Massage Therapy Careers

Massage therapy careers have emerged in the job market over the past 20 years at an enormous rate. With an estimated 20% increase in massage jobs anticipated over the next decade, traditional four-year college educations are being re-considered.

As of January 2014, it is estimated that the United States is home to over 320,000 licensed, certified, or registered massage therapy professionals, with over 26,000 students in school to learn to become a massage therapist.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapist jobs accounted for around 132,400 of all jobs open in 2012.

Approximately, 55-60 percent of those were self-employed massage therapists. Many practitioners have massage therapy careers as a second income as well.

Massage therapist jobs are expected to grow 23% faster than most average jobs over the next 10-12 years. So, opportunities for those who complete massage training, and pass the professionally recognized examination, will likely have a great career

Massage careers are expected to increase from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for most all occupations. The demand for therapists is projected to grow as more people learn about massage therapy benefits for overall health and well-being.

But, if you have several massage therapists in the same community that you are interested in working, you might want to search other areas to potentially practice and/or start your business.

Facts about Massage Therapy Careers

  • Massage therapist jobs on average pay $20.00 an hour, working for someone or a company (after taxes and including tips) for massage therapy services
  • 55% of Doctors recommend Massage Therapy to their patients
  • 42% of physical therapists recommend massage services
  • Massage therapy is now available in almost 40% of hospitals across the world
  • Therapists charge an average of $80.00 for a specialty massage service like pregnancy massage, or $75.00 in private practice for a one hour regular massage service
  • 66% of patients under regular physician care receive massage therapy for pain management
  • Chiropractors are hiring massage therapists and for those who don't, 48% of Chiropractors recommend massage therapy to their patients
  • 76% of Massage Therapists say they receive lots of referrals from many different healthcare professionals
  • Massage Therapists see an average of 40-52 clients per month, and if they follow good self care, can practice with this many clients for many years

Consider these tips as you begin to prepare for these massage therapy careers:

1. Know Demand vs. Supply in Your Area

Good massage therapists are in demand, even in our crazy economy. With it's decline and then surge over the past 4-5 years, people are very stressed and worried about jobs and money, which often leads them to seek massage.

However, if you have too many massage therapists in your community, and the supply of service providers is high, it may be very hard to actually make a living in this field.

Learning a specialty will help you stand out from the rest. Massage therapy CEU's are a great way to learn new and trendy techniques that will help you make more money. These services will usually allow a practitioner opportunity to grow a specialized practice for a certain population group.

Consider taking specialized CE classes through webinar if you do not want to take the time away from your practice to learn new types of massage therapy. Those who have life-long massage therapy careers have specialty services that they provide, maybe something few others offer.

Massage therapy videos are also a great way to learn new and in-demand techniques.

2. Choose Your Massage School Very Carefully

Massage schools either have a good reputation of teaching students the education, techniques, and business skills needed to begin practicing massage...or not. Usually, for those spas, physicians, chiropractors and other businesses, who normally hire therapists right after massage school, that reputation is very well known.

The starting salaries for massage therapy professionals will often be higher if you have attended a school that is known to provide students a great education.

You will also want to consider the types of massage schools you must choose from. You may attend traditional massage school, online massage school or community college in order to have a degree in massage therapy.

Choosing a good massage school, is a very important decision. Be sure to read my "Massage School Tips" page before you choose your school.

3. Learn about Different Massage Jobs

Anymore, there are so many different types of massage therapy jobs to choose from, you really have to stay connected to other therapists via social media groups to find the newest techniques and products available.

Spa jobs are often the first type of job a therapist will have, and if the spa pays well and the spa continues to grow, the therapist may choose to spend their entire career in the spa business. Learn about interview questions asked in a spa job interview.

However, many therapists choose to open a spa of their own.

Private practice is the business of choice for most practitioners, however, many who have a private practice also work in a spa or salon on a part-time basis, at least for a few years.

After several years as a practicing therapist, many choose to teach massage therapy continuing education classes, which allows for traveling and making connections with other instructors, thereby, growing a network of teaching practitioners.

4. Salaries for Experienced Massage Therapists

On average, experienced massage therapist's salaries or wages are approximately $24-$39 dollars per hour, out of the $65-$75 per hour charge at the salon or spa.

Private practice owners can usually make a higher salary, but it often takes several years to build your clientele to a point that you can afford to be on your own.

In addition, gratuities averaged $9-$10 per hour at the salon or spa, compared to only $6-$8 gratuity at a private practice.

The rate of pay for therapists and spa services are steadily increasing, and specialized, advanced massage techniques are still in very high demand, which can often produce high paying massage therapy careers.

Practitioners will often work an average of 10-20 hours per week, with an additional 1-2 hours of "building the business" related activities.

5. Find Your "Niche"

There are many home-study continuing education classes, websites and books that teach practitioners how to make a great massage therapist salary, however, I recommend extensive studies in a specialized "niche" or modality of massage therapy.

If you are happy and confident about the work you do, and have more knowledge on your "niche" than any of the other therapists around you, you will make much more money in the long run.

6. Create and Follow Your Business Plan

New massage therapists should expect to work only part time until they can build clientele of their own. But, after a few years, full-time massage therapy careers (around 22 -27 hours per week) are possible, if self-care is practiced.

However, plan your future carefully. Have a massage therapy business plan that outlines what you want out of your business career. Outline how you will be prepared for specific "bumps" in the road, like illness or an office fire/natural disaster.

Learn more about:

Other Benefits of Being a Massage Therapist

Offering a healing touch could mean offering relaxation, therapeutic stress relief or much needed deep tissue work. But, it might also mean an offering of a quiet, calm place to just be or a non-judgmental listening ear.

Massage therapy careers allow practitioners the opportunity to help someone heal, both physically and mentally, without giving advice or saying much at all.

What used to be considered only a luxury, is now being practiced in many medical settings around the world. From cancer centers to rehab centers to hospice centers, you can now find massage therapist in variety of clinical settings.

For whatever reasons you are considering a massage therapy career, may you find the peace that comes with knowing you provide more than just a time of relaxation; you provide a genuine, healing touch.

Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage from Massage Therapy Careers

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