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Program Information

We set our students up for success.

Graduates of the 750-hour program are prepared to enter the occupation of massage therapy with the competencies essential to provide clients with great results.

Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates are able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of the human body;
  • Demonstrate palpation skills necessary for assessment and treatment that are within the scope of practice for massage therapy and bodywork;
  • Skillfully perform Swedish massage, hydrotherapy, sports massage, neuromuscular/trigger point therapy, myofascial release techniques, energy healing techniquesand techniques designed to foster the integration of mind, body, and spirit;
  • Actively promote and embody the wellness model;
  • Use strategies to enhance strength, stamina, flexibility, and proper body mechanics for providing effective massage therapy/bodywork and avoiding unnecessary fatigue or injury to the practitioner;
  • Use self-awareness skills to articulate how one perceives oneself and how one is perceived by others;
  • Recognize and respond positively to opportunities for making healthy choices to benefit oneself and others;
  • Use communication skills to optimize healthy personal and professional relationships;
  • Recognize group dynamics and use conflict resolution skills;
  • Recognize and refrain from treating areas or conditions that are contraindicated for massage therapy/bodywork;
  • Perform assessments that can indicate which massage therapy/bodywork techniques are likely to be appropriate to the client’s individual conditions and requests;
  • Use proper terminology to describe clients’ conditions and produce written records of massage therapy/bodywork sessions;
  • Effectively manage selected aspects of the operation of a massage business.
  • Create a business plan directly related to the student’s professional goals in the field of massage therapy/bodywork;
  • Recognize important aspects of giving and receiving referrals to and from health care practitioners and personal care providers;
  • Provide information to the public about massage therapy/bodywork.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the significance of credentials, regulation, and the activities of professional associations to the practice of massage therapy/bodywork;
  • Conduct oneself with a high level of professionalism as evidenced by confidence, respect, and the ability to uphold professional codes of ethics and standards of practice;
  • Recognize the value of continuing education and identify programs that enhance performance, knowledge, and skills;
  • Describe the value of research, locate research literature, and evaluate research articles.

Look into course descriptions, schedules, job placement and more:

Get More Than the Minimum Hours Required

Why 750 Hours?

As of May 2015, 44 states plus the territory of Puerto Rico have massage therapy license laws. The education requirements are as follows:  29 states require 500 to 599 hours; 10 states require 600 to 699 hours; 4 states require 750 hours; and two states (New York and Nebraska) and Puerto Rico require 1,000 hours.

As people who frequently receive massage therapy treatments, the instructors and administrative staff members at Health Works have personally experienced the numerous and wonderful benefits that well-trained massage therapists provide to their clients. We have also personally experienced many, many poorly-performed massage sessions throughout the country. We believe that a 750-hour program presented over the better part of a year is necessary to prepare our students to meet the expectations of their  clients and their employers.

These expectations include: significant reduction in pain and other symptoms of illnesses, conditions and injuries; immediate and long-term relief from stress that causes physiological dysfunction and emotional problems; and fulfillment of the essential need of human beings for soothing touch.

We believe that many graduates of shorter programs quickly discover that they need more knowledge and skills to fulfill the expectations of their clients and employers. This leads these graduates to spend a significant amount of money on continuing education soon after they graduate. There is no financial aid available for continuing education, and the cost per classroom hour of continuing education is much higher than the cost per hour of basic massage therapy education. While we encourage our graduates to take continuing education on a regular basis throughout their careers, we are happy knowing that, as of their graduation day, they are fully ready to meet the expectations of their employers and clients. We also know that they appreciate having had access to federal financial aid to get a comprehensive basic education.

Our graduates are ready to enter the profession with confidence. The clients of our graduates receive the real value and multiple benefits that only thoroughly-trained massage therapists can deliver. Our graduates are ready to fully meet the expectations of their clients and employers, and our graduates enjoy the financial success that only comes with a large clientele of satisfied customers.

 Program Content and Results

When you read the Course Descriptions in the school catalog, you will see that the program includes:

  • strong courses in the human sciences of anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology;
  • a lengthy course in the most fundamental topic of Swedish massage;
  • courses in treatment-oriented, clinical approaches to massage therapy such as Neuromuscular Therapy and Trigger Point Massage, Sports Massage, and Myofascial Release;
  • energy therapies and techniques for responding to clients’ emotional releases
  • an in-depth Personal Development course to ensure that you have the self-awareness, life skills and communication abilities to establish and sustain authentic connections with your clients;
  • skills to enhance the integration of the client’s emotional, physical and spiritual states through the application of specific techniques;
  • an in-depth Professional Development course, which guides you in the formation of a detailed, practical plan for exactly what you will do upon graduation to earn your income from practicing massage therapy;
  • numerous additional courses designed to give you a comprehensive education preparing you for long-term career success.

