Photo of Therapeutic Massage Instructor

As people become more aware of and concerned about their health, they find ways to take care of themselves both as a way to heal and prevent injuries and illness. Therapeutic massage is one of the tools that people are increasingly looking to for both injury recovery, as well as injury prevention.

The numbers make the point. In 2017, $16 billion was spent in America in the therapeutic massage industry, and that is expected to grow in the coming years. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists are and will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future with a projected job growth rate of 26 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Waubonsee Community College offers a program that puts people on the path to a career in this growing industry.

“The Therapeutic Massage Program is a 32-credit hour program that can be completed in just one academic year,” said Denise Nakaji, Professor of Therapeutic Massage.

Students in the massage therapy program come from a wide variety of backgrounds and for many, massage therapy is not necessarily the final career stop for them. 

“Massage therapy can also be a great stepping stone to another career,” added Nakaji.

Photo of Alexis Avilla
Alexis Avilla

Alexis Avila, a 2017 graduate of Yorkville High School, is in the program now and is a great example of the variety of backgrounds and future plans. 

“I thought I was going to be a lawyer for the longest time and so I came in as a philosophy major.”

Avila now plans to work in massage therapy while he continues his education to be a chiropractor.

Edi Walls is currently in the program. She is a mother and has already had a career elsewhere. She was looking for a different path and found it at Waubonsee.

Photo of Edi Walls
Edi Walls

“There was really no choice for me except for here. I really wanted to be near home and near my family. I have three kids and a spouse and it’s taking a lot of time out my life, but it’s totally worth it. I know this is going to be great,” she said.

Kurt Archangel is a graduate of the program and now applies his training and education at a physical therapy clinic. Looking back on his time at Waubonsee, he sees the value of what he learned.

“The program was thoughtfully designed and crafted so that an individual would be ready for workforce employment right off the bat and also it made us ready for the licensure exam,” he said.  

Photo of Therapeutic Massage Cohort
Therapeutic Massage Program Cohort

The curriculum for Waubonsee’s Therapeutic Massage Program consists of three hands-on courses, two clinicals, a neuro-muscular-skeletal class, a pathology class, an anatomy and physiology class, a medical terminology class, a business class and an ethics class. The program is approved by the state of Illinois, is a school member of the American Massage Therapy Association and of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. It is also an assigned school through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 

Visit to learn more about the Therapeutic Massage Program.

Tagged As
News Features