Massage therapy qualifications in New Zealand are in a process of transition.
Over the last 25 years there has been an evolution in the educational programmes for training entry level Massage Therapists. Early educational practices were informal and revolved around the weekend workshop. In 1992, the first 'formal' massage diploma was delivered. The advent of NZQA unit standards in 1999/2001 provided a National Certificate and National Diploma in Massage Therapy. More recently, the education of Massage Therapists commonly involved a six month Certificate in Relaxation Massage or a one to two year Diploma in Therapeutic Massage. Since 2002, there has also been a Bachelor's degree in massage therapy.
In late 2015, the industry in association with NZQA decided that the Level 4 Certificate in Relaxation Massage was no longer adequate preparation for entry into the Relaxation and Wellness massage therapy industry. As a result, education providers are phasing out the Level 4 qualification. In general, from 2016/2017 onwards there will be three main levels of undergraduate massage therapy education.
Level 5 Diploma
Level 6 Diploma
Level 7 Bachelor's Degree
Staircasing of Massage Therapy Qualifications
When each level is satisfactorily completed a student will be awarded a qualification. The higher level diploma and bachelor degrees build on the levels below and are required.
New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5).
The purpose of this qualification is to provide the health sector and massage therapy industry with people who can provide wellness and relaxation massage therapy services. Graduates will be able to work within the scope of practice defined by wellness and relaxation massage. Graduates will communicate and refer with remedial Massage Therapists, allied health, wellness and medical professionals for those specialist services. Graduates will be capable of working independently.
New Zealand Diploma in Remedial Massage (Level 6).
The purpose of this qualification is to provide the health sector and massage therapy industry with people who can provide remedial massage therapy services. Graduates will be able to work within the scope of practice defined by remedial massage and wellness and relaxation massage. Graduates will communicate and refer with other Massage Therapists, allied health, wellness and medical professionals for those specialist services. Graduates will be capable of working independently in an unsupervised and autonomous self-managing capacity.
Bachelor's degree qualifications (Level 7).
NZQA states that
A Bachelor's Degree provides individuals with a systematic and coherent introduction to a body of knowledge of a recognised major subject as well as to problem-solving and associated basic techniques of self-directed work and learning. A Bachelor's Degree involves at least one sequential study programme in which content is progressively developed such that it might form a basis for postgraduate study and/or professional practice. Bachelor's Degrees are taught mainly by people engaged in research.
A graduate of a Bachelor's Degree is able to:
- demonstrate intellectual independence, critical thinking and analytic rigour
- engage in self-directed learning
- demonstrate knowledge and skills related to the ideas, principles, concepts, chief research methods and problem-solving techniques of a recognised major subject
- demonstrate the skills needed to acquire, understand and assess information from a range of sources
- demonstrate communication and collaborative skills.
- More Information
NZQA Accredited Providers in NZ
Find a Therapist: