Starting Salaries for Massage Therapy

Starting salaries for massage therapy will depend on where the therapist lives, where the therapist chooses to practice (spa, private practice, clinical office), the types of massage they provide and how many hours they will be working per week.

In the United States, starting salaries range from $14,000-$68,000, depending on where and how often the therapist works.

In addition to hourly charges, the therapist may also make significant money in massage tips. Some therapists make an additional $5-$20 per hour with gratuities, some make even more than that!

Spa services can be very costly.Scrubs, wraps, even hot stone massage can be well over $100 per hour, with basic relaxation or Swedish massage running $60-$80 per hour.

A massage therapist salary is determined by the rate they charge clients, or the hourly rate they are paid by the spa, clinic, or resort where they work.

However, keep in mind, therapists must pay hefty fees for license renewal, malpractice insurance, business license fees and other expenses.

Starting salaries for massage therapy for those who work at spas, clinics, or resorts are typically lower than a private practice therapist, because a private practice therapist makes the entire amount you pay, without having to share with the spa or pay rental fees for the room.

However, there are many expenses involved with running a private practice that therapists who work elsewhere do not have to pay.

Many therapists have clients sign up for email mailing lists.  Then, therapists send out email notices (or social media notices) about specials, or last minute openings, and the discounts can be steep or not. Sometimes, just knowing it is a discount can make clients schedule an appointment.

Keep in mind...

1) In massage therapy, as in most careers, experience rules! In other words, the more types of massage they know, the more high paying careers they have! If your therapist has years of experience, knows lots of techniques, and is in private practice, clients should expect to pay more.

2) Demand vs. supply matters! If you have 40 massage therapist in a 40 mile radius, starting salaries for massage therapy will not be as much as if you had one therapist in a 40 mile radius. The exception here is very remote, unpopulated, or poor areas.

3) Massage therapists are considered health care providers, at least in many states. Therefore, they pay a large payment each year for malpractice insurance, license renewal, and business license fees. They are also considered self-employed, which means they pay self-employment taxes, which is quite hefty!

Therapists must learn tax tips to prepare throughout the year for yearly tax preparation expenses, as well. Knowing what paperwork and documentation to save and how to keep it organized, can make those  payments easier.

4) Massage therapy supplies are not cheap. Just one gallon of massage oil can cost around $50, and that's for the less expensive stuff. Good quality oils, creams and lotions are costly, and most therapists want the best for their clients.

5) Rental fees are steep. A massage therapist may pay out hundreds per month to rent space in a salon, spa, or other private practice office. In addition, they may be helping to pay for additional insurance, advertising, laundry services, maintenance fees, utilities, and cleaning services.

Making the Highest Salary

No matter what career avenue a therapist chooses in massage, networking with other therapists, spa owners, educators, and schools is a must for the future. Those who have high paying careers are often networking via social media and face-to-face meetings.

However, an experienced massage therapist salary is typically higher if they own their own practice and employ others. Once a therapist builds a clientele and gains experience in the field, they usually opt for building their own business or opening a spa.

Most massage therapists work as independent contractors or as part-time personnel. Because the work is so physically demanding, many therapists may only work 10 - 12 hours per week, which greatly effects starting salaries for massage therapy, but might prolong their career.

Learning about how to build a profitable massage practice is detailed in this book, Massage Therapy Career Guide . It offers guidance on what it takes to become a massage therapist and what the work entails. It's filled with ideas for starting and maintaining a successful massage practice.

Massage therapy truly offers benefits that go far beyond the prices their client's pay.   

Offering relaxation and peace to a busy, stressed-out world ... massage therapists really deserve the money they earn..

Fatigue, anxiety, and tension cause people to experience health issues like never before in history, and a therapist's salary could never be high enough to repay the opportunity to release that stress and worry.

Demand for massage services will be a part of our society for years to come, and the starting salaries for massage therapy will likely increase with that demand.

Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage from Starting Salaries for Massage Therapy

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