Otago Polytechnic

Certificate in Stress Management and Spa Therapies (Level 5)

This programme will prepare you for a career within the spa industry, as a stress management educator or a wellness and relaxation massage therapist positioned at the premium end of the market.

You will develop excellent massage technique, an understanding of anatomy and physiology, and investigate the models and techniques of holistic stress management that complement the practice of massage.

Studied through a blend of online learning, practical block courses held approximately every three weeks, and clinical experience in the Polytechnic’s Massage Therapy Clinic under the supervision of experienced massage therapists, this Certificate is the equivalent of the first year of the Diploma in Advanced Therapeutic Massage (Level 6). 

Relationship with Massage New Zealand (MNZ) 

Otago Polytechnic enjoys a strong relationship with Massage New Zealand, the only massage specific membership body in New Zealand for professional Massage Therapists. Their purpose is to promote massage therapy and the ongoing development of the massage industry in New Zealand through educating the public about the benefits of massage therapy for health and wellness.   

Please note: From February 2018, this programme name will change to the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5)* (subject to final approval). This is due to a national review of qualifications that is being carried out by NZQA across all New Zealand tertiary institutions. 

Career possibilities 
  • Stress Management Educator
  • Massage Therapist  
What will this programme cover?
  • Relaxation massage
  • The theory of massage
  • Massage practice
  • Stress management
  • Thermal stones
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Communication and customer service
  • Anatomy
  • Bioscience. 
2017 block course dates
  • Mon 20 - Fri 24 February, 2017 
  • Tues 7 - Fri 10 March, 2017 
  • Tues 28 - Fri 31 March, 2017 
  • Tues 2 - Fri 5 May, 2017 
  • Tues 23 - Fri 26 May, 2017 
  • Tues 13 - Fri 16 June, 2017
  • Mon 17 - Fri 21 July, 2017 
  • Tues 1 - Fri 4 August, 2017 
  • Tues 22 - Fri 25 August, 2017 
  • Tues 12 - Fri 15 September, 2017 
  • Tues 10 - Fri 13 October, 2017 
  • Tues 31 October - Fri 3 November, 2017 
Further study options
Entry requirements
  • We prefer that you have a minimum of 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 (or equivalent) made up of
    • at least 12 credits at NCEA Level 2 English
    • at least 12 credits at NCEA Level 2 science, and
    • a minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 2 in at least one other subject, OR
    •  you have relevant and current work experience (of at least two years).
  • The tasks undertaken require evidence of competence in science and English, as specified above.
  • Applications from mature students (over 20) are welcome.
  • You will be required to submit a personal statement outlining why you wish to enter this programme and which of your personal qualities and experiences support your application.
  • You will be required to take part in an interview.
  • For health and safety reasons, you must declare any health conditions and hold a current first aid certificate (or be prepared to work towards one).
  • Due to the online nature of the programme, you will also need to have some familiarity with the use of computers.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no band score less than 5.5.

If you don’t have the entry requirements above, talk to us about whether you have the equivalent skills and knowledge or to determine if this is the right programme for you. 

Please note: this programme is subject to minimum numbers.

Additional documentation 

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Additional costs
  • Course-related materials such as massage tables, textbooks and a uniform will come to a maximum cost of $1,000 per year
  • It is also essential that you have a home computer with a broadband connection. 
Student loans and allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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