Massage Therapy Evening Classes

Our Massage Therapy Classes are specifically designed with you in mind.

We offer top notch education to give you a solid base to build a career along with the flexibility schedules and the individual attention you need. The program has evolved from decades of experience and is a blend of time honored traditional teaching along with new ideas, unique learning activities, and individualized mentoring.

Download Massage Class Application

Classes meet Monday – Thursday evenings from 5:30 – 9:30 pm, with or without Saturdays (your choice).


Equals only 1-2-3 evenings per week


Equals 4-5 times per week for 10 months.

Our 600 hour course includes each of the following classes. Some topics are covered in depth while others are introductions to add to the solid, broad-based foundation in the profession. All classes are instructor-supervised with most of the classes occurring on-campus. There are instructor-supervised field trips for topics directly related to the content of the class as indicated below.

The curriculum has been approved by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy and exceeds the requirements for Iowa licensure.

View Course Outline

Why come here? We offer excellent training programs in a supportive, professional, family-style environment to prepare you for the Exam your need to pass in order to get your Iowa Massage Therapy license. It’s designed to prepare you with a solid foundation for which to build a successful private practice. After you graduate, you may be invited to continue to work here at the Center. Our teachers incorporate creative teaching styles and make learning fun! Whether you are looking for a career change or just want something to do part-time, you are guaranteed an amazing (maybe even life-changing) experience!

Call TODAY for details and your personal tour with the Director.

For details, click on any of these sections:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself ~
Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
Applicants must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent
  • have received a professional massage
  • exhibit a sincere desire to learn
  • be able to function effectively in a group learning setting
  • agree to our Standards of Conduct while at school

To apply, submit an application form including a small photo and a $100 non-refundable application fee. Once your application is reviewed, a personal interview is arranged prior to determining your acceptance in the program. We look forward to addressing any questions you have during this time.

Download Massage Program Application

Who makes a good massage therapist?
We have worked with students from age seventeen to seventy with very diverse backgrounds. For example, we have had students with backgrounds that seem a natural fit…nurses, physical therapy assistants, and personal trainers. Other students have been creating with their hands and focused on details…chefs, gardeners, and lab technicians. But we have also worked with those who you may not have imagined would be interested in learning massage…a bank vice president, truck driver, fireman, electrician, and even a nun.

What matters the most is a commitment to learning and a desire to serving others through positive touch. During the interview process, we are usually able to give you an idea of what we think will be a growing edge for you and ways we can support you as a part of our Mentoring Program. For some people the area of challenge is the “book learning”, for others the “hands-on” part, and for still others “talking with clients”. We specialize in being able to work with each student to maximize their potential, regardless of their growing edge.

We invite you to come to the College of Massage and the Healing Arts Center and look forward to discussing how we might support you along your unique path. You may contact us directly at (515) 277-2126.

Whether you choose to complete the program as soon as possible or prefer to go at a slower pace, whether you have a master plan or are figuring it out as you go; you have options here.

Some students start part-time and later switch to full-time and vice versa. Both full-time and part-time students have the same curriculum and class times but simply take classes in a different order and a different frequency per week.
Most students really appreciate and take advantage of the flexibility in the schedule. You can start classes several times throughout the year.

Regular full-time schedule – 10 month course
Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings (5:30 – 9:30 pm) and some Saturday mornings (8:30 am – 12:30 pm). During the 4th month, you may begin the Student Clinic part of the course. You have the choice to continue with the same schedule or replace an evening or two with the following:

  • Weekday afternoons (1:30 pm to 5:30 pm)
  • Saturday mornings (8:30 am to 12:30 pm)

Flexible part-time schedule – Starts various times throughout the year
Part-time students attend the same classes as a full-time student. These students come one to three times per week. If they come half as often, it will be or about twice as long. Realistically, most students prefer this schedule.

First of all, if you are really good at what you do, you may have the opportunity to be a part of the team in our Professional Massage Clinic. There are also many other settings where massage therapy services are offered.

Lots of people contact us looking for massage therapists including chiropractors, health clubs, spas, hair salons, corporate offices, wellness centers, to name a few. Details are available for our students and graduates.

Some students are looking for a career where they can be their own boss.
You could give massages in your home, a private office or be mobile (going to the client’s home or office). You could combine options to add variety to your unique practice.

Imagine the possibilities! During class, we talk about how to decide what the ideal setting might be for your future practice. Bottom line, massage therapy jobs are available so you should have several options to choose from.

Also see our Business Success class
Your success is our main concern.

Activities and assignments are designed to:

  1. Prepare you for the licensure exam
  2. Build a solid professional foundation on which to support a career
  3. Increase the potential for success of your future massage practice
  4. Encourage personal growth

Take a closer look are each of these focus areas:

Preparing you for the Exam: Our massage therapy program prepares you for the Iowa Massage Therapy licensure exam. In addition to teaching you relevant content, we have activities to reduce test anxiety and maximize the likelihood of passing your exam. While the process toward earning your license is new for you, it is not new for us. We will help you every step of the way. During class we go over your exam options and help you prepare the papers for the exam and licensure process.

