Massage therapy program students working on clients

Massage Therapy Program

Frequently Asked Questions

As a student, what should I expect to learn?
The successful student will acquire skills that range from client assessment and business fundamentals to advanced techniques and modalities in massage therapy that include Relaxation, Deep Tissue, Sports, and Table Shiatsu. The student will also learn proper body mechanics and self-care techniques to prevent fatigue and injury.

We offer a 25.5 unit (516 hours) Certificate of Achievement, a 44.5 unit (876 hours) Certificate of Proficiency, and a 52 unit Associate in Arts degree (1020 hours).

What does a massage therapist do?
A massage therapist uses his or her hands, fingers, forearms and elbows to apply gliding, rubbing, kneading, friction, joint mobilization and tapotement techniques to clients depending upon the therapist's training and the client's physical condition, needs and desires. Heat, ice, diaphragmatic breathing and therapeutic exercises are also utilized to help clients reduce pain, improve range of motion, and reduce the negative effects that unchecked stress has on the human mind and body.

What are typical working conditions like?
Potential students should be physically fit because this work demands physical activity. Evening and weekend work are common as are long periods of standing and reaching. Aside from outdoor events, such as sports events, the work is done indoors in a massage clinic, health club, doctor's office, salon, spa or corporate setting.

How much does a massage therapist make?
Wages vary for massage therapists depending upon where they work and their level of experience. Massage therapists can receive both pay and tips. It takes time to develop a private clientele; therefore, most beginning therapists work part time and supplement their income with other jobs. Entry-level pay can range from minimum wage to $3,400 per month. Experienced full-time people can earn as much as $8,600 per month.

When I finish the program will I be a certified massage therapist?
Completing the De Anza Massage Therapy Program allows you to call yourself a Massage Therapist or Professional Massage Therapist. Only massage therapists who meet the requirements of, and are certified by, the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) may call themselves a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT). Nobody else in California may use that title. A student who completes the minimum 500-hour program will be prepared to apply to the CAMTC for state certification. This state certification is voluntary, though some localities, and even some employers, may require it to practice. We highly recommend getting state certified. Check with the area you will be working to confirm the requirements.

Attendance and/or graduation from a California Massage Therapy Council approved school does not guarantee certification by CAMTC. Applicants for certification shall meet all requirements as listed in California Business and Professions Code sections 4600 et. seq.

A student or any member of the public with questions that have not been satisfactorily answered by the school or who would like to file a complaint about this school may contact the California Massage Therapy Council at: One Capitol Mall, Suite 320, Sacramento, CA 95814,, phone (916) 669-5336, or fax (916) 669-5337.

Do I have to be certified by the state to practice massage in California?
No, but we highly recommend it. Independent therapists who do not get the state certification must get separate permits in each city/municipality they practice in, and may be subject to additional fees and requirements, such as a medical exam, in order to practice. Some employers require their massage employees to be state certified, too.

How can I get more information about the CAMTC?
For information about becoming California state certified, contact the CAMTC at

What is the difference between a "license" and "certification"?
Licenses are mandated through regulatory or government agencies and define the title and scope of practice. Doctors, nurses, attorneys, and public accountants are examples of occupations that require a license to practice. 

A certification is the recognition of an individual who has demonstrated through a standardized assessment that they meet defined qualifications within a profession. Certifications are typically offered in industries in which it's important to uphold certain standards. Certifications are generally voluntary but, in some instances, are considered part of a licensing process.

Do I have to be licensed to practice massage in California?
No. At this time California does not mandate a license for massage therapists.

Is there a certification recognized nationally?
Yes, through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and it is called Board Certification. We recommend De Anza students complete the A.A. degree to prepare for this advanced certification. See their website at for the requirements to becoming Board Certified. De Anza massage graduates will need to include the De Anza College ID # 294033-00 in their application. NCBTMB's contact information is as follows:

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 1.800.296.0664 or 707.610.9015
Fax: 703.610.9005

Where can I get more information on the Massage Therapy Program at De Anza College?
For further information contact:
Massage Therapy Program Assistant

Please leave a clear message with your name, phone number and any specific questions you need answered.

Massage Therapy Program

Contact: Liz DiGiulio
Building: PE12L
Phone: 408.864.8205


Last Updated: 7/16/15