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Massage Therapy
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Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy

Overview of Massage Therapy Career

Massage therapists manipulate the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals: relaxation, stress relief, self-awareness, freedom from muscular aches & pains, peak performance in sports or the arts, improved sleep patterns, etc. Depending on the goal, massage may be vigorous and quick-paced, or very gentle and serene. It requires the practitioner to stand and move with fluid ease during massage sessions, and to develop strong hands and subtle techniques.

Many different personalities and body types seek the nurturing care of massage therapists. Like beauticians who also touch their clients, massage therapists hear private details of their clients' emotional lives. Respect, open mindedness, interpersonal warmth, and confidentiality are essential.

Income varies widely among massage therapists. Most are paid directly by their clients. Income is directly tied to the number of massages. Many massage therapists choose to work part time.

First year income is very irregular for a full time massage therapist and probably will not exceed $10,000. However, as a steady client base is built, many full time massage therapists reach $25-40,000 depending on effective marketing and physical stamina. A few exceed $70,000.

Work Settings

Massage therapists and other body work practitioners work in a wide variety of settings: health clubs & wellness centers; chiropractic and physical therapy offices; beauty salons & day spas; hotels, resorts, & cruise lines; health food stores and sports outfitters; pain management and sports injury clinics; and private homes and offices.

Some work under the supervision of other licensed health care providers. Some are self-employed. Many work part time and have a great deal of flexible control of their hours. Some work exclusively from their home offices.

Credentialing Requirements

Upon successful completion of the Massage Therapy Program, the graduate is eligible to apply to take the National Certification Exam in Therapeutic Massage. Upon successful completion of the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) the graduate is eligible to apply for a Tennessee Massage Therapist License.

Note: Criminal Background Checks are required for the Tennessee Massage Therapist License and may be required for some clinical sites. Any convictions for felony, substance abuse or sexual misconduct would be likely to prevent a graduate from acquiring a Tennessee Massage Therapist License.


The Massage Therapy program is taught at the Oak Ridge Branch Campus, Room F-110.


The Massage Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) 5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 440, Washington, D.C. 20015; (202)895-1518;

Program Costs

Roane State Tuition & Fees
All tuition and fees are subject to change by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

* Program courses that are taken in an online format are subject to a distance education fee. A Specialized Allied Health Science Fee of $25 per credit hour will be applied to all Allied Health Science courses. See Tuition and Fees link above.

Books, Supplies and Additional Program Expenses
(Visit for book titles and prices)

Scrubs for Student Clinic $50
White Tennis Shoes $70
Physical Exam (cost may vary) $150
Liability Insurance (2 semesters) $30
Books (approximate cost) $600
Massage Table w/ adjustable face cradle and carry case $650
Massage Therapy Supplies  $400
MBLEx Licensing Exam exam $195
Name tag for directed practice $10
Criminal background check (if required) $130
TN Licensing Fee $280

Total additional cost $2,565 (approximately)

Contact: Gary N Genna • (865) 481-2017 •

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