Massage Therapy Certificate Program

Program Advisor: Judith Gawron, 413-236-4604.

The Massage Therapy certificate program prepares students to become Massachusetts State Licensed Massage Therapists with the skills and knowledge to provide effective relaxation and wellness massage. Graduates are prepared to enter the healthcare field in various settings, including private practice.

Admission Requirements

Students must submit an application and a Massage Therapy Certificate Matriculation Form (click on the link for a printable form). Potential students who have met all admission requirements are accepted into the program on a space available basis at any time.

Applicants who do not initially meet the requirements may take courses to become eligible by enrolling in BCC's Health Science program. The sequence of courses begins in the fall semester.

Admission requirements include:

  • Documentation of high school graduation or alternative high school credential; 

  • Reading and writing competency at a college level as shown through the Accuplacer assessment or by completion of a college composition class; and 

  • Documentation that the student has received one type of massage within the last two years. 

Expected Outcomes

Graduates of this program should be able to:

  • Demonstrate current academic, clinical and holistic skills necessary for the professional practice of therapeutic relaxation massage;
  • Maintain professional, ethical, and client-centered com­munication with peers, faculty, clients, and other health care professionals;
  • Integrate college level knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and pathology while organizing safe and effective therapeutic relaxation massages;
  • Identify various successful business practice strategies for massage therapists;
  • Recognize appropriate strategies for self-care and professional lifelong learning; and
  • Apply current research to organizing and implementing therapeutic relaxation massage.

Graduation Requirements To earn a certificate in this program, a student must complete all program credits and the additional requirements shown below.

Program  29 Credits
AHS 101 Intro to Complementary and Integrative Health (hybrid)
AHS 131  Orientation to Musculoskeletal System         3
AHS 162  Form and Function of the Human Body 3
AHS 230  Pathophysiology OR  
AHS 115        Fundamentals of Human Disease 3
BIO 150 Intro to the Human Body 3
MBW 110 Therapeutic Massage I  5
MBW 120 Therapeutic Massage II 4
MBW 130   Therapeutic Massage Practicum (see footnote 1 2
MBW 131 Therapeutic Massage Seminar     2
MBW 150 Business Practice for Massage Therapy (online) 2
As Shown
Minimum Cumulative Average Overall 
Minimum Grade Required in Each Program Course

Suggested block for program completion

The following is a suggestion for completing this program in one year. The actual time to complete the program may vary according to each student's individual needs.

First Semester
13 Credits
AHS 101        Intro to Complementary Care & Integrative Health (hybrid)   2
AHS 131        Orientation to Musculoskeletal System 3
BIO 150         Intro to the Human Body   3
MBW 110       Therapeutic Massage I 5
Second Semester
16 Credits
AHS 115         Fundamentals of Human Disease OR  
AHS 230       Pathophysiology   3
AHS 162        Form and Function of the Human Body 3
MBW 120       Therapeutic Massage II 4
MBW 130       Therapeutic Massage Practicum (see footnote 1) 2
MBW 131       Therapeutic Massage Seminar 1
MBW 150       Business Practice for Massage Therapy 1

For information about typical program costs, student loan debt, graduation rates, and jobs associated with this program, read the Gainful Employment Disclosure


1. Students must complete CPR and First Aid certification prior to enrollment in MBW-130 and maintain certification throughout the program. See also note below about immunization.

NOTE: MBW students must be immunized (or be in process) by October 1st of the academic year they are enrolled in the program (immunizations must remain current throughout MBW 130).

NOTE: Individual states vary in the number of course and clinical hours required for licensure. It is the students' responsibility to fully investigate the licensing requirements of any state in which they wish to practice. If further coursework is needed to meet those requirements, students should work with their advisor to plan specific additional coursework.

NOTE: Any prior criminal offense could hinder placement in clinical agencies and the ability to become licensed in this field. See Criminal Offender Record Information to checks for details.

Essential Functions

Massage Therapy Certificate Program

Berkshire Community College seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. Therefore, to the extent practicable, the College will endeavor to make a reasonable academic adjustment for an applicant with a disability who is otherwise qualified.

The essential functions of a student enrolled in Massage Therapy Program requires that the student, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to accomplish the following:

1. Critical Thinking

  1. Integrate information from a variety of sources such as (knowledge content) text books, reference books, palpation observation, communication (verbal/non-verbal) to guide decision making.
  2. Evaluate and implement appropriate actions for self-care to prevent injury and burn-out.
  3. Interpret information from multiple sources (tactile, verbal/nonverbal communication, knowledge of physiologic effects), while maintaining massage flow.
  4. Recognize emergency or possible emergency situations and react in a safe and effective manner.
  5. Perceive signs of client discomfort by palpation, observation, and receiver's verbal/nonverbal response.
  6. Determine if massage is indicated, needs modification, is contra indicated, requires clearance from medical provider, requires referral (beyond scope of practice).

2. Communication

  1. Maintain professional verbal/nonverbal communication.
  2. Demonstrate active listening.
  3. Develop rapport.
  4. Understand and to respond appropriately to nonverbal communication.

3. Professional Presence

  1. Demonstrate attributes of empathy, compassion, tolerance and respect.
  2. Function autonomously, effectively and ethically in an intimate environment.
  3. Align with professional ethics and standards.
  4. Maintain mental focus for uninterrupted repeated periods of 60–90 minutes.
  5. Ensure physical/emotional safety of the environment.

4. Physical

  1. Maintain continuous standing and moving with periods of sitting for 60-90 minutes.
  2. Perform repetitive gross motor movements of arms and legs for 60-90 minutes at a time.
  3. Maintain appropriate body mechanics for 60-90 minutes at a time.
  4. Assist a person on and off massage table.
  5. Lift a person’s limbs while on massage table.
  6. Perform repetitive fine motor skills with hands to manipulate tissue.
  7. Use sensation of touch to accurately respond to tissue changes.