Nov 29, 2022  
2020-21 Gaston College Catalog 

Therapeutic Massage Diploma - Spa Specialist (D45750S)

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The Therapeutic Massage Diploma - Spa Specialist curriculum includes coursework from both the Therapeutic Massage Diploma curriculum as well as the Esthetics Technology Certificate curriculum.  This coursework will provide the graduate with additional employable skills in the spa setting.

The Therapeutic Massage curriculum prepares graduates to work in direct client care settings providing manipulation / massage of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress, and to promote health and wellness.

Courses include content in normal human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic massage, ethical /legal issues, business practices, and psychology. Students should be able to perform entry level therapeutic massage with various populations throughout the lifespan.

The Esthetics Technology curriculum provides competency-based knowledge, scientific/artistic principles and hands-on fundamentals associated with the art of skin care. The curriculum provides a simulated salon environment which enables students to develop manipulative skills.

Course work includes instruction in all phases of professional Esthetics Technology, business/human relations, product knowledge, and other related topics.

Employment opportunities include health care facilities, chiropractors’ offices, spas /health/sports clubs, and private practice. Graduates may be eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam. Upon passing this exam, a candidate may apply for North Carolina State License for Massage and Bodywork. Licensure is MANDATORY to practice massage in the state of North Carolina. Refer to website: for details.

The Therapeutic Massage curriculum offers three options: a degree, diploma and certificate(s) programs. Completion of the degree program is highly recommended as it prepares the graduate to be a practitioner with a broader knowledge base in the practice of Therapeutic Massage.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  1. Plan, organize and deliver an effective massage session.
  2. Perform within the ethical, legal and professional parameters set forth by the NC Board of Massage & Bodywork.
  3. Perform massage therapy and bodywork for therapeutic benefits.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the following esthetics concepts: orientation, anatomy, physiology, hygiene, sterilizations, first aid, chemistry, basic dermatology, and professional ethics.
  5. Demonstrate safe and competent techniques for the following procedures: client consultation, facials, body treatments, hair removal, makeup applications, and color analysis.

Admission Information

Students applying for admission to the Gaston College Therapeutic Massage Program MUST meet all Gaston College admission requirements for GENERAL ADMISSION to the college. Admission to the college does not guarantee admission to the Therapeutic Massage program.

  1. Complete Residency Determination
  2. Submit a Gaston College Application
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Meet with an advisor and/or Attend an information session
  5. Submit official high school (and college, if applicable) transcripts
  6. Provide proof of course placement requirements

Additional Requirements to be eligible to submit an application to the Therapeutic Massage Program

  • Complete an application to the Therapeutic Massage Program. The application can be found on the Therapeutic Massage webpage, under the Admission Requirements tab.
  • Must have an overall grade point average of 2.0 or better in required college courses.
  • Must have grades of 80% or better in all related courses.
  • Must have completed the required Biology courses within five (5) years from the date of application to the program.
  • Interview with Therapeutic Massage Program Chair.

Additional Program Requirements Upon Admission into the Therapeutic Massage Program

  • Proof of receiving a one hour full body Swedish professional massage.
  • A completed Gaston College Health and Human Services Student Medical form documenting satisfactory emotional and physical health. This is required by the due date stated in the applicant’s admission letter.
  • In addition to maintaining a 2.0 GPA in the general education courses, students must earn and maintain a minimum grade of 80% in all MTH courses in order to progress in the program.
  • Hold a current Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers certification through the American Heart Association.
  • Students will be required to submit documentation of additional non-academic criteria such as, but not limited to, criminal background checks, urine drug testing, and proof of immunizations. Students are to complete these requirements by registering and paying a fee to a third party vendor. Instructions will be provided by the compliance specialist.
  • Professional liability insurance (malpractice insurance). This insurance is arranged through the Therapeutic Massage program.

Therapeutic Massage

Total Program Hours: 48


Related courses do not have to be completed before applying to the Therapeutic Massage Programs. Related courses can be taken according to the above program of study.

Graduates may be eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and the State Board of Cosmetic Arts examination. Upon passing both examinations, a candidate may apply for North Carolina State License for Massage and Bodywork and will be issued an Esthetics license. Licensure is MANDATORY to practice massage in the state of North Carolina. Refer to website: for details.

* Student must complete a certificate in Esthetics Technology (courses include COS 125 Esthetics Concepts II and COS 126 Esthetics Salon II) to complete the pathway of *(Spa Specialist). 

Graduates may be eligible to take the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts Licensing Exam for Estheticians and upon passing, be licensed and qualify for employment in beauty and cosmetic/skin care salons, as a platform artist, and in related businesses.

The courses taken in this diploma program may be applied toward the Associate in Applied Science degree in Therapeutic Massage.

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