between 6 and 12 months with them in very close proximity.   Basically over a period of time, you will ask clearer and clearer questions about the school.  You will become more focused on what you really want and how you will make it happen.  Most of all, you need straight facts and intelligent answers.  We are here to give you that, and our best attempt to introduce you to SFSOM and what sets it apart from all other schools. We encourage you to talk to as many current students and graduates as possible.  They will share their experiences and tell you what makes this school unique.

Q:  Can I visit your school?
Please Do!  We recommend that you visit the school, have a massage on us, ask questions, get a feel for the place, meet some students, staff, teachers, and grads.  Choosing a massage school is a big decision, and you need all of the information you can get.  You can attend one of our  open houses (See our schedule) or you can set up an individual visit.  We love sharing the school and hope that your visit will assist in your decision making.  We promise no hard sell, just a real conversation about you and what you want.  Prospective students say over and over, “When I walked through the door, I knew this was the school for me.”

Q:  What is SFSOM’s application process?
A:  Please see our Admissions Page.  In short, after you have contacted us and know that you would like to apply, submit the following:

•Completed application, including essay questions
•Resume
•Transcript from last school attended (College/High school/GED)
•$50 application fee
Photo of yourself!

We will contact you to set up an interview, either in person, via Skype, or over the phone. If successful, you will be informed of your acceptance within two weeks.  Financial arrangements can now be made to pay for the program, which may include full payment or a financial aid agreement. You will then receive an Enrollment Contract in the mail, which you will need to agree to and sign.  Return this with your $500 deposit.   You are now ready start!

Q: Are there any pre-requisites for the program?
A: Yes. We do require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, and additional education is encouraged.  We appreciate applicants who possess a stable occupational history and have varied life experience.  Beyond these requirements, we advise students that massage training can be an intense process, involving new physical and emotional challenges.  Beyond an adequate work and educational background, students must demonstrate a willingness, commitment, and ability to evolve and grow internally. For example, many people starting massage training realize that they have issues with receiving touch, or that they are uncomfortable touching others. Working through these challenges and others are as much a part of our massage education as learning good technique and anatomy.

Q: Do you accept everyone into this program?
A:  All prospective students must successfully complete the application process, in which we seek to determine if the student and SFSOM are a good match.  Massage training, and indeed, the massage profession, can be physically and emotionally intense.  If it is clear that an applicant is not suited for these challenges, we may withhold acceptance.  All applicants must agree to live and work by the ethical principals spelled out in our Student Manual.  All told, we want to know if an applicant will be an asset to their class, to the school, and to the profession of massage at large, because once you are accepted at SFSOM, we are committed to supporting you through every challenge and opportunity of this education.

Q:  I am an international student.  How can I get a student visa?
A:  SFSOM is a SEVIS-approved school, authorized by the federal government to accept M-1 visa class non-immigrant students.  We will issue you an I-20 form, the first step in applying for your M-1 visa.  This visa is required for international students while enrolled in our school.  We strongly recommend you review the following website, http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html#required, which provides detailed information about student visas. The M1 visa is valid for our full-time classes only and does not allow you to work.

Q: I have already completed some of the courses before at other institutions. Can I transfer in credits and opt out of some topics?
A:  On an individual basis, we will evaluate prior coursework in anatomy, kinesiology, pathology, and physiology, and if appropriate, provide students with an opportunity to test out.  In general however, the structure of this program does not allow for skipping topics or transferring credits.  Our program contains an integrated curriculum and our content is coordinated to blend science and bodywork together, giving students the most effective learning experience possible.

Financial Aid and Financial Information FAQ

Q:  How can I pay for my education?  Is there financial aid available?
A: Yes.  Our goal at SFSOM is to make our bodywork education available to everyone who is eligible and accepted into the program. We typically collect tuition in full from new students before the commencement of classes.  However, if you are ready to start classes now and find yourself unable to pay, you have several options to choose from.

