Why Become a Massage Therapist?
As more people are taking charge of their wellness, massage is becoming more popular in maintaining health and wellbeing, and it is also playing a vital role in sports medicine, injury rehabilitation and posture correction. Research has shown that regular massages can have a positive effect on building the immune system, reducing blood pressure and pain and improving sleep patterns. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for massage therapists will grow 20% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations.
CCAC's program is the only associate of science degree offered in massage therapy in Pennsylvania, and it has a strong focus on orthopedic assessment and massage techniques to help with pain. The program is designed for individuals who are interested in promoting health and wellness and who enjoy using their skills to help others. Students are prepared for careers as professional massage therapists with proficiency in designing and implementing client-specific massage therapy approaches. Graduates of CCAC's degree program learn advanced soft tissue interventions for clinical and spa environments along with business skills, such as marketing, advertising, entrepreneurship and small business management. The certificate program is designed to provide entry-level skills for students seeking practice as licensed massage therapists.
Graduates are eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Upon passing the exam, graduates are eligible to apply for licensure as a massage therapist in Pennsylvania with opportunities as independent contractors or employment in a variety of health-related settings, including pain management clinics, wellness retreat centers, hospice facilities, orthopedic centers, and physical therapy and chiropractic offices. Licensed therapists may also work in athletic clubs, resorts, spas, yoga centers, dance studios and on cruise ships or choose to start their own business.
Middle States Accreditation
In addition to the accreditation by ACEN, CCAC's Massage Therapist program is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Last Reaffirmation: 2018
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2025-2026
Massage Therapist, A.S. (443.3)
This program is designed to prepare students for a career in professional massage therapy. Students complete the Massage Therapist certificate coursework en route to completing the associate degree requirements. Graduates of the comprehensive associate of science degree program are eligible to apply for licensure as a massage therapist in Pennsylvania. Completion of the degree program prepares students to be proficient at communicating effectively with clients, families and other healthcare practitioners, assessing client needs, as well as designing and implementing evidence-based, client-specific massage therapy approaches.
Massage Therapist, Certificate (403.3)
This program is designed to prepare entry-level skills for students seeking practice as licensed massage therapists. Graduates complete a course of study that meets or exceeds 600 clock hours of curriculum content. Completion of the program qualifies graduates to apply for a license as a massage therapist in Pennsylvania. Students with previous coursework in healthcare and sciences have the option to complete the certificate in accelerated format by demonstrating proficiency in prior coursework.
Take the Next Step
Applications for the Massage Therapist program are accepted on a rolling basis until full. The program begins during the fall term. For more information, contact program director Kevin Anderson at [email protected] or 724.325.6815.
- Apply to the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
- Take the CCAC Placement Test
- Applicants who have college-level credits from other institutions must submit OFFICIAL transcripts to [email protected].
- Applicants MUST include an UNOFFICIAL transcript and copy of your transcript evaluation summary with your Allied Health application.
- Meet with an Academic Advisor
- Applicants for the Massage Therapist programs must meet the following requirements:
- CCAC cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above for all college level courses
- Completion of all Developmental courses as required by College Placement Test results (ENG 090 Fundamentals College Writing, ENG101L Basic Principles Composition1/Tutorial Writing), and MAT 080 Arithmetic Fundamentals and the (DVS) Developmental Studies Series.
- Students must be eligible for ENG 101 English Composition 1/ENG 101L English Composition 1/Tutorial Writing and MAT 195 Business Mathematics.
- Students who have enrolled in the same developmental course more than three (3) times will not be considered for acceptance in an Allied Health program.
- Students who have enrolled in the same science course more than three (3) times will not be considered for acceptance. A "W" or "I" grade also count as an enrollment.
- Submit application to the Massage Therapist Program using the online Allied Health application
Applicants will also be required to submit:
- Evidence of original Act 33 and 34 Clearances (Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and PA State Police Criminal Record Check)
- A signed and dated Essential Functions Form
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These requirements apply to Massage Therapist Associate Degree 443.3 and Massage Therapist Certificate 403.3.
In order to meet the program competencies and for successful completion of the objectives for each Massage Therapist course, a student must be able to:
- Demonstrate tactile ability sufficient to assess a client's muscle tonicity, as well as changes in a client's physiological status (i.e. changes in skin temperature, edema, etc.);
- Smell odors that indicate changes in physiological status of the client or unsafe environmental conditions;
- Read and cognitively comprehend written course materials, patient care documents and health care institution policies and procedures;
- Write utilizing a legible and concise documentation style, (SOAP Notes) which is readable and in the English language;
- Move freely to observe and assess client and perform emergency client care: this includes having full manual dexterity of the upper extremities, including neck and shoulders and unrestricted movement of both lower extremities, back and hips in order to assist in all aspects of client care and the ability to touch the floor to remove environment hazards;
- Demonstrate cognitive learning in relation to new procedures through clinical application. Interpret physician orders accurately through verbal and written communication and carry through with appropriate psychomotor clinical application.
- Visually observe changes in patient's status, as well as unsafe environmental condition. Visual Acuity must process a) near clarity of vision at 20 inches or less, and b) far clarity of vision at 20 feet or more;
- Hear sounds of spoken verbal communication, as well as sounds that indicate changes in the patient's physiological condition (i.e. breath sounds, slurred speech);
- Speak to clients and members of the health team utilizing effective verbal communication skills.
If a student should present with any physical, cognitive or behavioral limitation, each case will be reviewed on an individual basis. Reasonable accommodations will be made if possible.
Massage Therapist students must be able to meet the following physical and mental requirements to perform essential functions of a massage therapist student:
- Demonstrate manual dexterity and adeptness using the hands to massage.
- Lift, handle and carry massage therapy equipment, including table, chair which weigh up to 50 pounds.
- Assist with transfer and skillful positioning of clients who may weigh up to 300 pounds or more.
- Give and receive clear verbal communication to and from client.
- Must be sight corrected, so as to be able to observe client from a distance of up to 20 feet.
- Hearing must be corrected, so as to be able to hear the client at a distance of up to 10 feet.
- Must not be chemically dependent.
- Must react rapidly and appropriately in emergency situations.
- Be poised, neat and well groomed, tactful, diplomatic, discreet, flexible, versatile, ethical, professional, reliable and dependable.
- Be able to understand and follow verbal and written instructions completely in academic setting and in routine and emergency clinical health care setting.
- Demonstrate the capacity for calm and reasoned judgment in a health care environment.
- Be free from health or medical disorders (physical or mental) that limit the ability to completely and efficiently perform the duties of a student massage therapist.
- Be emotionally stable because work is physically strenuous and emotional.
- Demonstrate integrity and honesty in all matters.