Clinical Massage Technical Standards

Purpose Statement

All students in the Clinical Massage Program are expected to meet certain technical standards which are essential for the successful completion of all phases of the program, and which reflect industry requirements and standards. To verify the student’s ability to perform these essential functions, students may be required to demonstrate the technical standards below.

Meeting these technical standards does not guarantee employment in this field upon graduation. The ability to meet the program’s technical standards does not guarantee a student’s eligibility for any certification exams or successful completion of the program.


Technical Standard Definition of Standards Examples
Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving Skills Abilities are sufficient for the classroom, lab, and work in clinical situations.
  • Collect data, prioritize needs, and anticipate reactions.
  • Identify cause-effect relationships in clinical situations.
  • Sequence information.
  • Make decisions independently within a role.
  • Transfer knowledge from one situation to another.
  • Process information from multiple sources.
  • Analyze and interpret abstract and concrete data.
  • Evaluate outcomes.
  • Use long-term and short-term memory.
  • Prioritize tasks.
  • Receive, interpret, and correctly complete assignments (e.g.: reading, research, writing, and presentations).
Interpersonal Skills Abilities are sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Establish rapport with clients, teammates, instructors, staff, colleagues, and others participating in projects.
  • Respect and care for citizens whose appearance, condition, beliefs, and values may conflict with your own.
  • Deliver massage care regardless of clients’ race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or diagnosis.
  • Establish and maintain therapeutic boundaries.
  • Exhibit ethical behavior and exercise good judgment.
  • Manage interpersonal conflict.
  • Establish professional relationships.
Communication Skills Abilities are sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.
  • Document and interpret actions and client responses in a clear, professional, and timely manner.
  • Speak and write English clearly and distinctly in preparing documents. Listen and comprehend spoken and written words.
  • Provide and follow directions from other members of the class or instructors.
  • Convey information to clients and others as necessary to teach and direct in an accurate, effective, and timely manner as directed by the supervisor.
  • Recognize and report critical client information to other appropriate authorities if needed for the client’s safety or the safety of others.
  • Demonstrate active listening skills.
Coping Skills Ability to maintain a state of harmony.
  • Solves personal and interpersonal problems.
  • Minimizes stress and conflict.
  • Balances internal needs and external demands.
Mobility/Motor Skills

Physical abilities are sufficient to move in one’s environment with ease and without restriction.

Gross and fine motor abilities are sufficient to provide safe and effective Clinical Massage skills.

  • Move around, and work in confined spaces and treatment areas.
  • Maintain balance in multiple positions.
  • Reach below the waist (e.g. plug an electrical appliance into a wall outlet).
  • Reach above shoulders (e.g. move cubicle curtains).
  • Reach out in front.
  • Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Sustain repetitive movement (e.g. CPR, Massage).
  • Be able to sustain the physical ability to be standing and/or walking for the majority of a 6-8 hour with only short breaks.
  • Pick up objects with hands.
  • Use equipment (Stones, Therapy Bars).
  • Grasp small objects with hands, and fingers (e.g. pencil).
  • Write with a pen or pencil.
  • Key/type (e.g. use a computer).
  • Pinch/ pick or otherwise work with fingers (e.g. skin rolling).
  • Squeeze with fingers (e.g. petrissage, deep tissue).
  • Reposition immobile clients.
  • Push/pull 50 pounds or greater.
  • Lift/move heavy objects up to 50 pounds.
  • Twist, bend, stoop/squat, climb stairs, and move quickly (e.g. responding to an emergency).
Auditory Skills Auditory abilities are sufficient to work effectively and safely.
  • Hear normal speaking-level sounds (e.g. person-to-person report).
  • Hear auditory alarms (monitors, fire alarms, call bells).
  • Hear faint voices or body sounds (e.g. prone client in face cradle, sounds of distress).
  • Hear cries for help.
  • Discern the instructor’s direction in a classroom, online, and lab environment.
  • Review videos in the classroom, online, and lab environment.
Visual Skills Visual ability is sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in the classroom, lab, and other locations on the campus.
  • Observe client responses, see a change in skin color, and read thermometers for hydro therapies.
  • See objects up to 20 feet away.
  • Read electronic medical records and/or associated paper medical records.
  • Use depth perception and peripheral vision.
  • Review course text.
Tactile Skills Tactile ability is sufficient for physical assessment.
  • Feel vibrations (e.g. muscle twitching/movements).
  • Detect temperature changes (e.g. skin, fluids).
  • Feel differences in surface characteristics (e.g. rashes).
  • Feel differences in sizes, and shapes (e.g. identify body landmarks).
  • Detect environmental temperature.
  • Detect odors (e.g. foul smelling drainage, smoke).
Environmental Possess the ability to tolerate environmental stressors.
  • Practice common safety precautions.
  • Safely work with potentially harmful chemicals used in health care settings.
  • Work in areas that are close, crowded, and/or noisy.
  • Anticipate exposure to communicable diseases, body fluids, and toxic substances.
  • Tolerate exposure to allergens (e.g. latex gloves).
  • Tolerate strong soaps and strong odors.
Emotional/Behavioral Emotional stability is sufficient to maintain composure in stressful situations and assume responsibility/accountability for actions.
  • Adapt rapidly to changing environments and/or stress.
  • Calmly receive feedback.
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity beyond reproach.
  • Provide the client with appropriate emotional support when needed using critical thinking skills.
  • Deal with the unexpected (e.g. client condition).
  • Focus attention on the task.
  • Cope with your own emotions.
  • Perform multiple responsibilities concurrently (e.g. ensuring appropriate tension and pressure of stroke while assessing physical and verbal responses while using body mechanics and safety measures observed).
  • Cope with strong emotions in others (e.g. grief).
  • Demonstrate sufficient emotional health to perform under stress, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all academic and work-based learning responsibilities.


In the case of an otherwise qualified individual with a documented disability, appropriate and reasonable accommodations will be made unless doing so would fundamentally alter the essential training elements, cause undue hardship, or produce a direct threat to the safety of the patient or student.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is invested in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Support Services is part of Student Services and is located in the K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center. For detailed information or to request accommodations visit Support Services. An appointment is recommended prior to enrollment in order to discuss any special concerns.