BY JANA WILSON
The students enrolled in the therapeutic massage program at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington may not know it, but they are at the forefront of a growing career trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for massage therapists are growing much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.
“Our students are highly sought after,” says Tessa Bales, an assistant professor and department chair for health care specialists at Ivy Tech–Bloomington. “I get voicemails and emails weekly from physicians and clinics searching for massage students.” She adds that students are headhunted as early as the start of their first semester.
“One hundred percent of our students who have received a certificate so far are working in massage therapies,” Bales says. The first massage therapy student graduated from the program in June 2017.
Students come from all walks of life. “There is no typical massage student,” says Bethany Gray, massage therapy coordinator at Ivy Tech–Bloomington. “They range from people right out of high school to second-career people.” What they all have in common, she says, is the desire to help others.
Students earn a certificate once they pass their coursework, which includes anatomy and physiology as well as classes in holistic approaches to wellness, ethics, and business management for massage. To become a licensed massage therapist, they must pass a national exam, which is accepted in the state of Indiana.
To prepare students for work as massage therapists, the program has developed the Oasis Ivy Tech Student Massage Clinic. At Oasis, students provide a 50-minute massage as they would in a real-world setting, but for far less—just $20.
Clients are checked in by the students and then taken to a private area with relaxing music and dim lights. The students offer quiet relaxation massage, therapeutic massage, deep tissue and sports massage, and hydrotherapies. They are also trained to work with special populations like pregnant women, children, older adults, and the disabled.
To learn more about the therapeutic massage program at Ivy Tech–Bloomington, visit ivytech.edu/therapeutic-massage. Visit massagebook.com/biz/oasisivytech to book an appointment.