What Massage Therapists Do
Massage therapists use a variety of massage techniques to help their clients relieve muscle pain, reduce stress, and decrease anxiety. Massage therapists need to have a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology so that they can deliver safe and effective massages to their clients. Many massage therapists choose to start their own practice. In these cases, massage therapists are also business people. In addition to performing massages, they handle business duties such as marketing, networking, and billing.
Where Massage Therapists Work
As massage therapy is rising in popularity, there are numerous places where you may find work, such as:
- Massage franchises
- Fitness clubs and gyms
- Physical therapy offices
- Chiropractors’ offices
- Hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities
- Luxury resorts and spas
- Shopping malls
- Private practice
The Professional Environment
The work environment of massage therapists varies, depending on the type of facility where you work. Some environments are clinical, such as physical therapy offices and hospitals. Others are more relaxed, such as fitness clubs, hotels, and spas. Many massage therapists are in private practice, and deliver massages at their home spas, or at the homes of their clients.
The work of a massage therapist is physically demanding, and massage therapists have to take precautions and use safe techniques to avoid injury. Massage therapists, especially those who are self-employed, often provide their own massage table, linens, lotions, and oils. Some massage therapists work several jobs in several locations while they are developing a client base.
The job outlook for massage therapists is good. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of massage therapists is expected to increase by 22 percent from 2014 to 2024. This rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.
The handbook notes that massage therapy has become more popular in recent years, sparking an increase in spas. The handbook says, “The number of spas, which employ a large number of therapists, has increased in recent years. The number of massage clinic franchises has also been increasing, many of which offer more affordable massages than those at spas and resorts, making them available to a wider range of customers.”
The demand for massage therapy is also expected to rise among older groups. The handbook explains, “The demand for massage therapy should grow among older age groups because they increasingly are enjoying longer, more active lives.”
The handbook also predicts that the field of massage therapy will gain more respect. More and more states have adopted licensing requirements, and with these standards comes a greater respect for the field.
Salary and Wage Trends for Massage Therapists
What can you expect to make as a massage therapist? A good place to learn more about wage and salary trends is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. In this handbook, you can find the annual median wage for massage therapists. Please note that salaries across the country can vary because of factors such as where you live, your level of experience, your skill set, and the type of massage facility where you work.
Earning a national certification is one way that you can improve your job opportunities and job security. In addition, as you gain more experience and perform well in your job, you can expect your income to increase.
Massage Therapy and Certification
Licensing and certification are two important credentials for massage therapists to obtain. More and more states, including Massachusetts where Salter is located, are requiring a massage license in order to practice massage, and most licensing processes require that you are nationally certified.
At Salter, our curriculum prepares you to sit for a national certification exam through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Earning a certification will give you the added advantage of entering your new job field with credibility, marketability, and proven skills.
More information about the licensing process in Massachusetts is available through the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Massage Therapy.
Still Trying to Decide?
Still trying to decide which program is right for you? At Salter, we offer numerous career-focused programs that may interest you. Take your time and review our list of programs. We want your new career to begin with us.