Q:  Are there any loans available through the school?
A:  SFSOM offers tuition payment plans spanning the length of your education or longer if necessary.  We charge nominal interest to cover administrative costs and there is no set-up fee.  Monthly payments for the extended payment plans are quite reasonable.

Q:  Do you offer scholarships?
A: Yes.  Several partial scholarships are available each year.  These are offered to those truly in need, for whom the payment plan is inappropriate.

Q:  Are there work-study positions available?
A:  Yes.  A small number of work-study positions are available to those in need.  To be considered for a work-study position, candidates must demonstrate strong initiative, responsibility and self-direction.

Q:  Are Federally Subsidized Student (Title IV) Loans available?
A:  No.  Alternatively, we provide an in-house payment plan to help students afford tuition.

Q:  Are SFSOM students eligible for Pell Grants?
A:   No. Our students are not eligible to receive government grants.  Alternatively, we provide an in-house payment plan, scholarships and work-study to help students pay tuition.

Q:  Can students who are eligible for Military Benefits apply them toward tuition at SFSOM?
A:  Yes. SFSOM is approved to train veterans and their dependents under provisions of the United States Code.  Please contact our admissions department for details.

Q:  Are there costs beyond tuition and tax I will have to pay?
A:  All major bodywork and science courses have required textbooks.  Please inquire as to cost for your upcoming course. Students are also responsible for the cost of sheets and oil for their practice labs and clinics. The school supplies all in-class sheets and oil. Tables, blankets, table covers, and pillows are also supplied by the school.

Q:  What is the default rate of your in-house loan program?
A:  We enjoy an almost non-existent default rate at SFSOM – 3%.  This is due to several reasons.  First, we build trusting relationships with each applicant and come to understand his or her financial need.  Throughout the program every student is treated as an individual with respect and consideration.  The environment at the school is one of shared understanding and integrity and this environment extends into financial matters.  We realize the level of commitment applicants make when they decide on our program, and they understand our level of commitment to them when we provide them the means to partake in this education.  We also believe in the quality of our program so strongly, that we are confident that upon graduation, you will be able to repay your loan easily and with gratitude.

Q:  Do you take credit cards?
A: We gladly accept credit card payments with Visa, Mastercard and Discover. You may also make your payments via personal check, money order or cash.

Your career in Massage Therapy FAQ

Q:  Does your school have job placement?
A: Employers frequently contact SFSOM to notify us of job opportunities for new therapists.  We post these job opportunities for the benefit of our graduates.  While we cannot guarantee job placement per se, SFSOM has one of the finest reputations in the country.  Due to the selectivity of our admissions process and the quality of our education, we are a preferred source of therapists for spas, salons, chiropractic offices and hotels in the region and elsewhere.  SFSOM also hosts an independent graduate clinic that provides opportunities for recent grads to hone their talents in an inexpensive, safe and predictable environment.  Graduates plan their own schedules, network their own client base, and cooperate to share the work-load.

Q:  Are employment opportunities for massage therapists increasing or decreasing?
A:  According to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics, even thought the country is experiencing a net loss of jobs, opportunities for massage therapists have continued to increase.  Although the number of massage therapists in our industry has increased in the past few years, demand for quality massage therapists is continuing to exceed supply. For detailed information, visit the Bureau’s massage therapy statistics page at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319011.htm.

Q:  What can I earn as a Licensed Massage Therapist
A: There is a huge range in pay among massage therapists.  Before you ask the money question, you have to decide on a few things.  Do you want the responsibility of a private practice or would prefer to simply show up for your job at an appointed time and then go home?  If you work in a spa or an office, expect to make and hourly rate of between $15 plus tips at the low-end and $70 plus tips at a more exclusive establishment.  Some of your time will be spent waiting for clients or on-call and you won’t be paid at the same rate.  The nice thing is that the job is simple.  Management sets the fees, provides the room, the linen, the clients, and handles all of the details.

