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Massage Therapy/Therapeutic Massage

Program Description

Just the Facts

Massage Therapy/Therapeutic Massage. A program that prepares individuals to provide relief and improved health and well-being to clients through the application of manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles, and connective tissues. Includes instruction in Western (Swedish) massage, sports massage, myotherapy/trigger point massage, myofascial release, deep tissue massage, cranio-sacral therapy, reflexology, massage safety and emergency management, client counseling, practice management, applicable regulations, and professional standards and ethics.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate

High School Courses

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Related Programs

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Additional Information

Massage therapy programs teach students to heal with their hands.

The field is usually not regulated, so there are a lot of disreputable schools out there. Make sure a school is on the up and up. First, check if the school is approved by an accrediting organization such as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

Students should also be aware that a license earned in one state does not guarantee licensure in another. Check the requirements of the state in which you want to practice.

"Students should look for the number of years a school has been in business, the success the school has on the board examinations and the percentage of graduates that are working," advises Brad McCutcheon, a former massage therapy instructor.

Margaret Avery Moon, owner of the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in Arizona, says students should look for schools that hold a state license. She adds that you may even want to consider a two-year or four-year degree in massage.

"Stay away from apprenticeship programs -- they tend to be illegal operations and therefore not preparing you for licensure," she warns. "Stay away from 'cheap' schools. Plan to spend quite a bit on your training."

Moon says most people don't get into this training right out of high school. "A high school student who is thinking about massage may want to wait until he or she has finished a few years of working in other jobs," she says.

That said, there are high school courses that will help, says McCutcheon. He recommends biology, interpersonal communications and art. "Massage is a science and an art, and communication is of utmost importance when dealing with patients," he explains.

Laurie Levy, an instructor at Brenneke School of Massage in Seattle, believes helpful courses include biology, business, marketing, communications, psychology or social studies.

Moon emphasizes the importance of physical fitness. "The physical aspect of doing massage can be tough," she says.

You should also experience a massage yourself. "Receiving professional massage is probably the most important step in preparing for training. It is vital for a student to understand what it is like to be a client," Levy says.

Besides tuition and books, you'll need to pay for uniforms. "Students [may] need to purchase a massage table, supplies [sheets, oils, lotion] and professional massages for themselves," Levy says.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Massage Therapy Education and Requirements Listed by State
Find out what you need to do

Global Directory of Massage Therapy Schools
From Massage Therapy Web Central


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