Massage Therapy School Admission Requirements

Certificate in Massage Therapy/Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy (A.A.S.) – admission requirements include:

  • High school diploma or a General Educational Development diploma (GED)*
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better
  • Pass a criminal background check – 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.
  • Meet all additional qualifications, listed below
  • Complete an admission application

Additional qualifications

These academic and technical qualifications assist you in progressing through the curriculum and clinical training in a massage therapy program. 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.

*As a replacement for a high school diploma or GED, 60 semester credit hours completed within a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education will meet admission requirements. Official college transcripts are required for all college and university coursework.

Technical standards

A student must possess the following abilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, for completion of the professional certificate and degree programs 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 standing 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.
  • With or without reasonable accommodation, ability to 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 themselves, 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 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 College 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.
  • Navigate various learning spaces (in person, online, hybrid, hyflex) successfully including the use of any associated technology and applications (computer, learning management system, email, etc.).

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 the University to assess the degree of limitation caused by disability. However, the University will make the final determination of whether or not an individual meets all qualifications for study at the University.

The University accommodations process is found under “Student Life.” Additionally, questions regarding qualifications or accommodations should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs.

Note to applicant: Admission is competitive and enrollment is limited. Satisfying the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Transfer students from other massage therapy programs who meet Northwestern’s admission requirements can be accommodated.

Transfer and prerequisite approval: Approval of transfer or prerequisite course work for one academic program does not guarantee transfer or prerequisite approval of the same courses for another program.