Massage Therapy Certificate: Program Overview

In massage therapy certificate programs, students learn to manipulate muscles of the body for relaxation. Students in this program receive extensive hands-on training and study topics like medical law, ethics, human relations, medical terminology and more.

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Essential Information

In massage therapy certificate programs, students learn to manipulate muscles, skin, tendons and fascia. Part of the program involves hands-on training that is supervised by instructors. These programs are usually offered through a community college, university or vocational institute and may be completed in a year or less. A high school diploma or general educational development (GED) equivalency diploma is typically required for entry into these programs.

Certificate in Massage Therapy

Coursework in a massage therapy certificate program consists of 32-43 credits and is designed to be completed in 2-3 semesters. Emphasis is often placed on business practices and professional ethics, as most massage therapists work independently. Students also learn about anatomy, physiology, pathology and myology and how they relate to a client. Topics include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Myology for massage therapists
  • Pharmacology
  • Practice lab
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Pathophysiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Massage therapists find employment in resorts, health spas, rehabilitation centers and private practices. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for massage therapists will grow by 22% in the 2014-2024 reporting decade ( The median annual wage for massage therapists was $38,040 in May 2015. The BLS reports that entry-level massage therapists usually work for organizations and businesses while building a client base of their own.

Continuing Education

Massage therapists may wish to take specialized courses that are approved by approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) to increase skill levels and learn new techniques. Some of the continuing classes offered are hot stone massage, cold stone techniques, gross anatomy, oncology patient massage, prenatal massage and cervical spine massage.

In as little as a year or less, you can earn a certificate to begin a career as a massage therapist. The field, which is estimated to have steady growth over the next decade, offers work in a variety of settings. Beyond the initial certificate, there are opportunities for continued education to learn other massage techniques and improve employment prospects.

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