Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy at a Glance

Massage Therapy
  • Hourly wages: $15 to $50
  • Level of patient contact: High
  • Length of program: One-year certificate or two-year degree
  • Program location: The Body Therapy Center
  • Program start time: Fall and Spring semesters
  • Hands-on training and practice
  • Meet with program coordinator to enroll

"Massage Therapist ranks #21 on the list of 100 best jobs for 2013 named by U.S. World and News Report."   

Required To Enroll

After reviewing the information found on this page, students interested in enrolling in the Massage Therapy program must contact Program Coordinator Tammy Bivin.

Career Overview

Job Description

Massage Therapy is used to:

  • Promote healing
  • Relieve stress
  • Manage pain
  • Improve circulation

Massage Therapists:

  • Evaluate their client's needs
  • Determine a treatment plan
  • Use specialized massage techniques to meet goals
  • Provide spa treatments
  • Maintain clear client boundaries
  • Create a safe and effective environment
  • Facilitate the body, mind and spirit connection

Performance Essentials

To successfully complete the program and practice as a massage therapist, students must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Interested students are encouraged to meet with the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements.

Career Resources

The American Massage Therapy Association or Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals websites provide career information.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook provides additional career information.

Visit the SWIC Career Activities and Employment Center for career exploration and mentoring/job shadowing opportunities.

Career Opportunities

Massage Therapists work in a variety of settings:

  • Private Practice
  • Hospitals
  • Health Clubs/Fitness Centers
  • Sports Medicine Centers
  • Resorts
  • Stress Reduction Centers
  • Massage Therapy Clinics
  • Chiropractic Offices
  • Corporations
  • Spas
  • Salons

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, most massage therapists work part-time due to the physical demands of the occupation.

In addition, employment of massage therapists is expected to increase by 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment will grow as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy.


Independent Contractors

As an independent contractor, a new graduate can earn $30-$50 per hour.

Hourly Wages

Working for an hourly wage, such as at a clinic or spa, the earnings are generally $15-$25 per hour.


A self-employed massage therapist with increased skill and a larger client base will have the highest earnings.


Enrollment Requirements

Southwestern Illinois College's Massage Therapy program is open to anyone who is a high school graduate or has earned a high school equivalency certificate.

Students must complete the following requirements in order to enroll:

1. Schedule a meeting with Program Coordinator Tammy Bivin.

Students may not register for Massage Therapy courses without the program coordinator's permission.

The program coordinator will meet individually with interested students to provide a tour of The Body Therapy Center and School of Massage, explain program requirements and expectations, in addition to assisting students with completing registration forms to enroll.

For an appointment call 618-239-6400 or email at

It is recommended that students who are interested in the profession of massage therapy receive a massage prior to starting the program and participate in job shadowing/mentoring. Contact the SWIC Career Center for more information on the Career Mentor Program or Career Exploration.

2. Complete the SWIC Placement Test

Students wishing to enroll in the Massage Therapy program are required to take the SWIC placement test.

. Contact the Testing Center for more information.


    • Assessment

      Complete the SWIC placement test.

      The SWIC placement test assesses skills in reading, writing and mathematics. To enroll in Massage Therapy courses, the placement test results must qualify the student to enroll in ENG 101 or greater and MATH 94 or greater.

      To schedule the SWIC placement test, call or visit the Testing Center at the Belleville Campus, 618-235-2700, ext. 5182; the Red Bud Campus 618-282-6682, ext. 8114; or the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus 618-931-0600, ext. 7337.  Requirements and recommendations to prepare you for the exam are located in the Testing Center.

    • Academic Advisor

      Meet with an academic advisor to review the results and help develop a course schedule.

    New Students

    New SWIC students are encouraged to complete the New Student Orientation.

    Certificate/Degree Options

    The SWIC Massage Therapy program is designed to provide students with a strong, comprehensive foundation for practice as a massage therapist.

    Choose a Program

    Southwestern Illinois College offers both a one-year Massage Therapy certificate program and a two-year Associate in Applied Science Massage Therapy degree, as well as specialty Neuromuscular Therapy certificate program. Coordinator permission is required before students will be permitted to enroll in Massage Therapy courses.

    Massage Therapy Certificate

    Massage Therapy Certificate (027A)

    The curriculum includes MT technical courses and assigned practical experiences (clinical practicum).

    The Massage Therapy certificate is a 37.5 semester credit, one-year (three-semester) program consisting of:

    • 37.5 semester credits of massage therapy courses

    An accelerated certificate program is available for graduates of accredited physical therapist/physical therapist assistant programs. Contact Tammy Bivin for more information at 618-239-6400.

