Massage Therapy Certification Program

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  • Uploaded May 2017

Healing hands, limitless opportunities

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues to enhance a person’s health and well-being. People seek massage therapy to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles, rehabilitate injuries, reduce pain and promote good health.

Types of massage therapy training

Relaxation massage, also known as Swedish massage, is practiced in spas, wellness centers and resorts.

Clinical massage, also called deep tissue, medical, therapeutic or rehabilitative massage, is practiced in clinics, hospitals and chiropractic offices.

Take a minute to watch and hear from Massage Therapy student Jennifer Cardinal on the advantages of Northwestern's curriculum and her experience with the program.

Massage therapy career paths

As a massage therapist, you can choose to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings and locations. Here are just a few options:

  • Physician offices and clinics
  • Franchises
  • Health clubs and fitness centers
  • Nursing homes and hospice
  • Chiropractic clinics
  • Your own business
  • Hospitals and wellness centers
  • On-site (such as offices, airports and at public events)
  • Sports teams and events with both amateur and professional athletes
  • Spas and resorts
  • Cruise ships

Our flexible-schedule programs

Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy (A.A.S.)

  • 3 to 5 trimesters, 11½ to 19½ months

An associate's degree in massage therapy expands upon the certificate curriculum to include general education courses - providing additional communication and time management skills that contribute to success in the workplace. Some employers prefer or require a degree for employment or professional advancement in your career.

You have the option to enroll in the A.A.S. program immediately or pursue an A.A.S. degree after you earn your certificate. 

Certificate in Therapeutic Massage

  • Day schedule: 3 trimesters, 11½ months 
  • Evening schedule: 4 trimesters, 15½ months 

With a certificate in therapeutic massage, you can begin your career in health care in a variety of clinical settings such as chiropractic offices and hospitals. Additionally, this certificate prepares you with the skills to run a private practice. Our strong science-based massage therapy curriculum allows you to graduate in 11½ to 15½ months.

Our massage therapy certification program provides the extensive technical training, clinical experience and business skills necessary to build a successful practice. 

Certificate in Relaxation Massage

  • Day schedule: 2 trimesters, 7½ months
  • Evening schedule: 3 trimesters, 11½ months 

With a certificate in relaxation massage, you are ready to enter the profession after completion of the eight-month program in settings such as franchise massage and salon spas. This certificate counts toward completion of the certificate in therapeutic massage for those who want to continue their career and enter more clinical settings such as rehabilitation centers and hospitals.

Why choose NWHSU’s Massage Therapy program?

  • Dual accreditation: NWHSU is accredited and our Massage Therapy program is accredited - meaning that the professional association of massage therapists is holding us accountable to the highest standards
  • NWHSU is the only school with institutional accreditation (HLC) and program accreditation (COMPTA) in the state
  • Learn in an integrative care-focused environment with like-minded individuals studying chiropractic, acupuncture/Chinese medicine and nutrition
  • Take advantage of the most in-depth and varied clinical education experience of any massage therapy program—and train in hospitals, community health clinics, on-campus clinics and more
  • Enjoy flexibility with your courses, with day and evening schedules that we can customize to your life
  • Explore other health sciences career options such as chiropractic or acupuncture
  • Continue your education and increase your marketability by taking one of our advanced specialty certificates in massage therapy

We're accepting applications for summer 2018!

In the news

Graduates of this program rank #4 in the nation for median income out of 420 massage therapy programs nationwide

Based on a recent study by Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education (

Career paths

This growing profession – set to increase by 22 percent from 2014 to 2024 – can lead to positions in hospitals and hospices, rehabilitation centers, salons and spas, private practices and much more. The average salary for a massage therapist is $39,860 (

Hands-on clinical experience

Maximize your hands-on contact with clients in public clinics, rehabilitation centers and hospital settings. Hours may range from morning to early evening and include Monday through Saturday.

Join our family of alumni


Wherever you practice, you’ll be among colleagues.

Where do massage therapists work?

  • Run their own business 
  • Work in a client’s home or office, at least part time 
  • Health care setting 
  • Spa setting 
  • In their own home 
  • And others

Source: American Massage Therapy Association. For more information on massage therapy as a career, please visit

Begin your journey today

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