Week 1: What Happens in our Massage Therapy Short-term Certificate Program?


When people hear “short-term certificate,” it is not always clear if everyone is talking about the same thing.  The massage therapy certificate program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology is a 5-month program designed to get students trained in the skills needed to practice massage therapy.


Recently, our current class completed their first week of courses.  Our massage therapy program chairs at our Woodbury and Plymouth campuses, Denise Radcliffe and Diana Oberg, gave some insight into what our students were already doing by the end of week one.


What was the class able to start doing during week 1?


We started learning about the body- body systems, bones, endangerment sites, and how it all relates to massage.  It is very important that students begin to get an understanding of the language of the body.  We also worked on how to communicate through touch.  This is key to a massage therapist’s profession.


We spent some time on what qualities it takes to be a massage therapist and the professionalism and presentation of self.  It is very important they learn how to allow yourself to be mindful and to understand the sacred space of the table and creating a safe environment for them and their clients.  We go over the importance of proper draping.  This is key to creating a safe space and boundaries for the client.


Of course, we began learning the “chi dance” or body mechanics and utilizing your core for power.  We also started learning how to perform the first couple of massage strokes.  This allowed them to practice their mechanics at the table.

Vertebrae location
Students use stickers to identify the location of different parts of the vertebrae.

How is what they are learning in week 1 important to the rest of their training and career?


These foundational skills are critical to moving forward in the program and in being successful as a therapist. We talked a lot about how massage is an art form and how we are a complementary medicine. If they can grasp and solidify these foundational skills they will be set up to build from there.


We talk a lot about taking care of our bodies so they can perform for years to come. Most people do not know how strenuous it is to be a massage therapist. It is important to know how everything works together.  Knowing the endangerment sites helps to ensure they will safely massage each other and their clients.  We also integrate and talk about the holistic picture of what they are leaning and how it relates to their success.

Muscle fiber direction
Students draw the direction that the facial and neck muscle fibers run on a fellow student.

How do you feel week 1 went for you and your students?


Denise Radcliffe (Woodbury): “I love having them day after day.  They are living in the massage paradigm and getting to see what it takes to do massage day after day.  The total immersion of their learning is accelerating their proficiency.  One of the students commented they appreciated learning about the level of professionalism in massage therapy.”


Diana Oberg (Plymouth): “I feel like things went amazingly well.  The students have bonded and are working so well together.  They are eager to learn and have great questions (and a lot of them)! One student stated that she loves the day-long format because it is like going to a job every day and teaches them what a day could be like as a massage therapist.”


Find out more about the short-term certificate program


If you see yourself fitting into a classroom and program like this one, check out our massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology.  We have two locations in Plymouth and Woodbury.  Next set of massage classes starts on April 2nd so set up a time today to find out more.


Contact the Plymouth campus at: 763.404.4800


Contact the Woodbury campus at: 651.287.2180


Follow us on Facebook!

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Massage Therapist

Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC) adds a massage therapy program to both of their locations in Woodbury and Plymouth. Both campuses are currently enrolling for the first start date of February 5, 2018.

Are you considering going back to school to become a massage therapist? If so, learn more about our massage therapy program with these five reasons you may want to check out this rewarding career field.

  1. Help others:

Massage therapists provide an invaluable service to people who are in pain, recovering from injuries, or experiencing stress.

“I was attracted to medicine and how the body works but did not want to go the traditional route. I felt massage was a good way to pursue the healing arts, it met my need to help others and I did not have to go to medical school,” said Minnesota School of Cosmetology Massage Therapy Program Dean, Denise Radcliffe.

  1. Get into the industry right away:

Our short-term massage therapy program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months (700 clock hours). Students will gain a fundamental understanding of how the body works as well as how to manage and grow their personal massage business.

“The goal of our program is to ensure that our graduates will have gained the skills necessary to be employed in their chosen career field right away,” said Denise.

  1. Massage therapy is an in demand career field:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new openings for massage therapists.

  1. Work in a relaxing environment:

Students in our massage therapy program will experience a clinic setting by performing massage on clients, creating a healing environment with the proper ambiance for a relaxing experience not only for the client, but for the massage therapist, too.

“Massage does so much more than the physical aspect, it touches the mental and spiritual aspects as well. It is a holistic approach to wellness and relaxation,” said Denise.

  1. Be you own boss:

A large percentage of massage therapists are self-employed or they have to generate their own clientele. Many work out of their homes or travel to clients’ homes. Therefore, it’s important to not only know the techniques within massage therapy, but the business aspect as well.

In addition to learning about the various massage techniques, anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, this program will also educate students in the business aspects of the massage therapy industry

“Massage is a good choice for you if you view massage as helping people, beneficial to the client (relieves pain, etc.) and you enjoy a challenge by listening to the client and creating a treatment plan to meet their goal,” said Denise. “Massage therapist are more than just bodyworkers, they are listeners, creators, problem solvers and promotors.”

Click here to learn more about our massage therapy program.