Massage Therapist Program
The massage therapist program prepares students to work as licensed massage therapists (LMTs). As members of the healthcare community, they work in a variety of settings including hospitals, sports medicine clinics, medical and physical therapy offices/clinics, health clubs, spas, alternative medicine clinics, counseling and rehabilitative centers and private massage clinics. Program graduates are eligible to sit for the national licensure exam.
Whatcom Community College offers two options for aspiring LMTs: the associate in science (AS) degree and the certificate. The program options run concurrently - the daytime cohorts begin each fall quarter and the evening cohorts each spring quarter. A number of program courses are provided in an online/ hybrid format, which means the lecture portions are delivered by the instructor online and the lab portions are provided face-to-face in a dedicated lab.
The massage therapist AS degree offers the student the ability to complete advanced coursework and specialize in an area of interest, as well as participate in an externship at a local business.
The massage therapist certificate is designed to accommodate those who have a previous college education and/or are pursuing a career change.
Core curriculum massage classes must be taken in sequence, are only offered to students accepted into the massage program, and run for three consecutive quarters, beginning in fall or spring quarter.
Both the degree and the certificate curriculum qualify graduates to sit for the national licensure exam, of which successful completion is one requirement to become a licensed massage therapist in Washington state. This curriculum is approved by the Washington State Massage Board, a subsidiary of the Washington State Department of Health.
Special application process
Admission to the massage therapist program is by special application, and is done on a first come first served basis. In order for an application to be considered, it must be complete. For details about the program, the application process, application materials and deadlines, visit the massage therapist program page on the College’s website or contact the program coordinator. For questions about the degree/certificate requirements contact entry & advising to speak with a program advisor.
Additional requirements during/after course of study
- In order to progress through the massage therapist program, students must take all MT courses in sequence and maintain a final grade of “C” (2.0) or better in all graded courses and an “S” in all clinical courses. (Note: A “C” in MT courses is 74%.)
- In order to pass lab practical exams, students must earn at least 80%. One re-take is allowed. Safety errors may be cause for failure of a practical exam.
Program dismissal/re-entry policies
Students will be dismissed from the program if:
- The student fails to complete the requirements of a program probation contract.
- The student misses more than 20% of class sessions in a course.
- The student earns a final grade of less than “C” in any MT course.
- The student fails to pass a lab practical exam with at least 80% on the second try.
- The student receives a suspension by the college for violations of the Students Rights and Responsibilities policy.
- For a second time during the program, the student fails to meet any standard that would require probation.
Students dismissed from the program will be sent a certified letter indicating the reason(s) for the dismissal.
A student dismissed from the program may apply to re-enter the program by completing and submitting an “Application for Re-admission” form to the program coordinator at least one quarter prior to the quarter he/she intends to re-enroll. The program coordinator will review the application and inform the student of the outcome of the review no more than ten days after receiving the application.
Re-admission is dependent on space availability and whether the student has demonstrated that the problems that led to dismissal have been corrected. The program coordinator may request additional documentation from the student to support the application for readmission. If the student is readmitted to the program, he/she must complete the requirements that led to the dismissal before continuing the program sequence.
Any subsequent failure to meet the standards of academic progress will result in automatic dismissal. A student wishing to re-enroll after a second dismissal must apply as a new student to the program and repeat all MT massage courses if they are re-admitted to the program.
Visit whatcom.edu/massage for more information.
Massage Therapist Degrees and Certificates
Massage Therapist Classes
Introduction to legal and ethical issues within the healthcare system; ethical problem-solving methods for use within the massage profession specifically. Required preparation: program admittance.
Introduction to history, theory and technique of Swedish massage. Students will learn to provide full and partial body massages; including proper draping techniques, body mechanics, beginning documentation skills, as well as adaptations for geriatric massage. Development of fundamental qualities of touch. Required preparation: program admittance.
Continued development of Swedish massage techniques. Introduces Deep Tissue, Swedish gymnastics, Manual Lymph Drainage, and Myofascial release techniques for common musculoskeletal conditions. Introduction of chair massage techniques and Pregnancy massage. Continued practice of documentation skills. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 110.
Continued application of Swedish, deep tissue, and hydrotherapy treatment techniques. Introduction to alternate massage therapy techniques, and Eastern Medicine philosophies. Further development of documentation skills. Orientation to a variety of healthcare professionals and roles within the healthcare setting. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 111.
Introduction to kinesiology with emphasis on the functional application and analysis of the musculoskeletal system, including palpation techniques. Required preparation: program admittance.
Application of kinesiological principles of the musculoskeletal system to massage practice. Includes palpation and Swedish gymnastics as applicable to the upper extremity, head and neck. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 202.
Application of kinesiological principles of the musculoskeletal system to massage practice. Includes palpation and Swedish gymnastics as applicable to the lower extremity and lumbar spine. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 203.
Introduction to basic business applications for massage therapists. Includes billing, marketing, business plans and financial considerations. Student will develop a business plan as part of the course requirements. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 250.
Advanced training in the theories and techniques of treating orthopedic soft tissue conditions with massage. Emphasis on accurate assessment of conditions and the most effective massage treatments to provide client relief. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 112 and permission of instructor.
Advanced training in the theories and techniques of massage as used in a Spa, or Wellness center. Emphasis on spa treatments that can be performed in a dry-room setting, including Aromatherapy, Hot Stone Massage, Scrubs, and Wraps. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 112 and permission of instructor.
Overview of content needed to prepare for Washington State licensing and national certification for massage therapists. Resume and interview skills as part of an employment search process. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 250.
Supervised practice of all massage techniques on clients within the student clinic setting. Student will work with the college instructor to set up an appropriate schedule to complete hours in the on-campus student clinic. Experience in documentation and other aspects of the massage practice will be given. Required preparation: program admittance.
Supervised practice of all massage techniques on clients within the clinical setting. Student will work with the college instructor to setup an appropriate placement in an off-site setting. Experience in documentation and other aspects of the massage practice will be given. Students must pass all competencies in order to graduate from the massage therapy program. S/U grading. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 112 and concurrent enrollment in MT 202.
Basic overview of systems of human anatomy, and the disturbance of normal mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of those systems. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of the massage therapist in the treatment and recovery of these conditions, as well as indications and contraindications. Part one of a two part course. Required preparation: program admittance.
Basic overview of systems of human anatomy, and the disturbance of normal mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of those systems. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of the massage therapist in the treatment and recovery of these conditions, as well as indications and contraindications. Part two of a two part course. Required preparation: program admittance; MT 271.