Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Massage therapy is both and art and a science.
So says Sonja McCall-Strehlow, and she would know.
She’s been a massage therapist for 37 years, and for the last 18 years she has taught Massage Therapy at Pensacola State College. Her accredited Massage Therapy program – she is the program coordinator/professor – is a vocational certificate program where students can earn their credentials in a year or less, depending on whether students attend day sessions, which are two semesters in length, or night classes, which is a year-long program. Both are 750-hour programs.
“One of the first things I ask student is ‘What brought you here?’,” McCall-Strehlow said. “Some think it will be just rubbing someone and then going off to make a lot of money. That’s not the case. It’s not an easy vocation. You have to learn about anatomy and physiology and kinesiology. You have to learn all the systems of the body. You need to learn about muscles and bone structure and how to manipulate those muscles without hurting someone.”
Michael Listau, PSC Workforce Director said PSC offers numerous vocational certification courses under the Cosmetology umbrella, including Nails Specialty, Barbering, Esthetics and traditional Cosmetology.
“These are programs where students can earn certificates fairly quickly and can then move into the workforce and re-stimulate the economy,” Listau said. “There’s a need for these careers. All of these programs have been created to meet the occupational demand.”
MCall-Strehlow limits her Massage Therapy classes to 16 students, allowing instructors to work closely with individual students.
“Our curriculum is thorough,” she said. “It’s a wellness program and many of our students go on to work for chiropractors, for spas and medical spas. Some want to go into business for themselves. Others work in rehab centers.”
Individuals who earn their Vocational Certificate are able to take the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy license examination.
She said her students learn medical massage, and how to massage people with skin conditions, as well as pregnant women, children and infants.
“I have vendors call me all the time and try to find my students because of what we do and the reputation of our program. “
Sarah Williams, a Baldwin County resident, earned her Massage Therapy Vocational Certificate just weeks ago, and hopes to find a job at the Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama.
“ I really enjoyed the Massage Therapy classes. I learned a lot. I was looking up schools in the area and looking at reviews and PSC’s Massage Therapy program got great reviews. It’s definitely a worthwhile program.”
For information on the Massage Therapy program, call 850-484-1642.
PHOTO: Massage Therapy coordinator Sonja McCall-Strehlow teaches her students anatomy, physiology and the systems of the human body.