Frequently Asked Questions (after 2016-03-07)

Here are answers to the most common questions we receive.
This resource is divided into six areas:


About the Body Therapy Institute

How long has BTI been in business?
BTI was founded in 1983 by Rick Rosen, and was the very first school of massage therapy in the Carolinas. You can get a perspective on the evolution of BTI over the years on the History page. The school has been co-owned and directed by Rick Rosen and Carey Smith since 1993.

Why is BTI closing?
After a very productive 33-year run, Rick Rosen and Carey Smith have decided to retire from the massage school business. 2016 is the final year for the Massage Therapy Diploma Program and continuing education at South Wind Farm. Click here to read A Special Message from the Co-Directors.

What makes your school special?
Our “secret” for success is straightforward: we offer educational programs of exceptional quality, taught by some of the most highly-trained faculty members in the country, and it all happens in a spectacular natural setting for learning and healing. You can read more about this in The BTI Difference, but the best way to experience it is in person.

How can I get a massage in your Student Clinic?
The BTI Student Massage Clinic operates four times per year. You can receive a one-hour massage session for just $25 (or $15 for Seniors). Just go to the Student Massage Clinic page, where you’ll see the upcoming schedule of clinic days. You’ll need to download and read the Orientation Booklet, and then call the BTI Office at 919-663-3111 to book your appointment.

I’m interested in being a “guinea pig” for one of your massage students – how do I sign up for that?
Students in the Massage Therapy Diploma Program find their own subjects for the out-of-class massage practice sessions they are required to complete each week. The school does not participate in these arrangements. Our Student Massage Clinic is the place where you can get a great massage therapy session at a reasonable price.

Can you send your students over to my event or workplace to do provide free massage?
No. We offer massage therapy to the community through our Student Massage Clinic that is based at the school. Students in our Diploma Program are also required to complete a Community Service Externship Project. If you represent a non-profit organization that would like to be considered as an externship site, please contact the school. You may also submit a listing for a Volunteer Massage Opportunity through the BTI Resource Bank on this website.

Massage Therapy Diploma Program

Why have people come to study massage therapy at BTI?
There are a lot of reasons, but here are some of the more common themes our students have shared with us:

  • I want more freedom, flexibility and creative control in my professional life.
  • I’m ready to have work with greater meaning and personal fulfillment.
  • I’m seeking to help others and make a difference in the world.
  • I have an interest in natural healing and holistic living.
  • I’m interested in combining massage therapy with my existing career or interests.
  • I want a career I can call my own.

How can I get a catalog for the Massage Therapy Diploma Program?
Go to the Request a Catalog page on this website. Once you complete the form, you can immediately download a copy of our 20-page School Catalog.

What’s the makeup of your student body?
Students at the Body Therapy Institute comprise a very diverse group. Their ages range from 18 to the mid-60’s with the average around 34 years old. The educational background ranges from a G.E.D. to a Ph.D., with the average being a bachelor’s degree. The female-to-male ratio is around 80%-20%. Our students come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and life experiences.

Is the Diploma Program offered in modules, where I can enroll at any time?
Our 660-hour curriculum is based on a sequential structure, where every course is built upon what came before it. There is no “mixing and matching” or taking individual courses out of sequence. Over the years, this has produced consistently excellent results for our students. In addition, we begin a class together, and that group of students tracks through the entire Diploma Program together. This approach facilitates the development of a highly supportive learning community.

What is the pass rate of your graduates on national board exams?
Over the past eight years, our grads achieved a 96% first-time pass rate on the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination! This is more than 25 percentage points higher than the current national average pass rate on the MBLEx of 70%. This is a tribute to the diligent work of our students and faculty.

What percentage of your students complete the Program?
Over the past 20 years, an average of 90% of our students have completed the Diploma Program. This statistic, combined with our graduates’ pass rate on the national exams is a reflection of the quality of the Program itself, along with the dedication of our students.

If the state only requires 500 hours of training to get licensed, why is your program 660 hours?
BTI has designed the curriculum to be a complete entry-level training. It will prepare you to work at a high level of skill in a wide variety of treatment settings. As a rule, we go beyond minimum requirements to assist our students in achieving success in their professional endeavors. Our graduates are always in demand!


Can I still enroll in the Diploma Program?
BTI is not currently enrolling for any more classes of the Massage Therapy Diploma Program at South Wind Farm.

South Wind Farm

Why is your school out in the country?
Quite simply, we believe in the healing and transformative power of nature. Over the years, we have observed that the learning process of our students is greatly enhanced by the natural environment of South Wind Farm. It is our intention to provide an oasis of relaxation, replenishment and beauty for all who come here.

Where is your campus?
South Wind Farm is located in Chatham County in the heart of the Piedmont region of North Carolina. We are about halfway between the Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill TRIANGLE, and the Greensboro | Winston-Salem | High Point TRIAD. To our East lies the Atlantic Ocean, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are to our West.

