Montgomery County Community College’s Massage Therapy Program celebrates its fifth anniversary this year— something Manager Bill Mullen wasn’t always certain he’d get to see.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “It seems like just yesterday that we started the program. That I was right here in this office writing it and creating it. July 5, 2017, was our first class. We had nine students.”
For a while, the program (and the career field as a whole) looked as if it might not make it, once the pandemic hit, Mullen said.
“We are very hands-on. We are definitely less than six feet [apart],” he said. “I thought [of] the massage therapy field itself [that] we were done for. Who’s going to want to give a massage?”
In January 2021, 25 percent of massage therapists in Pa. did not renew their licenses, leaving a workforce shortage. Thankfully, the program at MCCC managed to survive.
Mullen credits the hard work and dedication of Massage Therapy Trainers Jason DiCola and Ayesha Qahash for helping him keep the ship afloat. Now the already highly in-demand field is expected to grow 20 percent by 2031, said Mullen.
The newest cohort of students began the program this past September. The program averages about 10 students per cohort, with three cohorts studying each academic year.
“A Really Positive Experience”
Current students and alumni agree that MCCC is among the best in the business of training the next generation of massage therapists.
Flo Gable has been in the program for about a month but already has glowing reviews of Mullen and his team.
“My experience here is blowing my mind,” said Gable, who’s in her mid-50s and commutes to Blue Bell Campus from Wilmington, Del. She likes that the program is accredited and has highly trained staff and equipment on a college campus.
Dan McGorrey, who graduated in 2019, completed the program in six months. A friend told him Mullen was the “…best instructor in the area.”
“The program was very in-depth, and I came out with an amazing education,” said McGorrey who lives in Southampton. “I’ve worked with a lot of therapists. I feel Bill Mullen and Montco prepared me really well. Especially with anatomy and kinesiology.”
Joe Pakyz, of Lansdale, started the program in March 2022 and finished in September. He said he liked the flexibility of the program. Going back to school as an older student, Pakyz wasn’t sure how the experience would go, but any worries were quickly assuaged.
“It was everything I hoped for,” he said. “Not having been in school for quite a long time wasn’t sure how it would be for me. The instructors were great. They are very well trained, well prepared.”
Trained for the Future
A key part of the Massage Therapy Program is the Student Massage Clinic, said Mullen. Halfway through the program, students are prepared to provide massages for the community in the Health Sciences Center massage labs. One-hour sessions are $35 and $55 for 90-minutes.
“Students get real, hands-on experience working in a massage clinic because they do everything,” said Mullen.
The tables will open again for the community starting in November, and the clinic will run through March.
Appointments are available online at mc3.edu.
Kevin Robins, owner of Elements Massage, in Horsham, said he’s hired nine MCCC students right out of the classroom because of their knowledge and professionalism.
“MCCC’s done amazing job bringing a program like this to Montgomery County,” said Robins. “They are all great people, who came with tremendous skills.”
To learn more about the Massage Therapy program, visit mc3.edu.
About Montgomery County Community College
For more than a half century, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The college’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online.
As an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to remove barriers to access, improve learning outcomes, and increase completion for all students. The college also is recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service-learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For six years, MCCC has been named one of the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges in the nation by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development for its commitment to diversity through inclusive learning and work environments, student and staff recruitment and retention practices, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities.
For more information, visit the college website.