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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Massage Therapist - Diploma

Career Area: Health Sciences
Program: Massage Therapist
Campus(es): Winona

Please Note:
At this time, the college is not taking new applications for the Massage Therapist program.

The Massage Therapy program is an excellent way for health and salon professionals to enhance their skills.

Certified Massage Therapists (CMT) specialize in giving professional massage sessions designed to support the recipient's general health and increase the speed of recovery from physical ailments. Massage is known to promote relaxation and ease pain and stiffness.It has also been shown to have many health benefits, such as improving circulation and increasing mobility and flexibility.

At Minnesota State College Southeast, we offer a well-balanced Massage Therapy program integrating theory, technique, anatomy and physiology, practical experience and personal and professional development.

This unique program gives you an excellent foundation to work in several different environments upon graduation.*The curriculum is diverse, teaching several different types of massage and integrating both the art and science of massage into the classroom.

*Please note: Students who intend to practice massage therapy in Wisconsin must complete 600 hours of training to meet state regulations. Minnesota State College Southeast’s certificate, diploma and A.A.S. degree options satisfy this requirement.

Career Field: Health Science Technology
Cluster: Health Science
Pathway: Therapeutic Services
Recommended high school classes and basic job/program skills

Download the Program Plan


1) 1000 level (minimum) General Education courses required unless specified


Students are required to obtain a CPR Certificate prior to Student Clinic Wisconsin students need 8 hours of adult CPR and standard first aid

Computer requirement
Choose digital literacy courses totaling 3 credits. View the available Digital Literacy courses.
3 cr
English/Communications requirement
Choose one 2 credit (or greater) English or Communications course.
2 cr
Math requirement
Choose one 2 credit (or greater) Math course.
2 cr
Human Biology
Human Biology is a one-semester survey of general human function and interactions in a biological world. Cell and organ system functions are described in the context of normal health. The course introduces the study of human anatomy, physiology, development, and heredity. (MnTC Goal 3) (Prerequisite: none) (4 credits: 3 lecture/1 lab)

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4 cr
11 crs
Swedish Massage & Massage Ethics
This course provides students with an in depth knowledge of Swedish Massage techniques. Emphasis is on the application of the five basic Swedish Massage strokes and their variations. Students will be taught proper draping, positioning, and client feedback techniques used in giving a professional Swedish Massage. A variety of topics on Massage ethics will be discussed/studied. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Professional Ethics
This course provides students with an in depth knowledge of professional ethical standards. (Prerequisite: None) (1 credit: 1 lecture/0 lab)

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1 cr
This course teaches students to identify the locations and movements of the skeletal muscles. Students will be taught to identify muscle origins and insertions using specific bony landmarks as points of anatomical reference. The student will learn to identify and describe the movement of each muscle and be familiar with their nerve enervation. (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Advanced Massage & Integrated Therapies
This course prepares massage students to execute advanced massage techniques using stretching, range of motion and controlled breath. In the second half of the class, students will be introduced to the basics of a variety of popular massage modalities. Students will learn the principles and foundation of various bodywork techniques. This class will acquaint students with the endless possibilities of massage specialties and help students narrow down their future area of expertise. (Prerequisite: THPY1400) (3 credits: 1 lecture/2 lab).

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3 cr
Sports Massage and Pathology
This course covers the fundamentals of sports massage and related pathology. Students will be taught to do sport specific pre and post event sports massage using a variety of innovative techniques. Muscle function and stretching will be used to increase athletic performance and muscle recovery time. Pathology of the athlete will be addressed along with specific strategies to address athletic injuries. Pathology of other body systems will also be addressed. (Prerequisites: THPY1400) (Prerequisite or concurrent: THPY1410 and THPY1415) (4 credits: 3 lec/1 lab)

