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Massage Therapy

Curriculum code 1249

Course Requirements Gainful Employment Information

The Massage Therapy Certificate Program at Moraine Valley Community College trains students in the intentional and systematic manipulation of the soft tissue of the body. Skills included are the ability to facilitate relaxation, assist in rehabilitation and contribute to overall physical and emotional well being. The program will instill a code of professional ethics coupled with a foundation of business skills. Additionally, Moraine Valley offers a supervised student clinic that is open to the public and gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of people. This program is intended to lead to employment. Upon completion of the Massage Therapy Program, graduates will be eligible to take the national certification exam.

Nature of Work—Massage therapists manipulate the soft tissues of the body including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints to relax or reduce pain in clients. Being a successful massage therapist requires more than just a way with hands. This occupation also requires several other skills, among them, a soothing and reassuring manner with clients and the ability to adhere to a high standard of confidentiality and professional ethics. Massage therapists must have a lot of business sense, since those who are self-employed must attract and maintain a client base. In addition, massage therapy is strenuous, requiring long hours of standing and well as the physical strength to  perform one massage after another.

Related Job Titles—The possibilities for practicing massage therapy are limited only by your imagination. As a massage therapist you may work in chiropractic offices, physical therapy clinics, health spas or beauty salons. To minimize overhead, you may prefer to work out of your home, do house calls with a portable massage table, or on site massage at businesses with a massage chair. You may choose to work part time, using your practice to supplement income from a full-time job, or to help yourself through college. It is also possible to open your own office.

The massage therapy industry provides employment fulltime, part-time and entrepreneurial. Many massage therapists work in conjunction with doctors and other health care professionals in hospitals and clinical settings to help the ill and injured recuperate. Others work in beauty spa environments where they also perform other duties, such as body wraps. Massage therapists can work with professional athletes, with the disabled, or even with animals.

Employment Outlook—Employment is expected to increase by 20% from 2010-2020, faster than average period as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy. Massage therapists held about 122,400 jobs in 2008. About two-thirds were self-employed. Of those self-employed, most owned their own business, and the rest worked as independent contractors. Others found employment in salons and spas; the offices of physicians and chiropractors; fitness and recreational sports centers; and hotels. About three-quarters of all massage therapists worked part-time or had variable schedules, although as mentioned earlier many massage therapists who work 15 to 30 hours per week consider themselves to be full-time workers.

In states that regulate massage therapy, therapists who complete formal training programs and pass the licensure exam are likely to have very good job opportunities. Because referrals are a very important source of work for massage therapists, networking will increase the number of job opportunities.

Median hourly earnings in 2010 were $34,900 including gratuities. Middle 50 percent earned between $11.36- $25.14. Lowest 10% earned less than $17,970 and highest 10% earned more than $69,000. Generally massage therapists earn some portion of their income in gratuities. Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor—Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-2011 www.bls.gov/oco (massage therapy).

For job and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, at (708) 974-5737, www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

Gainful Employment Information—The college provides information about the number of semesters and expected costs to complete this program, as well as the current job outlook. Visit morainevalley.edu/programs/employment.htm. 

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