Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Massage Therapy Degree Overview

Students enrolled in Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy programs gain hands-on experience as well as classroom instruction about the human body. Learn about employment projections and salary information.

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Essential Information

In an Associate's in Applied Science in Massage Therapy program, numerous styles of massage may be introduced, including deep-tissue, sports, Swedish, hot-stone, Thai and prenatal. Graduates of these programs are typically prepared for state licensure. This degree program is often found at community colleges, career-training schools and other 2-year institutions. To be admitted into the program, students must have a high school diploma or GED.

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Associate's Degree in Applied Science in Massage Therapy

The curriculum for this program generally contains lectures, lab work and practical experience. In addition to the various types of massage techniques, courses cover business aspects such as massage law and medical ethics. Students partake in externships held either on-campus or through a local business. Common courses include:

  • Kinesiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Massage practicum
  • Massage business principles
  • Techniques in massage therapy

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), potential employment of massage therapists was expected to increase by 22% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth was anticipated due to the amount of people discovering massage therapy's benefits. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary of massage therapists was $38,040.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates of associate's degree programs can seek immediate employment or they can pursue a bachelor's degree within a specific area of massage. Some bachelor's degree programs available include Asian bodywork or Asian holistic health.

The BLS noted that as of 2011, there were 43 states that featured laws regulating massage therapists. Each state has its own requirements, but AAS programs commonly include coursework that prepares students for licensing or certification. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) offers a national certification exam, and applicants must have finished at least 500 hours of instruction and demonstrated a keen knowledge of core aptitudes before sitting for the NCBTMB exam (www.ncbtmb.org). Recertification must occur every four years, and applicants must have completed 48 hours of continuing education courses and 200 hours of work experience.

An associate's degree program in massage therapy focuses on massage techniques and business courses. Graduates of this program can expect an increase in employment growth.

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