Massage Therapist Job Description
Massage therapists manipulate soft tissues to reduce stress, increase relaxation, or rehabilitate injuries.
Therapists have to be comfortable using many different massage techniques, depending on the needs of their clients. For instance, treating an athlete recovering from an injury requires a very different approach than treating someone who is out for a relaxing day at the spa.
Because of these varying needs, many massage therapists choose to specialize in one type of massage. Sports massage, deep tissue massage, and hot stone massage are a few common specialties, but there are many others as well.
Some massage therapists know what type of massage they’d like to specialize in from the very beginning of their training, while others develop their specializations naturally based on the environment they choose to work in.
Work Environment and Schedule
The majority of massage therapists are self-employed, but there are also plenty of opportunities out there for people who want a little more security in their career. Salons, chiropractors, hotels, and fitness centers all frequently employ massage therapists.
The schedule for people working in this occupation varies greatly depending on where they work. For instance, therapists who work in doctor’s offices normally enjoy a regular schedule from Monday through Friday, while those who provide massages in homes often need to work nights and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.
Most massage therapists work part time, though plenty of full time opportunities are also available.
How to Become a Massage Therapist
Most massage therapists learn their trade by attending a massage therapy program. In most instances, a high school diploma is required for enrollment.
If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist and want to attend a school, make sure that it’s accredited before you enroll. If it isn’t, you may not be able to get the licenses you need to practice.
The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most require a that massage therapists graduate from an accredited program and pass one of two tests: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination.
There are currently 153,700 massage therapists in the United States, with 5,590 new massage therapist job openings created each year.
Massage Therapist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Massage Therapist Salaries
Massage Therapist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most massage therapists make between $24,800 – $50,700 per year, or $11.93 – $24.38 per hour.