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Massage Therapist Job Description, Career as a Massage Therapist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

income therapists clubs health employed

Education and Training: Vocational/technical school

Salary: Median—$15.36 per hour

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Massage therapists massage their customers for therapeutic and remedial reasons. They also administer other kinds of body conditioning. Massage therapists are employed by community service associations, health clubs, resorts, retail centers, and country clubs. Some are self-employed and have their own clients or they may be hired by businesses for a day to give short massages to their overworked employees. They are sometimes called masseurs or masseuses.

Before giving a massage, therapists apply alcohol, lubricants, and other substances to the customer's body. They then massage the body by kneading, rubbing, and stroking the flesh. Massages stimulate blood circulation, relax tight muscles, and have other beneficial effects. Massage therapists use their hands and mechanical vibrating equipment to give massages.

Massage therapists also give steam and dry heat treatments, ultraviolet and infrared light treatments, and different types of water therapy. These treatments may be given at the customer's request or according to a physician's instructions. Therapists may instruct their customers in weight reduction, exercise, and body conditioning programs.

Education and Training Requirements

A person can become a massage therapist through formal training in a massage therapy program. Some schools will accept only those with a high school diploma or its equivalent. Training usually lasts from 6 to 12 months. Students are taught the theory and practice of massage, along with courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, hygiene, public health, and professional ethics. More than one-half of the states require massage therapists to pass a written and practical licensing examination to enter this field.

A massage therapist massages a customer by kneading, rubbing, and stroking the flesh. (Photograph by Kelly A. Quin. Thomson Gale. Reproduced by permission.)

Getting the Job

You can get a job as a massage therapist by registering with the placement service of the school you attend. You can also apply directly to health clubs, community service organizations, resorts, retail centers, and country clubs. Some jobs are listed in newspaper classifieds or job banks on the Internet. State and private employment agencies may help you find a job. You can also go into private practice and build your own clientele.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Massage therapists who work in large health clubs, resorts, retail centers, and country clubs can become supervisors or managers. Those who are employed by community service organizations can become health service directors. Massage therapists in private practice advance by building a reputation and a loyal clientele and by commanding higher fees for their services.

The employment outlook for massage therapists is good through the year 2014. The rising popularity of health clubs should result in an increase in the number of jobs in the field. Also, more massage therapists are bringing their services into the workplace, since a brief midday massage is now believed to increase employee productivity.

Working Conditions

Most massage therapists work 35 to 40 hours a week, although self-employed workers may work longer hours. A massage session can be from 10 minutes to 2 hours. The workweek usually includes evenings and weekends, which are generally the busiest times for massage therapists. Most of the working day is spent standing. Massage therapists work in clean, dimly lit rooms and, if self-employed, provide their own massage accessories, including a table, sheets and pillows, and oils. In some states, sanitary conditions are set by law.

Massage therapists must be able to work well with their hands. They should have a pleasant, courteous manner. The nature of their work demands that they be able to respect the privacy of their customers.

Where to Go for More Information

American Massage Therapy Association
500 Davis St., Ste. 900
Evanston, IL 60201-4695
(877) 905-2700

Earnings and Benefits

The wages of massage therapists range from minimum wage for beginning workers to $20 to $50 or more per hour for those with experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly salary for massage therapists is $15.36. Therapists often receive tips from their customers. Many massage therapists add to their income by giving massages in their customers' homes or in their own homes. Employers generally provide benefits that include paid vacations and holidays and health insurance. Self-employed massage therapists must provide their own benefits.

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almost 11 years ago

i make 40 bucks an our averaging 10 dollars in tips per person im awsome! i agree greatly!

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about 10 years ago

I agree with jfy. Most MTs I know of that work 35-40hrs per week tend to burn out or don't give a quality massage. I found 20-30 hrs is more than enough.

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over 10 years ago

My business partner does 7 appointments a day, five to six days a week, and has done so for about nine years; I've watched her do it. It is possible to do this many appointments, depending on the type of work.

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over 11 years ago

I don't agree that most MT's work 35-40 hrs/week performing massage. Generally, as a spa employee, the avg of 20-30 hrs/week is considered "full-time" for therapists.

I would hate for people who are interested in becoming MT's feel that they will be able to maintain a 35-40 hrs/wk schedule. They will either experience burnout or suffer serious injuries.

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almost 10 years ago

This information is very inaccurate. Most massage therapists start their own business. Most massage jobs are actually jobs where the massage therapist is a subcontractor which means that they are self employed.

It is best to only work 20-25 hours unless you are in really good shape and mentally prepared to work longer hours. Working more hours most end up injured or burned out.

You can make more as a self employed massage therapist.

Choose a career in massage if you love working with people, are passionate about massage and what it can do. If you love anatomy, learning about how people work emotionally and mentally.

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over 8 years ago

Full time for Massage Therapist should be 15-25 hours of HANDS-ON a week. You can do more if you only do relaxation or Swedish massage,but most clients prefer deeper work which usually means more effort and wear and tear on your body.Still, if you are especially strong, this may not bother you and you can do more than 25. Not recommended though. And you will still invest about 32-35 hours TOTAL a week (including hands-on time) just doing the behind the scenes things of the business. So, 15-20 hours hands-on a week is full time for LMTs. And according to Massage and Body Work Magazine, 4-5 hours hands-on massage a day equals ATHLETIC endurance. Self Care is ESSENTIAL. And even if you make $50 an hour there is OVERHEAD, to either your employer, or to you landlord if self employed. This is largely a modest living profession in truth.

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almost 8 years ago

I like to study the therapy by correspondent.

If there is any institute like that

pls reply my mail ID

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over 7 years ago


I am Massage Therapist I want a job

My experience 6Th years in Dubai

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over 7 years ago

Can you still be a good massage therapist even though you may have carpal tunnel syndrome

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about 8 years ago

I would really appreciate some great tips on becoming a Massage Therapist Subcontractor. Can any one help?

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about 8 years ago

I am a massage therapist getting involved with subcontracting and i'm sort of being thrusted in to it after a two year period. What sort of services should I provide with marketing included and also without over flowing my plate.

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over 8 years ago

I would like to know everything about massage and that when I found your site. I am an experience massuese but don,t have an any certificate. I wish to have one but don,t have maney to spend for the school. What I read at your article is quite inspiring to me and gives me motivation to save money so I can get my degree as a full pledge massage therapist.

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about 7 years ago

Wow. Who wrote this? It is totally inaccurate - as others have stated. Therapists should never accept "$15" per hour, and should never, ever work 40 hours a week. You've got to be kidding. Please get the writer of this article a new job.

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almost 10 years ago

So as someone looking into this field are you saying that this is really just a part time job earning you a part time salary? I could deal with the $15 per hour but if I am only working 20 hours a week it just wont cut it.

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2 months ago

If getting a career for massage therapy means that I get to go to vocational/technical school as you stated, then it should be easy for me to get one even if I finished college already. I like that you listed the employment outlook for this job as good since I've been thinking of switching careers for a good salary. It's also a good thing you said that I can also apply directly into health clubs because I'm not yet comfortable with starting a spa after finishing school, so I'll look for a good college offering the course first before applying for good measure.