State Requirements and Exam for Licensure

Building a solid foundation: There will be a lot of options for a specialty and unique direction for your future. Our massage therapy program focuses on building a broad, solid foundation, strong enough to support a career. With our program, you will learn how to offer a wide variety of massage services. We believe you need to learn the topics we cover, regardless of the area in which you’ll specialize, as any of this content could be on the exam.

Professionalism: Have you ever heard “Attitude is everything”? When it comes to having clients come back, we know that how clients are treated is at least as important as the skill of one’s massage techniques. Being service-minded and treating each individual with acceptance and respect is more than words in a textbook. These are an essential part of every massage and how we intend to interact with each other here. We encourage building a sense of community and cooperation with colleagues. Attitude impacts everything!

Also see our Business Success class

Growth: People often think that hands and massage techniques are the most important tools for massage therapists. We believe it is a blend of one’s whole “Being”, awareness, and skill level. Our teachers have special training to indentify each student‘s unique needs and ways to support them, step-by-step. This is not a “factory school”. Supporting the growth of each student, so they can advance to whatever the next level of accomplishment, is truly our focus.

Learn more about our Teaching Philosophy
We believe each moment is an opportunity to learn with our success-oriented teaching philosophy. We talk about topics and find ways to “experience” them.
This helps students integrate the information and make it their own.

We use traditional teaching styles with textbooks, diagrams, demonstrations and tests. We also use innovative teaching methods designed for different types of learners. For example, we learn most of the bones of the body in one hour with the “Bone Dance”. Memories of our “Shirt Night” in Business Success class will bring both smiles and groans from any former graduate. Fun is simply part of the plan. We see it, say it, write it, read it, and even color it.

“Trust the process…step by step.” These are words of encouragement and support found on the wall in the classroom. But they are also a glimpse into our teaching method. We break huge projects (ie learning all the bones in the body) down into “do-able” pieces. Add repetition, review, and a few tricks up our sleeves and we have paved the way to successful learning… step-by-step.

Our teachers are definitely not just going through the motions. They are more like coaches or mentors and really get involved in supporting each student to grow to their next level. The majority of our teaching staff, though trained all over the world, live in the local area. This facilitates the ease and possibility of future professional working relationships and mentoring opportunities for our graduates who choose to stay in this community.

Each of the teachers at the College of Massage and the Healing Arts Center bring a unique perspective to their work. Beyond their training and experience, you will find they have both a passion for their work and in sharing it with others.

Some of our teachers are graduates from our Massage Program while others have been trained from as far away as China. All of the following teachers are currently living in this area, allowing the possibility of on-going mentoring:

  • Ruth Bloxham, Bachelor of Arts, Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Deb Elliott, Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Licensed Massage Therapist,  Master Teacher & Practitioner
  • Ken Hale, Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Linda Lawson, Nutrition Specialist, Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Chris Lorang, Doctor of Chiropractic,  Capital Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center, East Village, Des Moines, IA |
  • Nichole Michels, Bachelor of Arts, Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Jon Royal, Master Practitioner in Complimentary Healing Methods, Center for Health and Harmony, Des Moines, IA
  • Ronda Stickel, Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Steve Suvolsky, Masters of Health Sciences Pathology Assistant
  • Yimin Xu,  Licensed Acupuncturist, Family Acupuncture, Johnston, IA |

Words that describe a common thread among our teaching staff…

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

— Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Meet Former Teachers

An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends.Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
These words are just as true today as when they were originally spoken. Now consider the word “investment” and what that means to you.

Would you be willing to “invest” in a future where you could:

  • have a new or second career
  • have flexibility to set your own work hours
  • master a skill you can use anywhere
  • do something you love…and get paid for it
  • gain a new perspective on life

The cost of the Massage Therapy Program is $8,995.
This includes: tuition, required textbooks, lab fees for the equipment, linens, lotions, supplies, and a special shirt for the Student Clinic.

Payment Options:

  1. Payment in full at the beginning of the course. This is the least expensive option. Students often get a personal loan from a bank. Local bank representatives tell us they have personal loan options available to help make this affordable for nearly every student.
  2. The standard payment plan starts with a significant initial payment, then monthly payments, and includes a delayed payment charge. Details are to be discussed with the Director.
  3. Master Card, Visa, and Discover are also accepted for part or all of the tuition.
  4. Other tuition payment proposals would be considered.

Whatever payment option you choose, the full tuition must be paid before you receive your Diploma.

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you are right.”Henry Ford
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
All the equipment you need while in school is provided for you. Students often decide to purchase equipment to use at home to practice while they are in school. Other students choose to wait until after graduation to purchase their equipment. You will learn about some of your options and suggested criteria to use to make the best equipment choices for yourself.

