Massage Therapy


Admission Requirements and Curriculum
Program Application

Therapeutic massage is an ancient healing art, recognized as an important modality in the holistic treatment of the body.  As a growing profession, therapeutic massage provides ongoing wellness and stress reduction for healthy individuals and enhances the healing of individuals with neuromuscular dysfunction.  Massage therapists employ more than 80 different types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, neuromuscular, sports massage, reflexology, acupressure, and myofascial.  This hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body is enhanced through the use of aromatherapy, heat and cold therapies, stretching, stones, and other modalities.

Massage therapists are usually self-employed, providing relaxation services to local salons, spas, hotels, fitness centers, or therapeutic massage intervention in physical therapy, chiropractic or medical offices and clinics.  Massage therapists also provide appointment-based services to a private client base through their own clinic or in the client’s home or business.  Due to the physical demands of the job, most massage therapists work part-time.  Full time employment for a massage therapist is most often found in large metropolitan areas or vacation / resort areas.  Outside of those venues, full-time employment can be limited, particularly in rural areas.  However, licensure as a massage therapist is extremely appealing to health care providers such as physical therapist assistants, occupational therapy assistants, nurses or others who are currently employed in the health care arena and seeking to expand their skill set.  Data available through the 59,000 members of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals indicates that 51% of massage therapists are employed at least 25 hours per week in another job with medical professions listed as one of the top 5 other employment areas.

The Therapeutic Massage Program is a short-term certificate program. Two consecutive semesters are necessary to complete the program, which begins in the fall semester each year. The program is designed to allow healthcare professionals to continue working while completing this program.  However, the program is also open to the general public.  The two semesters combine classroom theory and labs with hands-on clinical massage experiences in our campus facilities.

Prior to accepting its first class, the Therapeutic Massage Program will be approved by the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy.  Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to apply to sit for the national certification exam, administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. After successful completion of this exam, the individual can be licensed as a massage therapist.

Student admissions for the Therapeutic Massage Program are made on an annual basis. Enrollment is limited.  All qualified applicants are admitted on a first come, first admitted, space available basis.  Once the program is filled, additional qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list for future admission. Applications are accepted from 8:00 a.m. on June 15 through 10:00 a.m. on the last Friday in July.  Applications will not be accepted before June 15 and applications received after the July deadline will only be accepted and considered on a space available basis.

Therapeutic massage is open to individuals directly out of high school provided that they will be at least 18 years of age upon program completion.  Individuals should possess strong communication skills, be self-motivated, and have a strongly sense of empathy.  Building trusting, professional relationships is essential for maintaining and expanding one’s client base.  Therapeutic massage is also ideally suited to individuals currently employed in health care who are seeking to add another skill set.  Upon completion of the Therapeutic Massage Program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national examination, achieving licensure and therefore employability throughout much of the United States.  Due to the diversity of massage techniques employed, massage therapists can advance their skills through professional continuing education workshops.

The US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook anticipates that massage therapy positions will increase faster than average, growing by 20% in 2006-2016 and that the long-term demand will continue to rise, particularly among those seeking part-time employment. According to data available through the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals website, Alabama ranks last in concentration of massage therapists with only 1 massage therapist for every 3,876 residents. Median annual earnings of massage therapists were $35,970 in May 2012, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,140. Generally 15-20 percent of their income is earned as gratuities, although tipping is not common in the hospital or clinical setting. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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Babs Herfurth, Massage Therapy