If you prefer to establish a private practice, you will tend to make more money, between $60-$100 an hour, and will be free to set your own rates and schedule.  Some entrepreneurial individuals can make more with good marketing and an up-scale clientele.  However you must also do you own bookkeeping, pay your own taxes, and rent a private or shared office or devote a room in your home to your massage business.  You will have to generate and maintain your own client base, and be extremely professional.  You will be exercising your brain’s executive function and for some people, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

At SFSOM, we offer a real-world business education that will allow any graduate to work for themselves when they feel the time is right.  Many fresh grads work in spas to get lots of experience and to polish their acumen.  Many then move on to a shared office space or an out-call practice.  There is no typical path- it is dependent on you.

Q:  Where can I work as a massage therapist?
A:  Many places hire massage therapists, and the pay varies widely, between $15-$70 per hour.  Spas are the largest employer of massage therapists and include day spas, destination spas, medical spas, resorts and cruise ships.  Others such as chiropractors, hospitals, chair massage businesses, medical clinics and small individual massage clinics hire massage therapists as well.  Many therapists make their own job, preferring to start a private practice and work with a clientele of their own creation.

Massage Therapist Licensing and State Regulation FAQ

Q:  What is the SFSOM’s view of licensing and certification?
A:  In the early 1970’s, SFSOM’s founder, Dr. Jay Scherer, was instrumental in helping to establish regulation of the massage therapy profession in New Mexico.  He was dedicated to elevating massage therapy to the level of a respected healthcare profession, and lobbied legislators to create a governmental regulatory body that became the first New Mexico Massage Board.  SFSOM was the first massage school to register under the current licensing board, Registration #1, when the state massage board was re-established in 1992.

Q:  Once I graduate, how do I get a license?
A:  The process of becoming licensed varies from state to state.  Although it is up to each student to be certain of the requirement of his or her home state, SFSOM is expert at supporting graduates through the state licensure process.

Q: What is the National Certification Exam for Massage Therapists?
A: The National Certification Exam (NCE) is an exam that students may take after completing an approved massage program from a certified school that adheres to the curriculum guidelines set up by the National Certification Board.  There are several variations of this test.  The NCE website is www.ncetmb.com.  There is another national licensing exam, valid in an increasing number of states, that students may take called the MBLEx (Massage Board Licensing Exam) established by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.  The FSMTB website is www.fsmtb.org.

Q:  I am from out of state/out of the country.  Will SFSOM’s program satisfy requirements for my region?
A: While each country, state, and province has different licensing requirements for massage therapists, our program meets the requirements of the vast majority. Our program satisfies requirements for all states, excluding Maryland, Nebraska, New York, and Ohio. Before enrolling in any massage therapy certification program, be sure to check with your state’s massage board.

Q:  What are the requirements in New Mexico to become an LMT?
A:  The State of NM requires 650 hours of massage therapy instruction and specifies which subjects must be covered.  In addition, applicants for licensure must pass either the NCE or the MBLEx exam, and a jurisprudence exam. The SFSOM program (700 hours) fulfills all requirements and thoroughly prepares you for the National Certification Exam and/or the MBLEx.  Our administrative staff is happy to support you through the licensure process.

Q:  Is continuing education required for license renewal?
A:  Yes.  In NM and many other states, continuing education is required.  Although the minimum number or CE hours each therapist must acquire varies from state to state, (NM requires 16 hours every two years) most therapists take the CE requirement as an opportunity to experience new modalities and to expand their expertise.  SFSOM along with many other schools provide a wide array of quality offerings.

Credentials, Approvals, Pass Rates and Accreditation FAQ

Q:  What is the SFSOM pass rate on exams required for licensing?
A:  SFSOM graduates have earned a 100% success rate and a 96% first time pass rate on the NCE exam, and a 100% pass rate on the MBLEx.

Q:  What percentages of students/graduates take the licensing exam?
A: Up to the current date, all of our graduating students, who wish to obtain a massage license in a state where the exam is required, have gone on to take licensing exams.