At Health Works, we believe that your success depends largely upon not only broad and deep knowledge and skills, but also upon the ongoing development of your emotional and spiritual intelligence. The competent practice of massage therapy requires the ability to establish and maintain healthy and productive working relationships with every client, your employer, other health care practitioners, and your massage therapy colleagues. Every course in our program provides opportunities for you to grow emotionally and spiritually, and the learning environment is open, supportive, and inspiring. The entire program serves as a springboard to launch you into a satisfying and financially successful career.

As a graduate of the Massage Therapy Program at Health Works Institute, you will be eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork License Exam, and you will be ready to submit your license application in Montana or whichever state in which you intend to practice. (The only exceptions are Nebraska and New York, which both require 1,000 hours of education.)  You will have the knowledge and skills required for private practice as well as employment in a variety of settings including medical facilities, spas, massage clinics, cruise ships, athletic training centers, and numerous other sites.

Program Accreditation

Accreditation & Licensure

The Massage Therapy and Esthetics Programs at Health Works Institute are accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Esthetics Program is licensed by the Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. The Microdermabrasion course in the Esthetics Program is licensed by the same board, and students receive a Microdermabrasion Certificate, which allows them to perform this treatment as soon as they receive their esthetics license after graduation. The Esthetics Instructor Training Program is also licensed by the same board. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the written and practical state exams to become licensed instructors.


The school is approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to accept non-immigrant students under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Students who are veterans or their eligible dependents may use the educational assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The school is also approved for the MyCAA Program, which provides assistance to spouses of active duty military personnel.

The massage therapy program is approved by Washington State Department of Health Board of Massage (approval number 0130).

The school is also an approved training provider for the Workforce Investment Act, which is administered by the local Job Service office, and for various education assistance programs administered by Vocational Rehabilitation offices.

Program Schedule

The massage therapy program begins twice per year. The program consists of 20 to 24 hours per week of class time and takes approximately 10 months to complete. Classes are held year-round, with several breaks of one to two weeks each. Occasionally, students are required to attend classes and/or participate in school-related events on days and at times other than those listed below. Students are given as much advanced notice as possible of these dates and times.


Enrollment Month Class Days and Times Graduation Month
September Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:15 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. July
April Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 8:15 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. March

2016-2017 Massage Therapy Program Calendar

  • November 19-27 – No classes for Fall 2016 – Thanksgiving Break
  • November 20-28 – No classes for Spring 2016 – Thanksgiving Break
  • December 17 – January 1, 2017 – No classes for Fall 2016 – Winter Break
  • December 18 – January 2, 2017 – No classes for Spring 2016 – Winter Break
  • March 11-19, 2017 – No classes for Fall 2016 class – Spring Break
  • March 12-20, 2017 – No classes for Spring 2016 class – Spring Break
  • April 13, 2017 – Last day of classes for Spring 2016 class
  • April 15, 2017 – Graduation for Spring 2016 class
  • April 24-27, 2017 – Required Orientation for Spring 2017 class
  • May 2, 2017 – First day of classes for Spring 2017 class (See required orientation above)
  • May 27, 2017 – No classes for Spring 2017 class – Memorial Day Observance
  • May 29, 2017 – No classes for Fall 2016 class – Memorial Day
  • June 28, 2017 – Last day of classes for Fall 2016 class
  • July 1, 2017 – Graduation for Fall 2016 class
  • July 1-4, 2017 – No classes Spring 2017 class
  • August 20-Sept. 4, 2017 – No classes for Spring 2017 class – Summer Break
  • September 5-8, 2017 – Required Orientation for Fall 2017 class
  • September 12, 2017 – First day of classes for Fall 2017 class (See required orientation above)
  • 18-26, 2017 – No classes for Fall 2017 class – Thanksgiving Break
  • 19-27, 2017 – No classes for Spring 2017 class – Thanksgiving Break
  • 16 – January 2, 2018 – No classes for Fall 2017 – Winter Break
  • 17 – January 1, 2018 – No classes for Spring 2017 – Winter Break
  • March 1, 2018 – Last day of classes for Spring 2017 class
  • March 3, 2018 – Graduation for Spring 2017 class
  • March 10-18, 2018 – No classes for Fall 2017 class -Spring Break
  • May 28, 2018 – No classes for Fall 2017 class – Memorial Day
  • June 27, 2018 – Last day of classes for Fall 2017 class
  • June 30, 2018 – Graduation for Fall 2017 class
Course Descriptions

Prerequisites are listed for the courses that require previously acquired knowledge and/or skills.

ANATOMY – 100 Hours

Students study the structure and movement of the human body in both lecture and laboratory settings. Kinesiology is included, focusing on the physics of movement and clinical and scientific application of principles related to joints, bones and movement. During the lab portion of the course, students are guided in developing their palpation skills and the ability to locate and access specific muscles, bony landmarks and ligaments.


