Massage Therapist

Most massage therapists enter the profession because of their interest in helping others and in entering the healthcare field. You would improve the health and well-being of individuals by administering massage techniques for relaxation, to relieve aches and pains, and to help reduce stress. Massage therapists may work in a variety of settings and may receive physician referrals to complement traditional medical treatment for illness, injury, and pain.

Massage therapists generally work one-on-one with clients in a quiet setting. They may see as few as one or two clients a day in private practice to as many as 10 or more in a health club or spa. Sessions may range from 15 minutes to two hours in length, depending on the purpose of the massage. Massage therapists may work in a variety of settings, including medical and chiropractic offices or clinics, hospitals or wellness centers, health clubs, fitness centers, spas, resorts, and beauty salons.

Local Salaries

Earnings vary with work situation, size of clientele, and experience. In Illinois the Median annual wage is $33, 978. Self-employed therapists charge $25-$50 per hour. More than two-thirds of all massage therapists are self-employed. Some work as contract employees for health practictioners or fitness clubs and earn 40-80% of the massage fees charges. Many work on a part-time basis.

Admissions to the Program

  • High school graduate or equivalent.
  • Completion of TM 100 with a grade of “S”.
  • Completion of BIOL 140 with a grade of “C” or better

Requirements upon Program Acceptance

  • Drug screen, fingerprint criminal background check, physical exam, and immunizations.
  • Documentation of current CPR certification from the American Heart Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider (HLTH 041 at ICC or equivalent) or American Red Cross (ARC) Professional Rescuer and Health Care Provider. CPR certification must remain current throughout the program.

Career Pathway

Pathway programs at ICC have a map that shows the courses/degree requirements that will lead students to their desired education and employment goals.

Career Cluster: Health Sciences
Pathway: Therapeutic Services
ICC Pathway: Massage Therapy

Early College

If you are a high school junior or senior, you can get a head start on your future by taking college-level courses now! Visit our Dual Credit webpage for a listing of area high schools with courses available

First Aid (HLTH 120) | Human Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 140) | Introduction to Health Careers (ICC 104) | Introduction to Psychology (PSY 110) | Medical Terminology (HLTH 121)

Point of Entry

High School Diploma or GED

Getting Started: Apply to ICC | Apply to Health Careers | Paying for College | Career Information: Massage Therapist | Student Information

Certificate of Completion

Massage Therapist (32 credit hours)

Industry Credentials


Employment Information

Massage Therapist $18-19/hr


An Associate in General Studies Degree allows students to combine a broad range of academic courses to suit their specific needs. While it is not designed as a transfer degree, some coursework may fulfill Illinois Articulation Initiative general requirements or transfer to a 4-year institutions. Students who choose this option should work closely with their advisors to determine whether this option meets current and/or future needs.

Essential Skills and Abilities

A massage therapist must possess capabilities and abilities, including: communication, motor, sensory, problem solving, behavioral skills and professionalism, which are necessary to provide competent, evidence-based care. Reasonable accommodations may be made for some disabilities, in certain areas, but a massage therapist must be able to perform in all areas, in an independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable, as a massage therapist’s judgment cannot be mediated by someone else’s observation and action. The following capabilities and abilities are necessary to meet curriculum requirements and to perform the responsibilities of a massage therapist:

A. Communication

  • Adequate command of English language and medical terminology, in order to read and retrieve information from lectures, textbooks and other teaching and learning resources
  • Communicate effectively in English with clients, families, and other health care providers, both verbally and in writing
  • Effectively adapt communication for intended diverse needs of audience
  • Interact to establish rapport with diverse population
  • Perform verbal individualized instruction
  • Demonstrate computer literacy skills

B. Motor

  • Squat, crawl, bend/stoop, reach above shoulder level, use standing balance, and climb stairs
  • Lift and carry up to 50 lbs., and exert up to 100 lbs. force or push/pull
  • Use hands repetitively; use manual dexterity; sufficient fine motor function
  • Must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time
  • Move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
  • Perform instruction by manual demonstration, if applicable
  • Perform CPR
  • Travel to and from academic and clinical sites

C. Sensory

  • Auditory ability sufficient to hear verbal communication from clients and members of the health team; includes ability to respond to emergency signals
  • Visual acuity to acquire information from electronic medical record or written documents
  • Elicit information from clients by palpation and posture analysis
  • Comfortable working in close physical proximity to client

D. Critical Thinking

  • Address problems or questions to the appropriate persons at the appropriate times
  • Adhere to policies and procedures; including, but not limited to safety and infection control
  • Use sound judgment in decision making
  • Function effectively under stress
  • Adapt to changing environment and inherent uncertainties
  • Respond appropriately to emergencies
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills in client care (Measure, calculate, reason, prioritize, analyze and synthesize data)
  • Organize and prioritize client care needs and job responsibilities

E. Behavioral Skills and Professionalism

  • Adheres to policies and procedures required by academic and clinical settings
  • Maintains client confidentiality and abides by the guidelines set forth in the Health Information Portability and Accountability Ac.
  • Assume the role of a health care team member
  • Function effectively under supervision
  • Accepts criticism and reflects upon provided feedback to improve performance and practice
  • Displays caring and compassion for others
  • Commits to lifelong learning