a community of practitioners
In reference to Relax and Rejuvenate's (nom de plume?) point about all massage schools being for profit, in addition to the community colleges, there are several non-profit schools in the USA, the most famous nationally probably being the Boulder College of Massage in CO.
For-profit education is a phrase that really has become a convention for referring to large accredited corporate chain schools that depend on US taxpayer guaranteed loans and grants for the majority of their income . Many of these schools receive 80-90% of their revenues in the form of taxpayer funded checks.
Recently these schools faced very weak new regulation meant to protect the public and students from predatory recruiting and other deceptive sales tactics. The schools mounted one of the largest most expensive lobbying campaigns in history targeting Republican lawmakers, who rushed to do their corporate overlords bidding, and watered down already weak regulations which protect students and taxpayers.
It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. These student loans cannot be discharged, and as the interest compounds, many peoples financial lives have been ruined, and they are left with nothing but useless degrees or certificates, or worse if they couldn't finish their program.
It's also interesting to note that according to my contacts in the Massachusetts DOE, there are many more problems arising from accredited schools ripping off the public, than from small non-accredited independent schools.
(Full disclosure- I direct 2 independent non-accredited massage schools in Massachusetts. Our students currently pay $4,600 for a comprehensive 800 hour program in massage therapy. We are also proud to be able to offer our own 0% interest payment plan. www.TheMassageSchool.org )