Do I Need a Diploma to Become a Massage Therapist?


Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist but need to know if you need a diploma? The short answer is yes; you need a diploma to work with clients. Why? You will work closely with clients and manipulate their muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Without the proper training, someone can get hurt. Safety protocols are in place for you and your clients, so everyone stays happy and healthy.


Do I Need a Diploma to Become a Massage Therapist?


Because this profession requires advanced knowledge in various health-related topics, practicing massage therapists must be licensed within the state. A massage therapy license enables the holder to practice their techniques by verifying that they have received the education and training to work in the field safely. A prerequisite to obtaining a professional massage therapy license is to earn a diploma from an accredited massage therapy program.


What is a Massage Therapy Diploma Training Program?


The massage therapy diploma training program is a thorough and well-rounded program that prepares you to take the MBLEx licensing exam. Upon completing the diploma program, you will be eligible for professional membership in various associations, including the American Massage Therapy Association. Membership within these associations can help you learn new skills and modalities perfect massage therapy techniques, while attending training conferences and workshops.


What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Diploma Program?


Because massage therapy is often used with various medical interventions and modalities to treat clients, professional massage therapists must receive training and education in different health-related areas. A massage therapy program covers anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, pathology, individual massage techniques, professional business training, ethics, and universal precautions.


Anatomy & Physiology


Massage therapy techniques involve the purposeful manipulation and movement of a client’s body to achieve symptom relief and manage pain. Because the human body is so complex, you must receive training and education in human anatomy and physiology. Every body system is interconnected in many ways, and the purposeful manipulation of one area of the body may impact another. There are a variety of training techniques that utilize this knowledge to deliver a practical massage session.




Kinesiology is the study of human body movement. You learn how every muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone is connected to deliver relief for your clients effectively through therapeutic techniques. Because ligaments bond the bones together and muscles are anchored to bones through tendons, it’s essential to know how they are all connected throughout the human body.


You also learn how each muscle contracts and relaxes and how isometric, isotonic, and isokinetic muscle movements can enhance or detract from a client’s overall relaxation and symptom relief. Acquiring enhanced knowledge of kinesiology can also help you decide which techniques would provide the best relief, depending on your client’s situation and symptoms. It can also help you identify which massage techniques may be best avoided in specific clients to prevent exacerbating pain or bothersome symptoms.




Pathology is the study of disease and how disease progresses and manifests within the human body. During pathology training, you will learn how disease progression can change how it presents itself over time and how or why a client may become ill in the first place. This course enhances your understanding of delivering therapeutic techniques thoroughly and efficiently.


Taking coursework in pathology is also a great way to understand why a particular technique may or may not be advised for specific clients. Such contraindications tend to change over time as professionals obtain a more thorough understanding of disease progression. A great example of enhanced knowledge changing prescribed therapeutic techniques can be seen in how cancer patients are now thought to benefit from regular massage, whereas it was ill-advised in the past. Massage therapy is now seen as an essential component of a holistic treatment plan for those who are diagnosed with a variety of cancers.


Massage Therapy Skills Through Hands-on Training


As a student enrolled in a massage therapy program, you will gain the skills necessary to provide a variety of treatments. Hands-on training is provided in several of the most popular and effective massage techniques.


Swedish Massage – one of the most asked-for therapeutic techniques, Swedish massage was invented in the 1800s and is one of the first techniques you will become proficient in. This technique utilizes long, broad strokes across the entire body, providing ample relaxation and relief from stiffness and soreness. This technique also helps increase blood oxygen levels, improve flexibility, and promote well-being.


Deep Tissue – while this technique is similar to Swedish massage, the pressure is often applied more firmly and slowly across the body. Deep tissue massage can effectively release long-held tensions from within the deepest layers of muscle and is often used by clients looking for stress relief, lowered blood pressure, and muscular injury rehabilitation.


Chair Massage – focuses on the upper body and is performed with the client sitting upright. Clients who prefer this type of massage may want to reduce their stress, enhance their mood, promote better sleep, improve circulation, and even increase their athleticism. There are various benefits to chair massage, and while it may not be the most popular technique, it still brings multiple benefits to any massage therapy practice.


Sports Massage – professional athletes and others training for events will book a session requesting a sports massage. This massage can help athletes recover after sports-related injuries, prepare them for strenuous events, and help enhance their performance by loosening and relaxing muscles and ligaments.


Professional Business Training


Once certified as a professional massage therapist, you may need to know how to manage a spa or open your private practice. This course will prepare you for business success by providing the fundamentals necessary to navigate the complexities of running a successful massage therapy practice and avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes of small business ownership.


Final Thoughts


By choosing to be a part of this advantageous field, you will learn how to hone your skills, develop your techniques and expertise, and enjoy knowing that you are making a positive difference in the lives of others every day. By getting a diploma, you build confidence in clients and employers alike. So, take the first step in your journey and learn more about the massage therapy program at Gwinnett College.


Are you interested in learning more about starting a massage therapy career? Upon graduation, Massage Therapy Program students will receive diplomas and be qualified to seek entry-level positions as clinical, medical, or deep tissue massage therapists in wellness clinics and centers, spa environments including resorts and franchises, and self-employment.


The massage therapy training diploma program consists of a well-planned sequence of courses, each preparing the college student for the more intensive information to follow. The school curriculum includes training to provide college students with scientific knowledge, manual skills, and business mastery to become a professional massage therapist.


Contact us to learn more about how you can become a massage therapist today.