BODY AWARENESS 1 – 30 hours

This two-semester course provides students with tools for increasing their level of awareness regarding their body, breath, and energy. Students learn and practice strategies for increasing their strength, stamina and flexibility. This course has been designed to encourage students to embrace methods for experiencing improvement in their physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual health and wellbeing.


Prerequisites: Swedish Massage and 30 hours of Anatomy.

This course presents contraindications, safety precautions, and hands-on techniques for performing massage on a client who is seated, either on a common chair, or on a specially designed, portable, massage chair. Included in the course are ideas for using chair massage as a clientele-building strategy.


Prerequisite: Personal Development 

Class Integration Seminar consists of one class session conducted by the school Director and the Student Advisor. The focus is on the student’s overall experience of the program. Feedback is given and received by all present, and suggestions are made for maximizing the benefits of the program to the student.


Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy and Trigger Point Massage, Anatomy, Physiology/Pathology.

This course is the final hands on course in the program. Just prior to graduation, students are guided in combining the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the program. Using critical thinking to assess each client, students articulate a clear description of the probable condition of specific soft tissues, and select and skillfully apply the techniques that are likely to be most effective for the particular client.


Prerequisite: Swedish Massage Therapy.

This course provides students with an introduction to energy medicine. Students learn about, experience and practice a variety of basic energy techniques that can be incorporated into massage therapy treatments.


Hydrotherapy presents the use of hot and cold therapies. Students learn the physiological effects of and indications and contraindications for hot packs, ice packs, ice massage and specialty baths. The course also includes a brief introduction to the use of hot and cold stones.

KINESIOLOGY – 30 hours

Prerequisites: Anatomy, Swedish Massage

This course combines lecture and hands-on experience to provide students with an understanding of the body in motion. Topics include: body positions and movements; body mechanics; basic principles of physics such as force, lines of force, thrust, etc.; agonists, antagonists, synergists and length/tension relationships ; active passive, assisted and resisitive range of motion; and posture and symmetry.


Prerequisites: Personal Development, Anatomy and Physiology/Pathology.

This course teaches students how to accurately define and describe the layers of connections in the body, mind, energy and spirit. The core principles of Mindfulness, Presence, Holism, Intuition, Intention and Embodiment are actively explored.

Important Note Regarding Body Mechanics: Instruction on body mechanics is included in every hands-on course. Students learn how to use their bodies properly when performing each massage therapy technique at a massage table. Emphasis is placed on sound principles for body mechanics, both to prevent injury to the massage therapist and to increase the comfort and effectiveness of the techniques as experienced by the client. Students learn to correct their own posture and body mechanics, developing good habits to support their longevity in the profession. Additionally, the first and second semester courses in Body Awareness present topics that support students in developing and maintaining proper body mechanics.


Prerequisites: Anatomy.

Students learn about the fascial system, fascial strain and fascial restrictions. Skills include postural assessment and the application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system.


Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, 40 hours of Anatomy, and 30 hours of Physiology/Pathology.

Students learn the theory of re-education of the neuromuscular system, including: characteristics and perpetuating factors of trigger points; guidelines for treatment, palpation and compression treatment; and the design of effective client treatment plans.

NUTRITION – 10 hours

This course presents a brief overview of the effects of healthy and unhealthy nutrition on the soft tissues and other components of the body, and information on vitamins, minerals, deficiencies, diets, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, filtered water, organic foods, and the effects of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Students learn about making healthy choices for themselves as well as giving basic nutritional information to clients.


This two-semester course combines philosophical exploration and personal growth experiences with the study of communications and the client-therapist relationship. Students consciously focus on self-awareness, self esteem and personal beliefs, to guide them in becoming compassionate, interpersonally skillful massage therapists.


This course presents the functions of the following systems of the human body: cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic and immune, integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, urinary and reproductive. Cell chemistry, tissues and homeostasis are studied in the context of normal, healthy functioning as well as numerous conditions and illnesses. Definitions, causes, symptoms, and treatment of various forms of dysfunction and disease processes are presented. Emphasis is on conditions that massage therapists need to recognize as contraindications to massage therapy.


Prerequisite: Swedish Massage.

This course presents information that students need in order to achieve long-term career success in the field of massage therapy. As students learn the various strategies for building a successful practice and obtaining employment, they complete an individualized, specific, realistic plan to guide them in achieving their professional goals. This course also includes the principles of ethics, how to resolve ethical dilemmas and strategies for consistently displaying confidence, respect and other components of professional behavior.

RESEARCH – 30 hours

Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, Anatomy, Personal Development 1

This course teaches students about research studies that have been conducted regarding the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits of massage therapy. Students learn how to use online and hard copy resources to locate articles, how to review and critique the methodologies of the researchers, and how to use the information to educate clients. Students learn how to use their research skills to communicate with health care practitioners about the evidence for using massage for particular conditions. All of this knowledge is used to conduct a small research project in the Student Clinic.


