[October 19, 2018 – Mena, Ark.] The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has officially approved a new massage therapy program to begin in January 2019 at UA Rich Mountain, making the local college the first and only Arkansas public college to offer such program. Dr. Maria Markham, Director of ADHE stated, “Part of the mission of Arkansas community colleges is to be responsive to industry and economic needs. I applaud UA Rich Mountain’s creation of a program in response to regional demand. Massage therapy is being recommended by physicians for its many wellness benefits and being the first public higher education institution in the state to offer this program shows the dedication UA Rich Mountain has to not only students but also the health of the community.”
Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Krystal Thrailkill, who has worked extensively advocating for the new program the last year, explained that the program will save students almost two-thirds of the cost of a private program and financial aid will be available to qualified students.
Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person's health and well-being. There are dozens of types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities). In Arkansas, the average median income for a licensed massage therapist is just over $45,000.
The program hours will be Monday – Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and will be housed within the UA Rich Mountain Cosmetology facility currently located inside the Northside Shopping Center. Minor modifications were made to the cosmetology facility to accommodate the additional program.
The instructor for the massage therapy program will be Tammy Parnell, a licensed master massage therapist certified in medical massage.
UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said this is another example of the college’s responsiveness to interests in the community, “The public’s input on our programs is critical to us and we appreciate hearing from them. The new massage therapy program is an excellent example that we are willing to pave new roads in the realm of higher education to make it available to our students. New programs don’t happen overnight but when we know there is a high enough interest, we work diligently to make those happen. We are in the early stages of developing a criminal justice program so we encourage you to always communicate your interests with our staff throughout the communities we serve. Your feedback is important to our mission.”
Registration will open November 12th and financial aid will be available to qualified applicants. There are only 15 slots available for the program so interested students are encouraged to apply online at UARichMountain.edu, text RICHMTN to 34166, contact Dr. Thrailkill by email or calling 479-394-7622 ext. 1300.
Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said the college is committed to being responsive to the needs and interests of the community and is continuously working to develop additional programs.