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4 cr
Deep Tissue Muscular Therapy
This course prepares the massage student to apply deep muscular therapy techniques. Emphasis will be placed on knowledge of muscle attachment sites and evaluation of the client's muscle tissue. Individual muscles will be massaged with a variety of deep tissue techniques. (Prerequisite: THPY1400) (Prerequisite or concurrent: THPY1410) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Student Clinic
This course provides students with an opportunity to develop the practical skills necessary to administer a professional one-hour full body massage. Each student will perform at least 60 massages in the school massage clinic. This course provides students with an opportunity to develop the practical skills needed to work as a professional Massage Therapist. One class time will be scheduled to prepare the student to begin their professional massage practicum. (Prerequisite: THPY 1400, THPY1404, THPY1425, THPY 1454) (Prerequisite or concurrent: THPY1410, THPY1415, THPY1424, THPY1440, THPY1447, and BIOL2500 or BIOL2511) (2 credit: 0 lecture/2 lab)

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2 cr
Preparation for National Exam
This course is designed to teach the student how to study for the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Students will review all areas tested on the national exam. Students will identify the areas in which they need the most review and use outside texts to help them maximize their learning potential. Students will be encouraged to apply to take the National Certification Examination after they receive their diploma or certificate. (Prerequisites: THPY1404, THPY1425) (Prerequisites or concurrent: THPY1410, THPY1415, THPY1424, THPY1440, THPY1447, and BIOL2500 or BIOL2511) (1 credit: 1 lecture/0 lab)

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1 cr
Special Populations
This course teaches the student techniques to help relieve discomforts of pre-natal and postpartum women during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. Different positioning techniques are taught. The course also prepares the student for the different skills and techniques needed to address the geriatric population and person with disabilities. (Prerequisite: THPY 1400) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Business Development for Massage Practice
This business development class will introduce the Massage Therapist to the business aspects of running a massage practice. Topics include scheduling, budgeting, bookkeeping, marketing, advertising and massage related business issues. This course will detail client/therapist business concerns and help to prepare each student to identify and solve these concerns in a professional manor. (Prerequisites: THPY1400, THPY1404) (2 credit: 2 lecture/0 lab)

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2 cr
Seated Chair Massage
This course will prepare the massage student to perform skilled seated chair massage therapy in either a work or privated practice environment. Course will include 16 hours of on-site massage work at approved locations. (Prerequisite or concurrent: THPY1400) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

Download the Course Outline

2 cr
25 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 36 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$7,005
Minimum Tool Cost:$457
Estimated Total:$8,412


Career Opportunities

  • Private Practice
  • Chiropractic Office
  • Nursing Home
  • Clinic
  • Health Spa

Career Information


Program graduates will be able to:
  1. Name, palpate, and reiterate actions of muscles.
  2. Demonstrate basic skills for communicating with health care professionals.
  3. Describe disease effects on specific body systems.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between body systems.
  5. Demonstrate ability to assess client and plan a treatment.
  6. Know major nerves and nervous pathways and the muscles affected by each branch.
  7. Understand basic research vocabulary and apply findings in practice.


  • Minnesota State College Southeast is an approved Continuing Education provider by NCBTMB
  • Member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP)
  • Unique program in the region with small class sizes
  • Day classes with a one or two year option
  • 100% job placement with a variety of career opportunities
  • Instruction by practicing professionals
  • 100% pass rate to National Certification exam for MBLex


  • Jeanne Handke, LMT, BCTMB, is a Wisconsin licensed massage Therapist, a NCBTMB Board Certified Therapist in Massage and Bodywork, and a Karuna Reiki Master Teacher. She has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy. She received her massage and bodywork training though Minnesota State College Southeast in Winona and her Karuna Reiki training in Glastonbury, England through the International Center for Reiki Training. Jeanne has owned her own massage and bodywork business located in Winona since 2010. She is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and the International Center for Reiki Training.

  • Amanda McDougal, LMT, BCTMB, is a Wisconsin licensed massage therapist and a NCBTMB Board Certified Therapist in Massage and Bodywork. She is also certified in advanced cupping techniques, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), and kinesiology taping. She is a 2012 graduate of the massage therapy program at Minnesota State College Southeast. Amanda has worked in the rehab department of Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics in Whitehall, WI for six years, spent two years working in chiropractic settings in La Crosse, WI and Winona, MN, and has her own business in Winona, MN. Amanda is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals and the International Cupping Therapy Association.


Other Majors in the Massage Therapist program

Massage Therapist AAS

Massage Therapist CERT



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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment base on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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