The Maricopa Skill Center, a Division of GateWay Community College, Graduated Its First Group of Massage Therapy Students with Jobs

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Since graduation from the Maricopa Skill Center, all 10 students have received their license to practice massage therapy from the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy. Nine of those students had received job offers before they graduated.

The first class of Massage Thearapy certificate students graduated from the Maricopa Skill Center in June, 2015.

MSC Massage Therapy Graduates 2015

The program at MSC strives to help you be successful in your new career as a Licensed Massage Therapist. --Kim Nichols

Students come to Maricopa Skill Center (MSC) for an education that works to get them into a career path in a industry that is hiring; the first group of Massage Therapy students who graduated in June got just that.

MSC opened the Massage Therapy certificate program in September 2014 with 10 students. Since graduation, all 10 students have received their license to practice massage therapy from the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy. Nine of those students had received job offers before they graduated.

“Right now any Massage Therapy Program is beneficial to students because the market is hungry to hire Massage Therapist; employment opportunities are the best I’ve seen in twenty years,” said Michael Tapscott, Massage Therapy instructor. “Our program offers the added benefits of being cheaper than most of the competition, having better relationships with the three largest employers of Massage Therapists in the Nation and the greatest focus on hands-on training.”

Tracie Stephens and Kim Nichols both graduated the program in June and accepted positions with Elements Massage.

“[Getting a job offer] reassured me that I was on the right career track and that I had made the correct choice in choosing MSC to begin my journey,” said Nichols.

Nichols was had four job offers before she had graduated the program.

“I feel our graduates got hired even before their license has been approved due to the fact that in class we focus on attendance, attitude, anatomy, and hands-on,” Tapscott said. “From day students are massaging every day. It all comes down to the skill itself and we are the Maricopa Skill Center.”

It typically takes 40 days to receive a Massage Therapy License from the State Board after a students submits their paperwork.

Both Nichols and Stephens came to MSC for a career change.

Stephens had been working fulltime at a safe house and was attending school fulltime. She had always been interested in holistic arts and once seeing the program she thought it was a perfect fit.

“I liked the sound of less stress and more time for myself,” shared Stephens.

Students participate in three two-week clinics while in the program. The clinics are open to the public to come receive massages from the students.

“The clinic prepares us for various body types, problem areas and how to adapt to different personality types,” Stephens said.

Nichols chose to pursue a career in massage therapy because she had always worked in customer service industries and has a passion for helping people. She felt that those two skills made massage a perfect choice for her. Nichols had been researching schools in Phoenix, which is how she ended up at MSC.

“I was impressed by the instructor, Michael Tapscott's, knowledge of the massage therapy field and the curriculum offered at MSC,” Nichols shared.

Nichols never regretted her choice of massage or MSC.

“The massage therapy program at MSC is one of the best experiences I have had in a learning environment. The instructor orchestrated an environment that challenged you to overcome your fears while sparking a hunger within each student to exceed their potential,” Nichols said.

Stephens shared similar feelings with the learning experience she had while in school.

“The program was an amazing learning experience, not just the information needed for the work, but personally as well,” said Stephens. “I learned a lot about myself through this process, about things that I needed to change or adopt to better help others.”

Stephens enjoyed the class dynamic; all of the students had different backgrounds and managed to get along wonderfully. There was always respect and consideration of others. She did find that for her the improv speeches and self care portion were the most beneficial to her and her professional growth.

“In order to help others, it is necessary to help yourself first and both of these parts of the program have helped me to see the ways in which I need to make changes in order to help others more efficiently,” Stephens said.

For Nichols, another part of the program was the most beneficial to herself.

“The most surprising and beneficial element of this program was the overwhelming feeling of walking into the classroom on the first day of school and seeing the huge pile of supplies and equipment that is given to you,” Nichols said. “The program at MSC strives to help you be successful in your new career as a Licensed Massage Therapist.”

While in the program students receive supplies to help make them successful in the program as well as when they leave. Some of the supplies students receive are a foldable massage table, massage chair, oils, lotions and sheets.

The Massage Therapy program is only offered at the Northwest Campus, 2931 W. Bell Road. The course is 762 hours, approximately 8 months long, with an estimated cost of $5,321. The next start date is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2015.


About Maricopa Skill Center
Maricopa Skill Center is the Valley’s leading workforce development center since 1962. Through education and training, MSC graduates possess the industry-identified skills necessary to achieve long-term economic independence. MSC offers a variety of certificate programs for careers in business, technology, health care, and trades, most of which can be completed in less than a year. Small class sizes, self-paced learning, and hands-on classrooms are just a few of the benefits of training at MSC. MSC is a division of GateWay Community College, one of the ten regionally accredited Maricopa Community Colleges.

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Andrew Tucker

Phoebe Volk
since: 12/2009
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