Massage therapy is a study of the interrelationship of body, mind and spirit. Massage therapists apply specific techniques to the muscular structures and soft tissues of the human body, effectively relieving pain and restoring function. Professional massage therapists are an integral part of a health care team and are recognized for their important role in helping to treat illness and chronic ailments.
Stark State College offers two approaches to training as a massage therapist. The certificate program enables students to complete the 41 credit hour coursework in four semesters. The associate of applied science degree in massage therapy can be completed in five semesters and includes courses that prepare students for success in their profession. Upon successful completion, students are issued a certificate which allows them to apply for licensure with the State Medical Board of Ohio after receiving a passing score on the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) Exam, Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
Massage Therapists in Ohio are required to be licensed. The State of Ohio Medical Board approves the curriculum at Stark State and is the licensing agent for massage therapy. Therapists are licensed as limited medical practitioners and are able to work in private practice as well as hospitals, clinics, spas, doctor and chiropractor offices and in many other venues.
The massage therapy program at Stark State challenges the student in proficiency of hands-on skills as well as extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology and massage therapy theory. Self-care for the massage practitioner, client wellness education and community involvement through volunteerism are also an integral part of the curriculum.
Massage therapists benefit from knowing that they make a difference in the lives of others, enjoy a high level of autonomy in their employment and ample time with clients to convey a sense of caring, which facilitates a healing environment.
According to various sections of the Ohio Law and Regulations for Certification and Licensure Boards, persons convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor may not be accepted into a health program at Stark State College; may not be able to take the licensure or certification examinations; may be refused acceptance of placement by the clinical/practicum sites; or may have restrictions placed on their ability to practice. For more information, contact the dean of student services and the applicable licensure/certification board.
Your pathway to a degree
You can start with a massage therapy certificate, taking classes that directly apply to the associate degree in massage therapy:
Massage therapy certificate
Additional certificate options
Massage therapy (MAS) cohorts begin every fall and spring semester and alternate between Friday or Saturday offerings. Contact the program coordinator as which class day will be offered when you start your program. The main co-hort courses (F or S) are MAS121, MAS122, MAS224, MAS225, MAS226, and MAS223. Recent course times are 8:30am-4:15pm.
MAS123 and MAS124 are offered as Web 3 (online) courses only. MAS228 is a one-time encounter with a massage instructor. MAS227 has recently been offered Monday evenings 5:00pm-7:50pm and MAS229 has recently been offered Wednesday evenings 5:00pm-7:50pm and are not part of the F/S co-hort. Days and times for all courses are subject to change. Check with the Program Coordinator for current listings.
Program learning outcomes
- Display the ability to perform a competent intake including evaluation and assessment for advisability of massage.
- Display the ability to communicate effectively and professionally with other health care providers.
- Be able to design and deliver appropriate treatment plans and evaluate outcomes.
- Be knowledgeable in understanding the physiological effects and therapeutic applications of treatment.
- Understand indications and contraindications for application of therapeutic massage and when to refer.
- Practice with proper hygiene, sanitation, and safety.
- Cultivate professionalism and ethical behavior and comply with scope of practice.