    Neuromuscular Therapy Certificate

    Neuromuscular Therapy Certificate (027C)

    Neuromuscular Therapy, American Version, is a treatment protocol for treating soft tissue and myofascial restrictions. It utilizes specific massage therapy techniques, stretching, and home care to reduce/eliminate most neuromuscular pain patterns. These advanced massage techniques are frequently used by licensed massage therapists, physical therapists, and physical therapist assistants.

    Completion of these courses can be used for credit in completing the Massage Therapy degree and/or as credit to maintain a massage therapy license.

    Massage Therapy Degree

    Massage Therapy Associate in Applied Science Degree (027B)

    The first year of the program consists of completion of the Massage Therapy certificate program. The second year includes coursework in the areas of social/behavioral science, computer applications, business mathematics, eastern practices of yoga/tai chi, and opportunities in advanced massage therapy techniques, biology, or health.

    The Massage Therapy degree is a 61.5 semester credit, two-year (five semester) program consisting of:

    • 18 semester credits of general education courses
    • 43.5 semester credits of massage therapy courses

    Program Overview

    Program Capacity

    Fall Semester Capacity

    During the fall semester, the Massage Therapy program generally accepts 40 students: 20 students in the afternoon class and 20 in the evening class.

    Spring Semester Capacity

    During the spring semester, the Massage Therapy program generally accepts 20 students for the morning class.

    Program Location

    The Massage Therapy Certificate and Degree consist of general education courses, MT pre-fix courses and clinical practicum courses. Specific locations depend on the course type:

    General Education Courses

    General education courses are offered at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City or Red Bud campuses.

    Massage Therapy Courses

    Massage Therapy program courses are only offered at:

    The Body Therapy Center and School of Massage
    #4 Executive Woods Court
    Swansea, IL 62226
    Owner & Instructor: Holly Pinto

    Periodically, some classes may be moved to the Belleville Campus as needed.

    Clinical Practicum Courses

    Clinical practicum (practice in massage therapy) is completed at The Body Therapy Center and School of Massage and at off-site locations for special events. Students may periodically be required to travel outside of the college district for clinical practicum. Practicum work begins as early as the first semester of the program and continues every semester until program completion. Clinical practicum is completed by scheduled client appointments and the student's schedule. Hours may be completed during the day, evening and/or weekend.

    Program Cost

    Massage Therapy Certificate program

    For details, see the Massage Therapy Certificate Cost Sheet.

    Massage Therapy Degree program

    For details, see the Massage Therapy Degree Cost Sheet.

    Massage Therapy Neuromuscular Certificate program

    For details, see the Massage Therapy Neuromuscular Certificate Cost Sheet.


    Time Commitment

    The Massage Therapy certificate program begins each fall and spring at the Body Therapy Center and School of Massage. For students beginning the program during the fall semester, courses are offered in the afternoon and evening of the one year (fall, spring and summer) program. For students beginning in the spring semester, courses are offered in the morning each semester of the program (spring, summer and fall).

    Schedule for certificate program

    Fall Semester Start:

    Afternoon Class:

    • Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 1-5 p.m.
    • Thursday: 6-10 p.m.

    Evening Class:

    • Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 6-10 p.m.
    • One weekend per month, Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

    Spring Semester Start:

    Morning Class:

    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 8 a.m. to noon

    Clinical Practicums (scheduled by appointment):

    • Monday and Wednesday: 1-9 p.m.
    • Friday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    • Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • Sunday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

    More Details

    Additional Information

    Medical Requirements

    Students will be required to possess current CPR certification, show proof of immunizations and physical examination before beginning any clinical practicum. The program coordinator will provide more information prior to your enrollment.

    Work Requirements

    National Certification Board Exam

    Upon successful completion of SWIC's Massage Therapy certificate program, graduates are eligible to take the National Certification Board Exam or MBLEX state test for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks. Students who successfully pass this examination are eligible to apply for licensure.

    State Requirements

    Illinois and Missouri laws require massage therapists to be licensed to practice massage therapy within their state.

    National Requirements

    Although not all states require licensure to practice massage therapy, graduates are advised to take the National Certification Examination or MBLEX state test after graduation because an increasing number of states have adopted this exam to regulate Massage Therapists.

    Background Check & Fingerprinting

    In addition, states require graduates to submit to a criminal background check and provide verification of fingerprint processing by an approved agency. The laws regarding massage therapy practice vary from state to state; refer to the AMTA website for more information.


    For more information about this program, please contact:

    Coordinators' Assistant Candice Rodgers

    618-235-2700, ext. 5355

    Academic Advising

    618-235-2700, ext. 5206