Massage therapists are licensed, trained professionals who specialize in providing a range of therapeutic treatments for patients and clients. The job requires a knowledge of multiple massage methods, exceptional people skills, good physical stamina, and an understanding of the best techniques in the profession. Besides massage, some practitioners also provide ancillary services, including aromatherapy, facials, salt scrubs, hot rock therapy, spa treatments, and mud baths.
Massage therapists offer hands-on soft tissue manipulation, both for stress reduction and relaxation, as well as for physical therapy and chiropractic requirements. They discuss patient or client needs, offer suggestions for techniques and approach, answer queries about different styles, and give after-treatment instructions. Massage therapists are literally on their feet for a good time of their day and must have the significant upper body strength to perform their role effectively.
Most states require massage therapists to be licensed and trained in massage therapy, but beyond a high school diploma, additional qualifications are not necessarily needed. Training may be found through community colleges or vocational schools. Big cities may also have massage therapy training schools. Some massage therapists graduate with college degrees in fields such as health, and wellness, kinesiology, or stress management, to provide greater insight into the profession and make themselves more presentable. Those with experience and advanced education can also teach massage therapy.
Massage therapists work in massage parlors, spas, resorts and doctor’s offices. Some also work in mobile massage capacities, in private practice, or in settings like trade shows or malls or where instant chair massages are offered. Wellness, and homeopathic centers, reflexology centers, also employ massage therapists, as do resorts and large hotels, athletic training facilities, and health clubs.
How Much Do Massage Therapists Make
Careers in the U.S:
Experienced massage therapists tend to have higher earning potential than their entry-level peers. This is partially because of their exposure to best techniques and practices and because skilled massage therapists often establish a customer base and attract a following. This increases their workplace options, makes them more attractive to potential employers, and increases their earning potential(1).
0-5 years: $21,105 – $78,635
5-10 years: $24,069 – $92,767
10-20 years: $26,665 – $125,769
Over 20 years: $26,287- $161,090
Pay by Employer
The biggest employers of massage therapists in 2019 were personal care services, which included therapists with their own studios. The 55,350 professionals in this group averaged $45,060 per annum, or $21.66 an hour. The top salaries were in other services that focused on Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals. Average pay reached $67,560, or $32.48 an hour. Next for wages were Individual and Family Services. Averages there were $62,210, or $29.91 per hour.
Pay by Location
The state with the highest employment level in this occupation was California. The average pay for the 16,330 practitioners there was $43,690, or $21.01 per hour. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, boasted the most massage therapy jobs of any metro area, with 7,440 therapists averaging $53,270, or $25.61 an hour. The state with the highest pay was Alaska, where a high cost of living pushed average salaries to $77,080, or $37.06 an hour. That state’s largest city, Anchorage, had the most top average pay for any metro area, $76,930, or $36.98 an hour.
Careers in Europe:
An entry-level Massage Therapist with less than one year experience can expect to make an average total compensation (includes bonus, tips, and overtime pay) of £14.74. An early career Massage Therapist with 1-5 years of experience makes an average total compensation of £11.99. A mid-career Massage Therapist with 5-10 years of experience makes an average total compensation of £10.17. An experienced Massage Therapist with 10-20 years of experience makes an average total compensation of £11.25. In their late-career (20-plus years), employees make an average total remuneration of £25.
Careers in Asia:
An early career Massage Therapist with 1-5 years of experience makes an average total compensation (includes bonus, tips, and overtime pay) of ₹220,000. A mid-career Massage Therapist with 5-10 years of experience makes an average total remuneration of ₹185,000.
Job Growth Trends
It’s expected that the massage therapy occupation will grow at a significantly above-average rate through 2026. This is partly because of the growing demand for massage therapy services and increased awareness of the benefits of massage therapy.