Unlock the potential of your career with our Massage Therapy Program at Moraine Valley. Enhance your skills in the wellness and healthcare industries with a comprehensive education that can be completed in just one year. Our program offers a significantly lower cost compared to private schools in Chicago, making it an affordable option to achieve your goals without breaking the bank.

Our classes are conducted in a contemporary, technology-enabled classroom. The 2,600-square-foot multi-purpose room features a central lecture area and 10 semi-private studios. Two studios are equipped with hydraulic tables to accommodate individuals with special needs, ensuring an inclusive learning environment.

The curriculum provides a strong foundation in both the art and science of massage therapy. You'll dive deep into anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, and also explore wellness and leadership principles to become a well-rounded professional. This education will equip you with the skills needed to excel in various settings, from spas to rehabilitation centers.

Whether you're a personal trainer, occupational therapist, or physical therapist, adding massage therapy to your skill set can set you apart from the competition. Integrating sports massage into your offerings can enhance client satisfaction and open up new revenue streams. For those in occupational and physical therapy, massage therapy can support your existing efforts and provide comprehensive care to your clients.

Our classes are taught by licensed massage therapists who bring their specialized expertise to the program. They are dedicated to providing excellence in massage therapy training and education, ensuring you receive top-quality instruction. Beyond technical skills, our program emphasizes the importance of interpersonal communication, poise, and professionalism. You'll learn how to maintain established safety and sanitation standards, which are crucial in building trust with your clients.

Take the next step in your career with Moraine Valley's Massage Therapy Program. Gain the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a growing field and expand your professional opportunities. Contact us today to learn more and start your journey toward becoming a certified massage therapist.

Program Cost Comparison

Moraine Valley
New School of Massage Therapy ( Tinley Park )
Universal Spa Training Academy

Note: These costs are for tuition and mandatory fees. In some cases, fees and other expenses are additional. Based on the most recently reported rates. Source: collegeboard.org

The Therapeutic Massage Program trains entry-level massage therapists 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 to contribute to the client's overall physical and emotional well-being.

Additionally, the program instills the code of professional ethics coupled with a foundation of business management skills. Program students are prepared and eligible to sit for the exam to obtain Illinois licensure.

Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 20% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new openings for massage therapists.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

In order to comply with certain state statutes and/or clinical affiliation agreements, students will be asked to complete a criminal background check. Application forms for criminal background checks may be obtained through the Career Programs Subdivision Office, B150, and fees paid to the Cashier's Office. For information on criminal background application procedures, please contact the Career Programs Subdivision Office at (708) 974-5708. Satisfactory results of a completed criminal background check must be supplied to the program coordinator the first week a student is enrolled in MAS-110.

What opportunities exist in therapeutic massage?
The possibilities for practicing therapeutic massage are limited only by your imagination. As a 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 also is possible to open your own office.

Do I need to have strong hands to be a massage therapist?
No. Proper body mechanics are emphasized so that you will be using your body weight more than your hand strength. The body mechanics you learn will be helpful in many other activities. You will be able to work without tiring yourself.

What about licensing?
Most states require formal training and successful completion of a post-graduation certification examination for entry into the field. Since January 2005, all massage therapists in Illinois are required to be licensed. Moraine Valley's Therapeutic Massage Program exceeds the licensing requirements and will prepare graduates for the exam.

How much is the tuition for the massage therapy program?
See Moraine Valley's current tuition rate, plus fee and books.

Do you have a student clinic?
Yes, our students gain valuable experience working on clients right here at the college under the supervision of a faculty member. To make an appointment, please phone (708) 608-4460. The days and hours of the student clinic are updated and announced on the answering machine. The fee is $20 for a 50-minute massage. You may pay by check or cash (no credit cards) on the day of your appointment.

How large are the Therapeutic Massage classes?
The program complies with the Massage Licensing Act, Sec. 1284.20-8. "The ratio of students to faculty in the lab/clinical/community area shall not exceed 20 students to 1 instructor with no more than 10 student therapists and 10 serving as clients."

What is the difference between clock hours and credit hours?
The Moraine Valley catalog describes how to interpret the course descriptions included in the catalog. Each course has credit hours and contact hours listed. Credit hours are how your tuition is determined. Contact hours determine how much instructional time is spent in the classroom. One contact hour is based on a 50 minute hour so every contact hour listed in the catalog equals 800 minutes of instruction.

How long is the Therapeutic Massage program?
It depends on the student. If a student enters our program with all their prerequisites, it would be possible to finish in three semesters.

What is it like working in the field?
Riding a general trend toward preventive health care and stress reduction, massage therapy has become one of the country's fastest-growing occupations. In fact, massage therapists work in a variety of settings, including chiropractic offices to health clubs and luxury spas, to corporations and stand-alone private offices. 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 airports, malls, and cruise ships. Massage therapists also work with professional athletes, with the disabled, or even with animals. The possibilities are endless!

