Great Bay Community College Works Out the Knots for Massage Therapists in Training

Great Bay Community College Works Out the Knots for Massage Therapists in Training

August 28, 2017

Great Bay Community College works out the knots for massage therapists in training

Flexible schedules, community training sites, and tuition incentives help offset impending shortage of massage therapists

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – What’s the rub? A labor shortage in the massage industry. The region’s impending workforce shortages are not limited to science and technology jobs, and Great Bay Community College (GBCC) is establishing community partnerships and unique approaches to meet that need for both students and employers. With the massage industry expected to grow 22 percent faster than other industries through 2024, faculty at GBCC are making sure their graduates are poised to make the most of the opportunity with its new massage therapy certificate program. The program offers competitive tuition rates, and a robust lineup of Seacoast massage therapy businesses excited to help provide real-world training as part of the academic experience.

“Massage therapy has become an integral part of conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare environments, increasing the demand for highly-trained professionals to help patients,” said Kim L. Hashem-Dugal, GBCC’s allied health coordinator and the medical assisting and medical office specialist developer at GBCC’s Business and Training Center. “I talk to spa owners, and I talk to specialists in sports medicine, hospitals, physical therapy and even physicians’ offices, and they all have a place for massage therapists.”

Hashem-Dugal has connected with many Seacoast companies that offer massage services to learn about their needs and preferences when hiring, and is establishing formal and informal programs to broaden students’ experiences with real-world training. Specifically, Massage Envy in Seabrook and Elements Massage in Portsmouth are strong supporters of GBCC’s students, providing mentorship and clinical training hours, which often lead to jobs after the students complete GBCC’s massage therapy certificate program.

“For us, it’s a win-win,” said Matt Perry, owner of Elements Massage. “Great Bay Community College does a great job teaching the skills students need to be successful in this industry, while we can give future massage therapists an extended training program that is compliant with the processes and procedures we follow in our facility.”

It’s a model that has served GBCC well, in areas ranging from medical assisting, motorcycle repair to composites manufacturing. Students are often offered jobs at their clinical training site, and they graduate from GBCC’s massage therapy certificate program ready to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx), which is required by the state of New Hampshire and 40 other states for licensure. With a 98% pass rate from GBCC graduates, that job offer can come in less than a year, as most students complete the full-time program in three semesters. GBCC offers the program during the day, and has a new on-site massage therapy clinic learning facility to ensure a diverse experience for students.

“The training students receive at Great Bay is stellar and right now is a wonderful time to enter the field,” said Amy Stone, the regional talent scout for Massage Envy. “Demand for massage therapists is high because people are investing in wellness, and view massage as part of their overall healthcare program.”

In response to regional and national trends projecting a shortage of workers for high-demand jobs, GBCC students from Maine and Massachusetts are eligible for in-state tuition if they enroll in one of three key programs at GBCC: advanced composites manufacturing, surgical technology, and massage therapy.

The massage therapy certificate also complements the spa management certificate by providing students with additional skills which will make them more valuable in the spa industry. The curriculum is approved by the State of New Hampshire Massage Therapy Board, the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and by the State of New Hampshire Department of Education, Post-Secondary Education Division.

To learn more about massage therapy certificate at GBCC, contact Hashem-Dugal at 603-427-7647 or Learn more and apply online at

About Great Bay Community College

Great Bay Community College is a comprehensive postsecondary institution offering quality academic and professional and technical education in support of workforce development and lifelong learning. Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth.  The colleges offer Associate degrees and career training in technical, professional and general fields, including transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. The college’s second campus, the Advanced Technology & Academic Center is now open in Rochester offering academic courses and a degree program in Advanced Composites Manufacturing.   For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit