Massage Therapy Certificate

Massage Therapy Certificate at Harper College

Get ready for a hands-on career 

Program facts  Education icon


  • Credit hours: 34
  • Stackable to degree: No
  • Employment outcome: Massage Therapist

Prepare for a career in massage therapy with this 34-credit-hour certificate program. You’ll learn techniques to manipulate soft tissue to promote wellness, flexibility and healing of the body, mind and spirit. The program combines a variety of healing modalities, focusing on both relaxation and rehabilitative massage therapy.

You’ll train in Harper College's on-site Massage Therapy Clinic, a real-world work environment. The program can be completed as quickly as 10 months.

After graduation, you must pass the Massage Board Licensing Exam (MBLEx) and apply for licensure with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Certificate program requirements

This 34 credit-hour program prepares the graduate to be a massage therapist and sit for the required National Board Exam. A massage therapist manipulates soft tissue to promote wellness, flexibility, and healing of the body, mind and spirit. Massage therapists are employed in diverse environments from chiropractic and rehabilitation settings to beauty and health spas. Many therapists own their own businesses as well as travel to on-site locations. Part-time supplemental employment as well as full-time careers are possible in this diverse profession.

The Massage Therapy profession requires that the therapist uphold high ethical standards and practices. Therapeutic massage requires close contact with clients and students in this program are expected to demonstrate professionalism and comply with the ethical standards of the profession during their treatment of clients.

Students interested in entering the field must meet the requirements set by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR): 18 years of age, high school graduate or equivalent (GED) and successfully pass a criminal background check. Successful completion of MTP 100 (Introduction to Massage Therapy) is also required for admission to the program.

Graduates must pass the Massage Board Licensing Exam (MBLEx) and apply for licensure with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

PREREQUISITE:

A grade of C or better in all MTP courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits
MTP 100 1

Description: Provides a general program overview and historical development of massage therapy. Introduces students to the benefits of massage therapy and its relationship to our current health care system, alternative health care systems and healing practices from other cultures. Introduces the systems of the body, basic effects of stress on the body and different types of massage modalities. Introduces students to basic anatomical terms, regions of the body, and an anatomy palpation demonstration and practice.

Prerequisite: You must be 18 years old to register for this course.

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all MTP courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits
MTP 110 2

Description: Covers the requirements for the practice of therapeutic massage including sanitary and safety issues. Introduces students to ethics and standards of practice for massage practitioners. Teaches intake processes and communication skills. Discusses the effects of stress on the body and the importance of self-care. Introduces the benefits of breathwork, meditation and mindful movements. Creates a foundation of healthy body mechanics for the massage therapist.

Prerequisite: MTP 100 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 112 3

Description: Begins an overview of the structure and function of integumentary, fascial, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Examines the indications for and benefits of massage therapy on these systems. Discusses the different types of massage modalities and manual therapies appropriate for each body system covered. Includes medical terminology for professional record keeping.

Prerequisite: MTP 100 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 115 4

Description: Covers effects, indications, contraindications, proper body mechanics, and the practice of Swedish massage, joint mobilization and friction techniques. Energetic approaches to healing are demonstrated. Provides training in myofascial therapies. Covers a general sequence for a full body treatment and proper draping techniques.

Prerequisite: MTP 100 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 118 2

Description: Covers the stages of injury and inflammation from acute, early to late subacute, and chronic. Discusses effects, indications and contraindications of massage therapy techniques on compromised tissue. Discusses different hydrotherapy techniques, effects, indications and contraindications. Introduces assessment procedures including intake and documentation. Ethical topics and decision-making processes are discussed. Includes theory and practice of clinic treatments and procedures.

Prerequisite: MTP 100 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 123 3

Description: Covers musculoskeletal system more specifically in this hands-on class for massage practitioners. Focuses on bony landmarks, muscle location and soft tissue structures of the regions: shoulder, upper arm, trunk, spine, abdomen, pelvis and thigh. Regional treatments incorporating specific anatomy are introduced.

Prerequisite: MTP 100 with a grade of C or better.

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all MTP courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits
MTP 122 3

Description: Provides an overview of the structure and function of the cardiovascular, lymphatic, immune, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary and reproductive systems. Examines the indications for and benefits of massage therapy on these systems. Discusses the different types of massage modalities and manual therapies appropriate for each body system covered.

Prerequisite: MTP 112 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 125 4

Description: Provides in-depth adaptation of MTP 115 (Foundations of Massage Therapy I) techniques along with body mechanic theory to apply treatments to regions. Integrates anatomy palpation with specific treatments. General to specific treatment progressions are discussed with focus on safe and effective body mechanics for therapist. Introduces trigger point therapy, specific myofascial therapies and cross-fiber friction. Introduces theory of specific conditions related to dysfunctions associated with the myofascial system, including trigger points.

Prerequisite: MTP 115 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 128 1

Description: Provides the students with the opportunity to perform massage therapy in a clinical setting under the supervision of licensed massage therapists. Allows the student opportunities to perform management tasks associated with clinic operation such as booking appointments, taking payments and filing clinic charts. Students complete 45 clinical hours in the on-site clinic.

Prerequisite: MTP 115 and MTP 118 with grades of C or better.

MTP 133 2

Description: Continues musculoskeletal system more specifically in this advanced hands-on class for massage practitioners. Focuses on bony landmarks, muscle location and soft tissue textures of the regions: head, neck, face, forearm, hand, lower leg, foot. Regional treatments incorporating specific anatomy are introduced.

Prerequisite: MTP 123 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 134 2

Description: Covers pathology of the body systems as it relates to massage therapy. Covers mechanisms of health and disease as well as working with special needs populations. Provides research-based lectures and case studies for common dysfunctions and disorders. Discusses scope of practice for massage therapists in relation to assessment and diagnosis.

Prerequisite: MTP 112 with a grade of C or better.

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all MTP courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits
MTP 135 2

Description: Introduces clinical massage theory for specific conditions and special populations. Assessment procedures, advanced modalities and plans of care appropriate for specific conditions are discussed. Discusses the benefits of growing research in the field of clinical massage therapy and incorporates research into treatment planning.

Prerequisite: MTP 125 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 136 3

Description: Covers the laws of movement and contractions principles as related to massage therapy. Applies advanced neuromuscular therapies and techniques into treatment plans for musculoskeletal and movement related conditions. Integrates joint mobilization with neuromuscular therapy. Introduces sports massage.

Prerequisite: MTP 112, MTP 122, MTP 123 and MTP 133 with grades of C or better.

MTP 137 1

Description: Discusses career options, marketing strategies and resume development for an entry-level massage therapist. Ethics are discussed with a focus on business practices, basic tax requirements and legal obligations. National Board (MBLEX) review and practice tests are implemented with test-taking strategies discussed. Continuing education and specialties for massage therapists are discussed.

Prerequisite: MTP 128 with a grade of C or better.

MTP 138 1

Description: Allows students to continue practice of massage therapy techniques in a clinical setting under the supervision of licensed massage therapists. Includes participation in community massage events. Allows students the opportunity to participate in tasks associated with clinic operation such as booking appointments, taking payments and filing clinic charts. Students complete 45 clinical hours in the on-site clinic.

Prerequisite: MTP 128 with a grade of C or better.

Resources

Next steps

For more information about massage therapy courses at Harper College, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.