Can I use an Internet-based mapping site or my GPS to find my way there?
We strongly recommend that you use the Driving Directions we have on the BTI Website. From experience, we have found that Internet resources such as Mapquest, Google Maps or Yahoo Maps – as well as GPS devices – sometimes show very circuitous and lengthy routes to get to our rural location. We’ve mapped out and described the shortest and easiest routes from all directions, and put it on our site.

Is your place a working farm?
Our property was a working farm in years past, and is part of the historic Chatham County farming community called Silk Hope that was founded more than 260 years ago by Quakers. Today, a local family cuts hay from our meadow to supply feed for livestock.

Do you offer camping?
Camping is available for those who are taking classes at BTI. This includes our Diploma Program students, as well as those who are here for continuing education workshops, advanced trainings and introductory workshops. It is primitive tent camping (no improved sites); no RV’s or camping trailers are permitted. Call the BTI Office for information and reservations.

Is there housing available on your campus?
We don’t offer housing at our location. We do maintain a listing of available rentals in the area, and will assist students who are relocating to come to school here.

Your Career in Massage Therapy

Is the demand for massage therapy increasing or decreasing?
The number of Americans who have received massage in the past year has tripled over the past decade – according to research surveys conducted by AMTA and ABMP. In 2007, approximately 52 million Americans received 318 million massage treatments! Massage has certainly become a part of the mainstream. A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows steadily increasing usage of complementary and alternative medicine in our country (CAM), which includes massage therapy.

How many massage therapists are there in the country?
AMTA estimates that there are approximately 300,000 massage therapists in practice (2012). This is an increase of 71% over the past decade. They are distributed throughout every state, in urban, suburban and rural areas alike. Approximately 85% of massage therapists are women.

What’s the job market like for massage therapists? Can I make a living at this?
Well-trained massage therapists are in high demand. About half of massage therapists are self-employed, either working in their own private practices, or as independent contractors in other businesses. This option allows the greatest amount of freedom and flexibility. The other half works as employees in settings ranging from day spas, destination resorts and massage franchise locations – to chiropractic offices, medi-spas, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. There are also a number of practitioners who have their own businesses, and also work part-time as an employee in another setting.

What do massage therapists charge for their work?
The typical cost of an hour of massage therapy ranges from $50-$100, depending on the type of therapy delivered, the treatment setting, and the experience of the practitioner.

Is this a full-time or part-time career?
The practice of massage therapy lends itself to either configuration, depending on your particular needs and career goals. You can readily combine a part-time career in massage therapy with other work you may want to continue doing, or blending it with the responsibilities of raising a family. You can also make massage therapy your full-time career, as so many have successfully done.

What can I expect to earn as a massage therapist?
According to a 2006 survey from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10% of therapists made more than $71,000/year; 50% made between $23,000-$50,000/year; and 10% made less than $16,000/year.

Are employment opportunities increasing or decreasing?
The US Department of Labor reports predicts a 20% increase in overall massage employment over the next decade. Their report states: “Employment growth for massage therapists is expected to be faster than average for all occupations with very good job prospects.”

Massage Therapy Regulation

Do I have to be licensed to practice massage in North Carolina?
Yes. The NC Massage and Bodywork Therapy Practice Act became law in 1998, which requires licensure. The General Assembly passed this law “to ensure the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this State receiving massage and bodywork therapy services.“

How do I get a license?
Licensure is granted by the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy, with offices in Raleigh. For applicants within North Carolina, you have to graduate from a Board-approved massage school, and pass a national examination accepted by the Board. Visit the Board’s website at for complete information on licensure requirements and application process, or to download a copy of the Board’s laws and rules.

Do I have to be Nationally Certified to get licensed in NC?
No. Amendments to the Practice Act made in 2008 removed this requirement. In-state applicants for licensure must pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (given by FSMTB). As of January 2011, the certification exam given by NCBTMB is only recognized for applicants coming into North Carolina from a state that does not have a license law in place.

Is continuing education required for license renewal?
Yes it is. The Board requires a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education every two years. BTI is an Approved Continuing Education Provider, and offers an extensive schedule of workshops and advanced training programs each year.

I’m a licensed massage therapist from another state and want to relocate to North Carolina – what do I have to do to get a license?
There is a provision in the Practice Act for Licensure by Endorsement, designed to accommodate out-of-state practitioners who want licensure in North Carolina. Visit the Board’s website at to get the specific requirements.

I have a NC massage license and plan to go to another state – can I get a license through reciprocity without having to take another test?
Because of the differences among each state’s license laws, there is little actual reciprocity in the massage profession today. All licensure states require at least 500 hours of massage education, and most require passage of a national board exam. You’ll need to review the exact criteria of a particular state to see if you meet its licensure requirements.

Who regulates massage schools in North Carolina?
Private (or proprietary) schools such as BTI are approved by the NC Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy. In addition, BTI is accredited by COMTA – the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. Fewer than 100 massage schools in the U.S. have earned this status. Note that NC Community Colleges that offer massage programs are exempt from all regulation.