FAQ: New Students


How long does it take to complete training at Cumberland Institute?
Students complete the 500-hour Massage Therapist Certification in their choice of the following time periods:  The 15-Month Fast Track or a self-paced track of 18, 21, 24, or 36 month programs.

When do classes meet?
Classes meet one day per week, Monday through Thursday, for 10 weeks.  Evening Classes are scheduled between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm.

What if I’m not sure I want to certify as a professional Massage Therapist?
Many prospective students are drawn to the bodywork industry, but are not sure they want to pursue extensive training, or make a career change to professional bodywork.  It is recommended that these students enroll in T102 TOUCH DYNAMICS. This course gives an overview of the massage and bodywork industry, as well as an understanding of our personal touch experience in society.  Students who complete this course generally has a greater insight as to whether they wish to proceed with further training.

Is Cumberland Institute affiliated with any professional organizations?
Yes, Cumberland is affiliated with the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).  Cumberland Institute specifically chose this affiliation for the high standards of professionalism and ethical integrity demonstrated nationally by ABMP in areas of education, legislation and therapist support networks.

What is the difference between certification and licensure?
Certification is a professional designation issued by academic institutions to individuals who have successfully completed training in required areas of instruction.  Licensure is a government sanctioned regulation of certified professionals.

Will I need to take a certification exam at the completion of my training at Cumberland Institute?
Cumberland Institute examines and/or evaluates students after each individual course requirement has been completed.  Students are required to achieve a minimum passing grade of 75% (C) for each required course, and a minimum cumulative grade average of 85% (B) for certification.  Graduates applying for Tennessee state licensure are required to pass the state approved exam currently administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards called the MBLEx.  Cumberland’s current pass rate for passing successfully the first attempt is 92% as of 6/30/2022.

As a Bodyworker, where will I work and how much money can I earn?
Most Cumberland graduates establish a private practice, while others will choose to work in group practices, salons and day spas, chiropractic clinics, retirement homes, corporate offices, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and in integrative psychotherapeutic practices.  On average, a full time private practice can gross $40,000 to $60,000 per year, while a hospital or clinic employee can gross between $30,000 and $40,000 per year.

Will Cumberland Institute teach me how to establish myself professionally?
Absolutely!  The success of Cumberland Institute has been defined by its percentage of successful graduates.  At this time,  100% of our graduates find work within the bodywork industry within a year of graduation.  This rate of graduate success is attributed to the required course T401 BUSINESS MARKETING, pre-graduate working experience in the Cumberland Institute Intern Clinic, one-on-one business strategy reviews available with the Director, as well as monthly compilations of career positions available at the school or by email exclusively to Cumberland Institute graduates.

How many students are enrolled at Cumberland Institute?
Cumberland Institute has an average of 40 to 60 students enrolled per quarter; each on a self-paced program.

May I contact any of your students and inquire about their experience while enrolled at Cumberland Institute?
Yes, Cumberland Institute maintains a current list of practicing graduates, student interns, and current students, who are willing to be contacted by prospective students.  This list is available by request from the Director.

What are the class sizes at Cumberland Institute?
Lecture class sizes vary by course between 5 and 25 students, while hands-on-classes have a second instructor added at 13 students.  Since half of the students are giving massage and half are receiving during hands-on training, this makes a maximum 1:6 ratio of teachers to students during hands-on instruction.

How many classes should I take each quarter?
Quarterly course load is an individual consideration based on a student’s available time, as well as the amount of financial resources he or she can comfortably afford to apply to tuition each quarter.  We strongly recommend taking the number of courses which you can handle without personal and financial pressure, thus avoiding burnout and financial overload. A curriculum track outlining a student’s complete schedule of courses and a proposed certification date will be created during the admissions interview.

Does Cumberland offer an Associate’s Degree?  Would it help me to find employment after my training?
Cumberland does not offer an Associate’s Degree, nor is it required for licensure.  Our program offers 500-hour training in the subjects and hands on modalities which will prepare you first, to pass the state licensure exam, and second, to give you a wide array of professional skills to meet the specific needs of each client who comes to you for treatment.  Although we have no placement service, the presence of safety, professionalism and compassion offered by our graduates make them avidly sought by employers. Our current  placement rate is 100% within one year of graduation, most finding work immediately after licensure.

How does Cumberland define a clock hour?
Cumberland Institute defines a clock hour as 60 minutes of in-class or in-clinic faculty supervised instruction.  A 5-minute break is scheduled in addition for each clock hour scheduled. A 2-hour class is actually scheduled for 2 hours, 5 minutes; a 3-hour class is scheduled for 3 hours, 10 minutes and a 4-hour class is scheduled for 4 hours, 15 minutes.

Does Cumberland Institute accept course credit from other schools?
Yes, Cumberland Institute will accept and transfer course credit from other comparable curriculum on the following basis.  (a) an official transcript from the school where training was received is provided, (b) the transcribed hours of course instruction equal or exceed that of a comparable Cumberland Institute course, (c) the transcribed course has been successfully completed no more than 5 years prior to entry into Cumberland and (d) the transcribed course was completed at an accredited academic institution.  Cumberland Institute does not accept transfers for T402 INTERNSHIP, and may require passing a written or practical exam for other courses.

How does Cumberland Institute’s tuition compare to other schools?
Total tuition cost is in the median range comparable to that of other local schools.

What costs can I expect besides tuition?
Students have options when purchasing required textbooks:  Students can purchase new from the school store, purchase new direct from distributor/seller, purchase new or used via Amazon or rent from Amazon.  E-books for several textbooks are also available. Students are required to purchase a professional quality massage table, to be approved by the Director.  Linens and supplies for out-of-school practicum will also be needed. Cumberland Institute provides all equipment and most supplies for in-class work. A student-level comprehensive liability insurance policy is required for the duration of a student’s training and the application for it will be completed during the admissions interview.

Can I purchase equipment and supplies at Cumberland Institute?
Yes; a complete retail area is provided for students as well as non-students to purchase aromatherapy products, massage tools, fleece table pads, lotions, oils and creams.

Does Cumberland Institute offer or administrate federal Title IV funding in the form of Pell Grant or Stafford Loans?   No.

Is Cumberland Institute approved for Veteran’s Education Benefits under the GI Bill®?
Yes, Cumberland Institute is approved for Veteran’s Benefits under Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35 and 1606 of the GI Bill®.  Pro-rata refund and withdrawal policy for students under the GI Bill® is in compliance with Title 38 USC 21.4255.  Cumberland will not penalize or prohibit GI Bill® students from attending or participating in courses while awaiting VA payment (for up to 90 days).

Does Cumberland Institute offer student tuition accounts or payment plans?
Yes; Cumberland Institute offers interest free tuition accounts for students desiring to distribute quarterly tuition costs over a period of 90 days.  The first third of tuition is due upon registration. The second third of tuition will be due the fourth week of each quarter. The last third of tuition will be due the eighth week of each quarter. A schedule of payment dates is distributed each quarter. Tuition payments may be made with cash, checks, debit cards and most credit cards.  Payments vary each quarter, dependent on the number and cost of courses taken.

Does Cumberland Institute offer student loans through the school?
No, but a few of our students have received loans through Sallie Mae or private lenders.  Most of our students go through on our unique “pay-as-you-go” payment plan.

Can I speak with someone about my questions before I apply?
Yes! You may contact the school’s Director, Teresa Greene, at (615) 370-9794 or teresa@cumberlandinstitute.com for more information on admissions. Candis VanSickle, Administrative Assistant, is also available for questions or tours at 615-370-5869.