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Therapeutic Massage (TMA) Degree (65 Credits)

Associate in Applied Science Degree

Therapeutic massage is the manipulation of the soft tissue as a means of helping clients achieve optimal levels of functioning. The program covers topics in massage techniques, massage theory, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, body mechanics, documentation, medical terminology, business/ethics and client/therapist relationship building, and includes an introduction to other modalities and complementary alternative therapies.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the Illinois State Exam for licensure. Currently the exam is the MBLEx given by the Federation of State Massage Boards ( Please contact that agency regarding requirements for application and fees. Upon passing the exam, they can then apply to the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulations ( for licensure and find the list of approved agencies for fingerprinting. Fingerprints are run through both the Illinois State Police and the FBI. There are fees for the license and fingerprinting, payable to the agencies providing the service.

The IL license is renewable every two years on even numbered years. The state also requires 24 continuing education credits, 2 of which need to be in ethics, in the two year renewal period to maintain your license. Each state has their own requirements for education and licensure/regulations for practicing massage therapy. Please refer to the appropriate state for their requirements. To practice in the State of IL you must have a license.

Program Outcomes:

The successful graduates of the Applied Associate in Science program will:

  1. Function within the scope and limitations of practice for a massage therapist as defined by the Illinois Board of Massage Therapy.
  2. Utilize critical thinking to provide a safe, effective, and organized massage session.
    1. Interview, collect data and assess the effects/benefits and needs/contraindications.
    2. Develop a safe, effective treatment plan.
    3. Implement the plan, being able to make adjustments as indicated.
    4. Document the session using appropriate terminology.
    5. Demonstrate effective communication skills within the health care community.
  3. Respect the values and cultural diversity of all persons.
  4. Recognize appropriate ethical responsibilities of the massage therapist.
  5. Identify the need for continued self-development and self-care as an educated member of the community.
  6. Write the State Board Exam for Massage Therapy.
  7. Incorporate into the massage session techniques of myofascial release, orthopedic massage, energy work and Reiki as client assessment indicates.

    Incorporate the supplementary skills of public speaking, psychology and business computers to provide a well-rounded approach when interfacing with prospective clients, colleagues and healthcare professionals.

Admission Requirements

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Complete and return the Morton College Information Form AND a Therapeutic Massage Application to the Office of Admissions and Records (OAR).
  • Have an official high school transcript or GED indicating graduation or transcript indicating 60 hours of secondary education on file in the OAR.
  • Understand there is a fee for malpractice insurance.
  • Meet an advisor in the Academic Advising/Testing Center to develop a schedule and arrange for placement testing.

Health Physical

Must be able to stand for at least an hour. Lift 40 lbs.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must have their official transcripts evaluated. Course descriptions will be used to help evaluate coursework. Prospective students who have graduated from other programs but wish to earn the AAS will need to have obtained their IL state massage license.


Suggested Format for the A.A.S. TPM Program

Fall Term

TPM 100Introduction to Therapeutic Massage


HCP 130Medical Terminology


BIO 152Anatomy & Physiology (therapies)


ENG 101Rhetoric I


PEH 103Nutrition


Total Credit Hours:14


TPM 100, HCP 130, BIO 152: Indicates prerequisites for the program. They must be passed with a C or better prior ot admission into the program.

ENG 101, PEH 103: The TPM courses are set but the general election classes - those with the * - can be taken in any semester.

Spring Term

TPM 110Therapeutic Massage Techniques


TPM 115Kinesiology for Massage Therapists


HIT 109Pathology & Pharmacology


PSY 101Intro to Psychology


Total Credit Hours:15

PSY 101: The TPM courses are set but the general election classes - those with the * - can be taken in any semester.

Summer Term

TPM 120Therapeutic Massage Techniq II


TPM 130Therapeutic Massage Techniq III


Fall Term

TPM 140Therapeutic Massage Clinical


TPM 125Business Practices and Ethics


TPM 116Research in Massage


TPM 205Advanced Massage I


Total Credit Hours:14

Spring Semester

TPM 210Advanced Massage II


CPS 111Business Computer Systems


SPE 101Principles of Public Speaking


Elective Behavior/Social Science elective


Elective Humanities elective


Total Credit Hours:12

CPS 111, SPE 101, Elective Behavior/Social Science elective, Elective Humanities elective: The TPM courses are set but the general election classes - those with the * - can be taken in any semester.