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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Medical Massage

Majors Overview June 10, 2014

Get information on an associate’s degree program in medical massage and its coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs in Medical Massage

Over 80 kinds of massages are covered in associate degree program in medical massage. They include sports, reflexology, and deep-tissue massage. Students are taught methods of maneuvering soft tissue and muscles aimed at reducing stress and treating sports-related injuries and other ailments.

Coursework in most medical massage therapy programs combines medical assisting with massage therapy. Students enrolled in these programs become adept at taking patient medical histories, explaining medical procedures, taking vital signs, and assisting doctors with examinations. They are also imparted the skills they would need to pass state licensure examinations and launch a career in massage therapy.

Those that successfully complete medical massage degree programs can seek entry-level occupations in various settings, such as in-home businesses, doctor’s offices, medical facilities and spas, and fitness centers. Coursework within an associate’s degree program in medical massage satisfies state medical board standards.

Massage therapy associate’s degree programs that don’t use “medical” in their titles usually cover kinds of massage and the use of massage to accomplish alternative holistic healing. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework in medical massage therapy studies often includes liberal arts courses, such as science, math, and English, as well as core coursework that is specific to the major area of concentration. Many programs combine classroom lectures with internships and clinical experience. Coursework commonly include the following:

•Western massage
•Legal information and ethics
•Anatomy and physiology
•Eastern massage

Job and Wage Outlook

Professional opportunities and clientele can grow via referrals and networking. A job growth rate of 20% has been predicted for all massage therapists during the decade from 2010 to 2020 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Expected continual increase in demand combined with industry growth helps explain this optimistic, better-than-average job growth prediction.

Job opportunities will also increase, keeping pace with the opening of massage clinics and increasing numbers of senior citizen facilities, programs that offer massage services, and in-office massage services facilitated by workplace programs. In 2010, massage therapists earned an average annual wage of $35,970.

Continuing Education Choices

While regulations vary by state, massage therapists are required to obtain licensure through the passage of an exam and maintain licensure through a certain level of continuing education. Those that complete an associate’s degree program may opt to continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in massage therapy; alternatively, they may enroll in a degree program in a related field, such as Oriental medicine, nursing, acupuncture, or physical therapy.

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