Online medical massage or massage therapy programs are available from community colleges and private career schools. Many programs are offered in a hybrid format that combines online and on-site training, such as an internship. Medical massage programs typically lead to either a two-year Associate in Science degree or a certificate, which typically takes under a year to complete.
Admission eligibility into a distance learning training program in this field typically requires a high school diploma or GED. Some schools may require applicants to submit recommendation letters and documentation regarding their health status. Criminal background checks could be required as well.
Learning & Coursework
Distance learning students complete assignments online, which are usually accessed through Blackboard or a similar program. This setup allows them to access notes, lectures and videos. They can also interact with classmates and instructors using message boards or class chat rooms. Typically, students take tests online, through a secure format, or visit a testing center approved by the college.
Since medical massage courses are highly interactive and hands-on, most programs require that students are available for the class, taken virtually, at a scheduled time. This allows instructors to correct students positioning and make sure their movements are correct. Labs in particular are completed online, using a webcam so professors and students can see each other. Professors can then address any students' concerns or questions. Lectures are also recorded, so students can refer back to the information anytime throughout the course.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Western and Eastern Massage Therapies
- Somatic Studies
- Deep Tissue and Sports Massaging
- Massage Therapy Business
Massage therapy is obviously a hands-on practice, so many schools require or provide the opportunity to complete an internship at an approved facility. In some cases, distance learners may be able to obtain required practice hours by offering their services through schools' free clinics. Career schools might offer all of the coursework online, but give students the option to come to a prearranged location to do hands-on work.
Students who earn an online degree in medical massage science can relieve the muscles and tension of the elderly, pregnant women, athletes and others. As a result, they can find careers working as a massage therapist or a masseuse in places such as the following:
- Salons or spas
- Health clubs
- Nursing homes
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is expected to grow much faster than average at a rate of 22% in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov).
By utilizing modern technology, such as real-time videoconferencing, online training programs in medical massage science make it possible for trainees to complete classwork and labs from remote locations. After taking the necessary courses for an associate's degree or certificate, students can complete a real-world internship before starting to work as a masseuse.