At Vicars School of Massage Therapy, preparing students for success in the massage therapy profession is our only business. And after nearly 25 years of delivering high-quality massage therapy education, we know what we are doing!
But don’t take our word for it. The Vicars School massage therapy diploma program is fully accredited by the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA), the national body that sets curriculum and delivery standards for massage therapist courses across Canada.
We are a leader in program quality and have earned the trust of the massage industry. Many of our students are referred to us by practicing massage therapists, including grads from other schools. Employers compete to hire our graduates because they know they will be knowledgeable and effective therapists from the very start of their careers.
Massage Therapy Courses
These are the science, technique, business, and practice management courses that make up the accredited two-year massage program at Vicars School of Massage Therapy. For more details, download our Course Content Outline.
Anatomy & Physiology
Getting to know the human body, what it does, and how it works.
Health and disease fundamentals for the massage therapist, including pharmacology and medicines.
Tools of the trade: massage equipment and supplies. Client safety and wellbeing. Staying strong and injury-free for a long career in massage.
Therapeutic Relationship (Ethics)
Interpersonal skills, communications, and confidentiality at the root of an effective therapeutic relationship.
Palpatory Anatomy and Kinesiology
Building on the A&P course, learning the bones and bony landmarks of the skeleton, and the detailed working of the muscular system and its accessory structures.
Biomechanics and Movement
Understanding the movement of the healthy human body, including the structures involved, posture, and gait.
Becoming fluent in the language of science and medicine.
Becoming proficient in wide range of hands-on techniques essential to effective therapeutic massage. Client safety and comfort. Appropriate modifications for individual clients and various conditions.
Learning how massage therapists gather and interpret information about a client’s body and condition to make informed decisions about treatment.
Students develop and refine their knowledge and skill in this important area over the full length of their training (and career). Setting realistic goals and assessing the results throughout the therapeutic relationship is the key to an effective massage therapy practice.
Stretch, strengthen, and movement techniques for remedial exercise “prescriptions
Recognizing the business side of a massage therapy career for entrepreneurs and employees alike. Includes marketing and accounting basics.
Understanding the importance of research and research literacy in the advancement of therapeutic massage as a profession.
Supervised Clinical Experience
From midway through the first year until graduation, Vicars students put the theory and massage techniques they are learning into practice in a clinical setting, supervised by qualified and experienced RMTs.
Early clinical experience is limited to “relaxation” or wellness massage, but as each class adds to its skills and knowledge, the students move on to more advanced assessment and treatment and to working with clients with more diverse conditions.
What Sets Vicars School Apart
In creating and delivering a quality massage therapy program, these are the principles that have guided Vicars School of Massage Therapy for nearly 25 years of quality massage education:
Our program is a positive and challenging experience. We prepare our graduates to be effective and successful massage therapists.
We will always treat our students with respect.
To meet our students’ needs for excellent training, we will stay current with the highest national standards.
When we make decisions, our highest priority will always be the most positive outcome for our students.
Flexible Schedules for Adults
When Vicars School opened the doors to its first classroom in 2001, we knew the students we wanted to serve—adult learners and career changers—and how we could best meet their needs. At that time, most Alberta massage schools operated Monday to Friday from nine to five. If you were a young, or not-so-young, adult ready for a new career but you had any outside responsibilities or lived outside Edmonton or Calgary, that was a challenge. And it still is.
That’s why Vicars School has always offered most of its massage therapy courses in a format suited to working from home. That format in 2001 was binders and huge textbooks; today it’s interactive online materials on the Moodle platform. Either way, this approach is known as blended learning, and it allows your education to fit your life.
How does blended learning work?
Students are in class four days a month for your hands-on courses, including Massage Techniques, Palpatory Anatomy, Orthopedic Assessment, and Treatment Planning and the hands-on and group discussion elements of many of the other courses. Students work on each other in class and certain clinics are held during class time.
When you’re not in class, you’ll work from home, you will complete your schoolwork, including our core science courses, online. As well as resource material and assignments, access to Moodle also gives you access to instructors and to your classmates when you’re not on campus. There are forums for asking questions of subject matter experts, staying in touch with your classroom instructors and supporting your fellow classmates through chats and study groups.
Is the program full time?
Definitely! The Vicars School massage therapy program is considered full time, but aside from the mandatory four days you are scheduled to be in class, your schedule is flexible. Expect to put in 30-35 hours a week on your online courses. While your schedule will be flexible, and the program is dedicated to never wasting your time, it will take some dedication.
You will be in class four days a month. If you are in a weekly class, you come to school the same day each week. If you are in a weekend class, you attend every other weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. If you are in a monthly class, you are on campus four days in a row, over a four-day weekend. Our schedules for upcoming classes are on the website.
Beginning midway during Year One, you will also work in our supervised student clinics, and will need to budget on-campus time for those.
The Accreditation journey
As soon as we had the opportunity to seek national accreditation, we were all in! We chose to go through the very tough and time-consuming process of CMTCA accreditation even though the process is not mandatory in Alberta!
Earning CMTCA accreditation begins with preparing an extremely detailed application and submitting it for critical examination of our course content and materials. To achieve full accreditation, all our massage therapy courses and materials, schedules, clinic details, and all aspects of our policy and procedures, including instructor training, were examined by CMTCA education experts and experienced massage professionals. While the documentation and preparation was extensive, we had one advantage—we have always chosen to teach the national curriculum, having modelled our first curriculum after the Ontario one back in 2001.
A team of their examiners made site visits to our campuses in Calgary and Edmonton, where they interviewed staff, instructors, and—especially—students. They wanted to learn first-hand if students were getting the quality courses and meaningful instruction that they would need to be successful in their new careers.
The final report confirmed in detail that we met every one of the standards at a high level, and we were delighted with the endorsement. But accreditation is not a one-time achievement. We are continually updating our program to stay on top of the latest massage research and industry needs, and we do that because we believe our students deserve the best.
Choosing a school that teaches the national curriculum standard means that you’ll be a better massage therapist, and will be in demand from clients, employers, and clinic owners. You will be able to treat your clients effectively and be prepared for the challenges of any area of practice that interests you.
If you choose to practice outside of Alberta, you will have the knowledge you need to write an entry-to-practice exam in one of the provinces where the massage profession and massage education is regulated by the Professions Act of that province, including BC, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and PEI.
Because our program is a full-time, 2200-hour licensed program in Alberta, you will be able to join a professional association, and your training will be recognized by insurance companies so that clients with extended medical benefits can be reimbursed for your treatments.