Curriculum Overview

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Certificate and A.A.S. degree offered

Curriculum detail

Course descriptions

   Curriculum outlines

   Day schedule
   Evening schedule (May start)
   Evening schedule (Sept. start)

Certificate in Relaxation Massage

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 massage therapy for those who want to continue their career and enter more clinical settings such as rehabilitation centers and hospitals.

Certificate in Massage Therapy

With a certificate in massage therapy, 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 12 to 16 months.

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

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

An associate's degree in massage therapy expands upon the certificate curriculum to include general education courses - providing additional communication and time managment 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.

Program length and class schedule

Certificate in Relaxation Massage

Certificate in Massage Therapy

A.A.S. degree

  • 3 to 5 trimesters, 11½ to 19½ months
  • Day and evening classes available

Program schedule, credits and contact hours

Our class schedules are flexible to meet your needs. Day students may opt to take evening class options and evening students may choose from day classes if it fits their schedule and curriculum progression.

  • Classes held Monday through Thursday (for first-trimester students)
  • Certificate: 42 trimester credits and 922.5 contact hours
  • A.A.S. degree: 60.5 trimester credits and 1207.5 contact hours

Clinical experience hours

Our clinical experiences maximize your hands-on contact with clients in public clinics, rehabilitation centers and hospital settings, so hours may range from morning to early evening and include Monday through Saturday.

Program admission

  • Review admission requirements
  • Day schedule: new students admitted in January and September
  • Evening schedule: new students admitted in May and September

Curriculum organization

The certificate in relaxation massage curriculum is designed to:

  • prepare students to enter and succeed in the relaxation massage field
  • provide the foundation for more rigorous and continued massage therapy training 
  • serve as the basis to complete the certificate in massage therapy

The certificate in massage therapy curriculum is built on:

  • Anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology and nutrition courses –provide thorough overview of the human body’s structure and function
  • Extensive hands-on clinical experience – in a variety of settings that prepare you to practice
  • Assessment and treatment techniques –to tailor massage for the unique needs of your clients
  • Practice management courses - to understand the business, marketing and accounting aspects of your practice
  • Communication, ethics, legal issues and personal learning strategies – to enhance your professional practice

The A.A.S. curriculum consists of the certificate program plus these additional requirements:

Massage Therapy - 3.0-3.5 credits required
Communications - 6 credits required*
Social Sciences - 6 credits required*
Humanities - 3 credits required*

* Courses offered through Undergraduate Health Sciences. Extra credits will apply toward the electives requirement in your massage therapy curriculum.

Northwestern Health Sciences University reserves the right to change or discontinue academic programs at the University’s discretion.

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