Idaho State University is ending its massage therapy program.
ISU made the announcement last spring, and stopped accepting applications for the program.
Eight students are in ISU’s "Teach Out" plan, which allows students who had started massage therapy in the past to finish their degree.
On the surface, massage therapy looks like a good career choice. ISU’s website says 100% of its massage therapy graduates over the past five years got a job or continued their education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of massage therapists to grow at an above average rate, 22% from 2018 to 2028.
But while hourly wages have gone up for massage therapists, according to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy jobs are often part time and don't include benefits.
Enrollment in ISU’s program over the past five years has declined, despite what the school calls an "aggressive" marketing campaign. This is also a national problem, with the AMTA reporting student enrollment down almost 19% since 2011.
And fewer student means tougher competition for schools.
"There are three other private massage therapy programs here in our immediate region,” says Stuart Summers, the Associate Vice President for ISU Marketing and Communications.
“And those three programs have a lot more flexibility with their scheduling, they're less cost to get through and you can do it in a lot less time."
The resources from ISU’s massage therapy program will be reallocated across other career and technical programs in the college of technology.
ISU’s massage therapy clinic will be open through April 21, 2020 at https://isu.edu/massagetherapy/massage-clinic/