Craven Community College (Craven CC) is rolling out a new Massage Therapy program beginning April 2. A fee-waived orientation session will be held on Tuesday, February 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Naumann Community Room, located in Ward Hall on the New Bern campus.

“Massage therapy is an increasingly sought-after career that doubles as a health and personal care service,” said Workforce Development Coordinator Tangye Middleton. “Students will get in-depth instruction from experienced professionals, setting them up for certification in a lucrative field.”

The orientation will include an overview of the upcoming Therapeutic Massage program, course breakdowns, and information on career options and income potential in the massage therapy field. The program will be designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of massage, including basic techniques of Swedish massage through hands-on training, as well as education in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, chair massage, and ethical practices in massage therapy.

As the program progresses, students will study advanced therapeutic massage techniques to increase fundamental knowledge of massage therapy. Continued education in kinesiology, introduction to pathology, assessment skills, somatic psychology, and business management skills will be covered, and clinical skills will be assessed in preparation for licensure. There will also be a clinical component that allows students to gain experience working directly with clients.

Upon program completion, students will be eligible to take the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). After passing the MBLEx, students can apply for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy and begin their professional career as a Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist (LMBT).

The Massage Therapy program is led by Tracy Lee (LMBT), an approved provider through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Lee owns Kneaded Yoga Massage off Glenburnie Road, where she offers therapeutic massage services designed to help those needing increased mobility, flexibility, and rehabilitation from injury or trauma, as well as those who just need some personal pampering. She also offers continuing education classes to colleagues.

“I went to work in the massage therapy profession after a 15-year career in emergency services,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people, which made my transition to massage therapy an easy choice.”

After spending 10 years working for franchises, the COVID-19 pandemic helped Lee decide to go into private practice exclusively. During this time, she also noticed that many massage therapists closed their practices or went into different professions, while schools offering massage therapy programs closed their doors. This created an increased demand for massage therapists but a shortage of available training, which is something that Craven CC plans to change for Craven County and surrounding areas.

In addition to providing restorative massages, massage therapists work with different healthcare practitioners, including chiropractors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. This is because many patients require therapeutic massage in addition to services from the other healthcare professionals to achieve the desired treatment results.

“Training on the fundamentals of massage will make you a valuable part of a healthcare team,” said Lee. “Your training could lead to practicing massage while traveling the world on a cruise ship, or working directly with sports teams.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of massage therapy has seen above-average growth in recent years and is expected to skyrocket 18% through 2032. The median annual wage as of May 2022 was $49,860.

Craven CC’s Therapeutic Massage program will begin April 2. For additional information and to register for the orientation session, visit, call 252-638-7248, or email

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