2020-2021 Catalog

Massage Therapy (Certificate)

Program Advisor: Judith Gawron, PT, LMT, DPT

413-236-4604 • jgawron@berkshirecc.edu

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 health care field in various settings, including private practice.

Essential Functions

Enrollment in the Massage Therapy program requires that the student, with or without reasonable accommodations (see Notes), must be able to:

  • Critical Thinking
    • 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;
    • Evaluate and implement appropriate actions for self-care to prevent injury and burn-out;
    • Interpret information from multiple sources (tactile, verbal/ nonverbal communication, knowledge of physiologic effects) while maintaining massage flow;
    • Recognize emergency or possible emergency situations and react in a safe and effective manner;
    • Perceive signs of client discomfort by palpation, observation and receiver’s verbal/nonverbal response; and
    • Determine if massage is indicated, needs modification, is contraindicated, requires clearance from a medical provider, or requires referral (beyond scope of practice).
  • Communication
  • Maintain professional verbal/nonverbal communication;
  • Demonstrate active listening;
  • Develop rapport;
  • Understand and to respond appropriately to nonverbal communication; and
  • Use effective written, verbal and nonverbal communication that is accurate and appropriate to the audience.
  • Professional Presence
  • Demonstrate attributes of empathy, compassion, tolerance and respect;
  • Function autonomously, effectively and ethically in an inti- mate environment;
  • Align with professional ethics and standards;
  • Maintain mental focus for uninterrupted, repeated periods of 60–90 minutes; and
  • Ensure physical/emotional safety of the environment.
  • Physical
  • Maintain continuous standing and moving with periods of sitting for 60–90 minutes;
  • Perform repetitive gross motor movements of arms and legs for 60–90 minutes at a time;
  • Maintain appropriate body mechanics for 60–90 minutes at a time;
  • Assist a person on and off a massage table;
  • Lift a person’s limbs while on a massage table;
  • Perform repetitive fine motor skills with hands to manipulate tissue; and
  • Use sensation of touch to accurately respond to tissue changes.

Expected Outcomes

Graduates of this program should be able to:

  • Demonstrate current academic, clinical and holistic skills necessary for the professional practice of therapeutic or relaxation massage;
  • Maintain professional, ethical, and client-centered communication and rapport 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; and
  • Recognize appropriate strategies for self-care and professional lifelong learning.

Admission Requirements

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
  • Complete the Massage Therapy Matriculation form.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a certificate in this program, a student must complete all program credits, plus the following Additional Requirements.

Program Courses

AHS-101Introduction to Complementary Care & Integrative Health


AHS-131Orientation to the Musculoskeletal System


AHS-162Form & Funtion of the Human Body


AHS-115Fundamentals of Human Disease


BIO-150Introduction to the Human Body


MBW-110Therapeutic Massage I


MBW-120Therapeutic Massage II


MBW-130Therapeutic Massage Practicum


MBW-131Therapeutic Massage Seminar


MBW-150Business Practice for Massage Therapy


Total Credit Hours:29

MBW-130: See footnote 1 & 2

Additional Requirements

Minimum Cumulative Average

Overall 2.000 
Minimum grade required in each program course 2.000


  1. Students must complete CPR and First Aid certification prior to enrollment in MBW-130 and maintain certification throughout the clinical.
  2. All immunizations and health history must be completed and submitted to Nursing, Health and Immunization and Records Office in order to enter MBW-130. Please go to the BCC webpage for the Allied Health Immunization Form for specific information.


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.

There are specific sensory, motor and psychosocial skills needed to successfully complete the Massage Therapy program. Any student who feels he/she will require accommodations with these skills should contact the coordinator of the Services for Students with Disabilities program. 

Individual states vary in the number of course and clinical hours required for licensure. Students are responsible 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.