While massage treatments are not covered under most health care plans, a growing number of health maintenance organizations are beginning to cover such services as the benefits of massage in managing conditions such as lower back pain, bursitis and arthritis have become clearer. Research has proven that massage therapy can be an effective treatment for easing migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, reducing anxiety, and alleviating the side effects of cancer treatments. To help regulate this boom in the massage world, at least 38 states and the District of Columbia now regulate and license massage therapists who demonstrate competency by challenging a national certification exam.

This occupation requires a complex set of skills-among them, superior technical skills, 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 as well as the physical strength to perform one massage after another. If they aren't careful, it can be all too easy for massage therapists themselves to become injured and in need of a massage.

Specific tasks include:

  • Performing various types of massage techniques such as petrissage, effleurage, tapotement, compression, vibration or friction to the muscular structure or soft tissues of the human body
  • Applying oils, lotions, powders or other lubricants to clients' bodies to aid in various massage techniques
  • Applying non-forceful passive or active movement to affect the energetic systems of the body and movement re-education
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Finding new clients, marketing

What are some areas of specialization?
A therapist may specialize in a certain type of therapeutic massage or in treating certain types of problems. In general, the profession seems to break down into two broad categories: "medical" massages which include sports, orthopedic, isolated stretching and neuromuscular massages and "energy" massages, which include techniques such as Reiki, therapeutic touch and polarity.
The American Massage Therapy Association Fact Sheet reports that massage therapists provide the following types of massages and the frequency of each:

  • 84% of massage therapists provide Swedish massage
  • 77% of massage therapists provide deep tissue massage
  • 49% of massage therapists provide trigger point massage
  • 45% of massage therapists provide sports massage

Therapists receive advanced training to work with special population groups, including, pregnant women, geriatric, chronically ill, trauma survivors, and physically challenged.

How does one advance their career in the field?
The first step in advancing in the therapeutic massage field is to obtain state licensure. Illinois requires massage graduates to successfully challenge the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEX). Illinois law requires 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Does Moraine Valley offer continuing education for massage therapists?
Yes, continuing education is offered through the college's Corporate, Community and Continuing Education Subdivision. For current programming information, Community and Continuing Education (CCCE) at (708) 974-5735 or ccce@morainevalley.edu.

What essential functions are needed for massage therapy?

  • Manual dexterity and coordination
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Ability to work standing for at least two hours at a time
  • Working well with clients
  • Listening carefully to what someone else is saying
  • Business sense
  • Ethical behavior
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Interacting appropriately with clients, peers, instructors, and physicians
  • A calm, reassuring and professional manner

Where do massage therapists work?
Massage therapists have traditionally been self-employed, but they are increasingly finding employment in spas, athletic clubs, medical clinics, chiropractor's offices, resorts, and cruise ships. Even many beauty salons are now hiring therapists to work in "day spas." However, those who work for someone else often maintain their own businesses on a part-time basis.

What is the job outlook?
An increasing concern for total health and wellness coupled with an expanding public interest in alternative therapies has spurred significant growth in the field. Contributing to this growth is the fact that many insurance companies are integrating massage therapy into their coverage. Nonetheless, this career is now becoming very competitive, because so many people are interested in becoming massage therapists. People entering the therapeutic massage field now need very good skills and techniques as well as superior business and marketing skills in order to develop clientele and a successful business.

Will I need to complete a criminal background check for the Therapeutic Massage program?
Yes, in order to comply with certain state statutes, students will be asked to successfully complete a criminal background check. Application forms for criminal background checks may be obtained through the Career Programs Subdivision Office, B150, and fees paid to the Cashier's Office. For information on criminal background application procedures, please contact the Career Programs Subdivision Office at (708) 974-5708. A satisfactorily completed criminal background check is due the first week of classes when a student is enrolled in MAS-110.


Get to know the many talented instructors at Moraine Valley. 

Massage Therapy, Class Demonstrations, December 2022

Kathy Wellman

Program Coordinator

"My instructors and I have a lot of different specialties in massage, such as manual lymphatic drainage, pre-natal massage, myofascial release, Shiatsu, Tai massage and acupressure. We infuse these into our program so that the students get both a Western and an Eastern approach to massage therapy."

Visit the Student Massage Clinic

Moraine Valley students gain valuable experience working on clients right here at the college under the supervision of a faculty member. The fee is $30 for a 50-minute massage. You may pay by check or cash only on the day of your massage.

Student Massage Clinic

50 minute Swedish massage
Location: Building B, Room 161
Hours: By appointment only
View and Sign Client Policies

Spring 2024 Hours
*Until May 5, 2024 or until filled*
Monday: 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

  • Appointments are subject to availability and our clinic policies
  • $30 cash or check only ($20 for students with Moraine Valley Student ID)

Program Details

Program NameType of CredentialCurriculum CodeDepartment or Division
Therapeutic MassageCertificate1249Health Sciences


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Konnor Parrish (Oak Lawn), shared his educational journey while on a panel for the Illinois Project Lead the Way meeting.


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