Prerequisites: Physiology/Pathology, and Neuromuscular Therapy and Trigger Point Massage.

This course presents techniques for pre- and post-event massage therapy for competitive athletes, as well as methods for helping all active clients maximize their fitness activities by avoiding injuries and receiving prompt assessment and treatment of soreness, fatigue, and injury of muscle tissue.


Prerequisites: Swedish Massage Therapy, Anatomy, Body Awareness 1, Physiology/Pathology 1, and Personal Development 1.

The Student Clinic course begins with an orientation to clinic policies and procedures, preparing students to successfully participate in this component of the program. Students develop their skills for creating and completing client records. Students learn proper use of medical terminology and abbreviations, how to take a client’s medical history, and client case management.

On Student Clinic days, students perform massage therapy sessions with members of the public. The Clinic Supervisor provides support, instruction, feedback, and evaluation of the student’s work. Students also receive oral and written feedback from each client. Students learn how to provide massage therapy to clients with conditions that they are likely to encounter in their practices. The Student Clinic Supervisor assists students in tailoring their client interviews and treatment plans to elicit information that will enable them to provide particularly effective techniques for each client. The Student Clinic experience includes time spent in the school’s main office performing tasks such as placing reminder phone calls to clients, accepting client fees, and booking appointments.

On a day following each Student Clinic day, students attend a de-briefing session with the Student Clinic Supervisor. On Clinic days, students must focus on their individual experiences with their clients. The de-briefing session gives the students and Supervisor time to discuss and learn from the experiences of all of the students in the class.

Student Clinic gives students the opportunity to integrate the skills and knowledge gained in the classroom, thereby achieving an increase in confidence and an enhanced ability to manage the entire massage therapist/client experience. The Clinic Supervisor provides advice and assistance for making a successful transition from student to professional massage therapist.


This course provides students with an overview of the evolution of complementary and integrative health care, emphasizing the role of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Students learn about various forms of health care that they may want to use and to which they may refer clients.


In the first hands-on course, students learn the history and benefits of massage, contraindications and how to perform traditional Swedish massage strokes that can be combined to artfully perform a deeply relaxing or invigorating massage. Students focus on the quality of their touch, assessing the condition of soft tissues, and performing a smooth, well-paced, thorough massage that is suited to the needs of the client.


Prerequisites: 50 hours of Anatomy, 50 hours of Physiology/Pathology.

This course presents concepts such as balance and harmony, energy flow and stagnation, and the effects of the elements, seasons and times of the day on various body systems. Students learn Asian-based techniques that can be incorporated into massage therapy sessions.

Additional Requirements


All students are required to attend an orientation session that takes place before the first day of classes. The Session is from one to five full days in length. Orientation dates and times are announced to new students when they are notified of their acceptance to the program.


Students will perform 3 Feedback Sessions with approved practice clients who in most cases will be Health Works Institute instructors. These focused, one-on-one sessions are designed to allow for direct, specific and valuable feedback. Students are required to participate in a tutoring session whenever a skill evaluated during a feedback session is below the minimum level of competency.

Job Placement

The Institute provides students with assistance in locating places where they may conduct a self-employed private practice as well as employers who are seeking massage therapists and/or estheticians to fill job openings. Both programs include an in-depth business course that requires students to prepare to apply for and succeed in a job in their chosen field, as well as a detailed business plan for a private practice. To fulfill the requirements of this course, students must take actual steps toward employment or the establishment of a private practice, including the preparation of licensure and/or certification application materials, job interviews, commercial space lease negotiations, etc. Before graduation, students are asked to indicate their interest in receiving job placement assistance. Interested students meet with the Director to receive guidance in taking advantage of the placement assistance provided by the Institute.

The Institute regularly surveys graduates and gathers names of employers from completed survey forms. The Institute also surveys employers and regularly updates information regarding the kind of job opening that usually occurs at the various locations. Employers occasionally call the Institute, seeking qualified practitioners. Information on current job openings is posted on bulletin boards at the Institute, and a list of current and past employers is kept in a binder notebook in the library.  Graduates of the Institute and other local practitioners are invited to place notices on the Institute’s bulletin board regarding job openings and office rentals.


The practice of massage therapy is regulated in Montana by the Massage Therapy Board. The requirements for a lisence include graduation from an educational program of at least 500 hours and achieving a passing score on a Board-approved exam. There are other requirements for licensure, including being at least 18 years old and having a high school diploma or the equivalent. Specific details are provided to students in the Professional Development course and may be obtained on the internet at Requirements of regulatory bodies in other states may differ from those in Montana, and in some states, there are city and/or county laws that regulate the profession. Related information is available on the website of the American Massage Therapy Association.

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