Q:  What approvals, licenses, and credentials does SFSOM have?
A:  SFSOM is Registered Massage Therapy School #1 with the New Mexico State Massage Therapy Board.  We are a Member of the AMTA Council of Schools and we are approved by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) as a Continuing Education Provider #450651-08.   SFSOM is also a SEVIS-approved School, authorized by the federal government to accept M-1 visa class non-immigrant students.  We are also approved to train veterans under provisions of Section 3676, Chpt. 36, Title 38, United Sates Code.

Before applying to any school, research the requirements for licensure in your state.  Here is a great place to start:  http://www.amtamassage.org/regulation/index.html 

Q: Is your program accredited?
A:  Not anymore.  In 1989, we became accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).   This was a rigorous process of book keeping, documentation, and reporting, which it turned out, we were very good at.  But what we soon discovered was that it required a huge amount of time, money, and creative energy that we felt could be better used in other ways.

We found it burdensome and it in no way enabled or compelled us to provide a better program- quite the opposite.   In 1993, at the end of our 5-year term, we choose not to renew our accreditation and have ever since, as before, devoted ourselves to providing the most innovative, inspired, and effective program to our students.

Q:  But I have been told, “accredited schools are better.”  Is this true?
A:  No study or body of evidence exists suggesting that this is the case. The internet is loaded with “expert” opinions on the topic of massage schools and accreditation.  Unfortunately, some of these referral sights proclaim that the only sure way to tell if a massage school is good is if it is accredited.  This assertion is patently false and offensive to the hundreds of fine, non-accredited massage schools across the country. The reality is that accreditation is not licensing.  Most states (48 out of 50) do not require accreditation to grant you a license.  There are clearly more important indicators of quality, such as customer satisfaction, reputation, quality of education, licensing exam pass rates, loan default rates, longevity, and what actual graduates say about the program.

Q:  If accreditation does not necessarily ensure customers higher quality, why do some schools go through the process?
A: About 300 of the 1,440 massage schools in the United States are accredited.   Accreditation is not the same as licensure.  Each state legislates its own licensure requirements for massage therapy.  The accreditation process is used mainly by massage therapy schools that are interested in participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs, commonly referred to as Government Student Loans.  Hundreds of million of dollars per year are available to these schools through their students, and for many accredited schools, the lion’s share of their quarterly profits come from this revenue source.  Federal standards mandate that only 10% of an accredited school’s income come from “self-pay” students.  In short, many of these profit-driven schools would not exist without the current system of federally subsidized student loans.

Alternatively, some schools operate on a very large scale (graduating hundreds of students per quarter) and have a corporatized business model.   Many of these schools utilize the structure provided by their accreditation agencies to help determine their structure, services, and outcomes.  For large corporate schools, it is a ready-made system for organizing and processing large amounts of paperwork, data, and people.

We find that creating and evolving our own structure and style suits us, and our students, best. And like our students, we ourselves enjoy being self determined, creative and independent.  In fact many of the finest massage and bodywork schools are purposely modest in size so they can offer highly personalized instruction.  Accreditation is out of scale and out of character for SFSOF.  At SFSOM, it is not in our business model (or our hearts) to become a large-scale school with hundreds of students per year.  We are passionate about our program and love supporting each of our students’ success.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q:  How will I benefit from attending SFSOM because it is a non-accredited massage school?
A:  You will have the highest quality program possible.  You will pay a reasonable tuition.  Being unaccredited, we are able to maintain a level of independence and self-determination that allows us to respond to student needs and to changes in the massage industry quickly and effectively.  That means you will be attending a lively, evolving program that you can help shape.  We put our resources into the things that really matter to our students, like creative, high quality instruction, personal interaction, and responsive faculty and administration.  With less bureaucracy and human resource overhead, we are able to provide a top-level education at a much lower tuition cost to our students.  We maintain extremely high student, graduate, and teacher satisfaction, not by following the rules of an accrediting body, but by cultivating relationship with our students and staff, and by caring about the results of our work.  Please speak to any of our 1,500 graduates and hear it for yourself.