Optional Equipment Package: We endorse the massage tables from EarthLite, clearly a leader in the profession. For more information go to

Lifetime Student Discount: We offer additional reference materials, textbooks, learning tools, lotions, supplies and school spirit clothing. Your lifetime student discount would apply to the purchase of any of these or similar items.

Massage Lotion: We hand-picked the lotion used here. We think the lotion we use, from a company called Natural Formulations, is one of the finest on the market today. The lotion we use contains no petroleum products, is dye and paraben free, and is considered scent neutral. They use only natural and naturally derived components and the latest in modern ingredient research and development combined with Old World sensitivities. For information about their products go to

Completing the Massage Therapy Program is a significant demonstration of commitment and growth…and certainly cause for celebration! We have a special graduation ceremony twice a year and welcome the graduates’ families and friends to celebrate together and mark this momentous occasion.

Existing students are invited to the graduation ceremony. This is an activity, along with mixing classes with new and seasoned students, intended to encourage connection and cooperation rather than competition within the profession. We believe the attitude of celebrating the success of others has a way of building overall success for everyone. We also believe that activities to demonstrate this attitude in action are especially powerful toward creating the future we envision.

We are proud of our graduates and display their pictures for all to see and acknowledge in our “Hall of Determination”, as it is officially called, although our owner, Deb Elliott, also calls it her “Hall of Pride”.

While it is not automatically the case for everyone who graduates, if you work really hard and are willing to grow, you may be invited to become a part of our team in the Professional Massage Clinic.

Here are 3 reasons (of many) you might want to join our Team:

  1. Your focus can be on giving massages. As part of our team, someone else takes care of all the business details for you. This includes the marketing, bills, scheduling, confirmation calls, paperwork, and so many more “behind-the scenes” details. This means you get to focus on what you enjoy the most…giving massages.
  2. Everything you need to give a massage is ready for you. Each professional massage room is beautifully and uniquely decorated and includes some of the highest quality massage equipment on the market today. The hydraulic massage tables with pneumatic lift backs (for people with respiratory and positioning needs) are a true luxury that make giving a massage much easier. Everything is ready for you when you arrive (linens, lotion and other supplies). Even the clients are provided.
  3. Be part of a team and contribute to something greater than yourself. There are practical benefits from working with a team. Your schedule can be more flexible while still meeting your clients’ needs. Clients can also have a wider range of techniques available to them. Other less tangible, yet powerful benefits also occur. When you work with exceptional professional colleagues and share an intention, there is a buoyancy and synergy that is created. In other words, it’s easier to stay on track when you are surrounded by those who share your intention. We find this support an inspiration that allows us to have a more sustained, amplified, and rewarding impact through our work.
Massage Services at the Center
  • Student Massage
  • Professional Massage
  • Relaxation Massage
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Massage for any age
  • Hot Stones Massage
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Couples Massage
  • Healing Methods
  • Chair Massage (at your location)

If you are interested in becoming a part of our Professional Massage Team, please contact us so we can discuss the opportunity as it pertains directly to you.

To earn an Iowa Massage Therapy license, you will need to meet the requirements that can be found through the Iowa Department of Public Health website listed below. You will also need to pass your choice of one of the requirements exams. We go over the requirements and application forms in class as a part of the Massage Therapy Program. That way you have another pair of eyes making sure you have “dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s”.

College of Massage and the Healing Arts Center is registered with the Iowa Department of Education. Our Massage Therapy Curriculum meets or exceeds state requirements and has been approved by the Iowa Massage Therapy Board. The curriculum review process is now repeated every two years and has been approved with each review since the initial review in 1997.

Contact information

Iowa Board of Massage Therapy
Phone: (515) 281-6959
Address: Lucas State Office Building – 5th Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
Phone: 913-681-0380
Toll free: 888-70-FSMTB
Fax: 913-681-0391
Address: 7111 W 151st Street, Suite 356
Overland Park, Kansas 66223

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
Toll free: (800) 29-0664
Address: 1901 S. Meyers Road, Suite 240
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181-5243

People often ask:
“Who makes a good massage therapist?”

What they are probably wondering is:
“Would I make a good massage therapist?”

Our response is:
“It mostly depends on how much you want to be a good massage therapist?”

We explain that we have worked with students from age seventeen to seventy with very diverse backgrounds. For example, we have had students with backgrounds that seem a natural fit… nurses, physical therapy assistants and personal trainers. Other students have been creating with their hands and focused on details… chefs, gardeners, and lab technicians. But we have also worked with those who you may not have imagined would be interested in learning massage… a bank vice president, truck driver, fireman, electrician and even a nun.

What matters the most is your commitment to learning and to serving others through positive touch. During the interview process, we are usually able to give you an idea of the areas we think will be a growing edge for you and ways we can challenge and support you as a part of our mentoring program. For some people the area of challenge is the “book learning”, for others it might be the “hands-on part”, and for still others it might be talking with future possible clients. We specialize in being able to work with each student to maximize their potential success at becoming “a good massage therapist”, regardless of what their growing edge is.

Watch for answers to more questions yet to come…