Admissions Qualifications – Massage Therapy

All students must meet both our academic standards and our technical standards in order to be admitted, progress through, and graduate from the Massage Therapy program.

Academic standards

Academic standards refer to acceptable demonstrations of competency in various disciplines, before admission and after, as judged by faculty members, examinations, and other measurements of performance.

For detailed information about academic standards, refer to the University Student Handbook.

Technical standards

A student must possess the following abilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, for completion of the professional certificate program and AAS degree in massage therapy:

  • Ability to apply massage and adjunctive techniques over the full range of a client’s body, including positioning clients, palpating, feeling with hands and fingers, pushing, pulling, kneading, grasping, twisting wrists and lifting up to 10 pounds, for periods of up to 90 minutes without interruption.
  • Ability to determine depth and intensity of manual pressure and force, as applied in the performance of common massage and adjunctive procedures and techniques.
  • Ability to see and hear, with or without reasonable accommodation, sufficient that the student can receive and record client histories, document treatment plans, provide instructions to clients and provide routine client safety services.
  • Ability to perform in all laboratory and clinical settings without posing a threat to herself/himself, to the safety and well-being of fellow students or clients.
  • Ability and willingness to receive massage and adjunctive treatment. Much of the technical instruction in the programs requires reciprocal application of the techniques of massage therapy, including trigger point therapy and cross fiber friction. In reciprocal laboratory experiences, receiving techniques is necessary in order to learn proper procedures and to receive and provide learning feedback. Reciprocal application of technique is also useful for developing sensitivity to client needs. The school may temporarily excuse a student from receiving massage therapy provided that there is a specific medical contraindication, as determined in writing by a licensed healthcare professional.

All students, with or without reasonable accommodation, must carry out laboratory and clinical assignments, including providing massage therapy services to clients. Qualified persons with disabilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, must be able to pass oral, written and practical examinations and meet all of the clinical requirements of the University.

It is in the best interests of both the student and Northwestern to assess the degree of limitation caused by disability. However, Northwestern will make the final determination of whether or not an individual meets all qualifications for study at the university. Northwestern’s accommodations process is found under Disability Services for Prospective Students. Questions regarding qualifications or accommodations should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs.

Misdemeanor and felony convictions
Persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor of a violent or sexual nature or any felony will be prohibited from professional healthcare practice in many jurisdictions. Northwestern Health Sciences University will deny admission to applicants with such convictions. The University therefore reserves the right to conduct a criminal background check on all applicants or on any enrolled student, at any time, in the program.