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Education and Training: Certificate, diploma, or degree (depending on program)
Average Salary: $16.78 per hour
Job Outlook: Faster than average

A masseuse uses touch to manipulate muscles and tissue to alleviate pain, discomfort, injury, and relieve stress. The type of massage therapy depends on the specialization, also known as the modality, of the therapist. Many masseuses work independently, while others work in nursing homes, sports medicine facilities, beauty shops, fitness centers, or hospitals. Massage therapy has been proven to successfully ease back pain symptoms, depression, arthritis, fatigue, pain from injury, stress, and also promotes health and contentment.

According to the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, there are over 250 types of modalities. Most masseuses specialize in specific modalities such as Swedish or deep tissue massage and may use oils, creams, and lotions in addition to touch to treat clients.

Education and Training Requirements

Training programs range from 500 to 1000 hours with students receiving a diploma, certificate, or degree upon completion. In addition, many states require licensing before an employee can legally start work. Since requirements vary by state, it is recommended to look into the requirements for the state for which you wish to practice massage therapy.

Massage therapy topics of study include courses on medical science: anatomy and physiology, as well as kinesiology, massage techniques, first aid and CPR. Business courses are also a part of the curriculum. Most programs offer continuing education classes for those who wish to update their skills.

Excellent people and diagnostic skills as well as good communications skills are vital to building a clientele for the masseuse. Masseuses must be able to interview clients to ascertain their needs and to learn their medical history. Masseuses must also be capable of building a rapport with clients to ensure follow-up business.

Getting the Job

Massage therapy is not an on-the-job training vocation. Most states have licensing and training requirements that one must meet before they can begin work as a masseuse. The licensing is either a state exam or the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment is faster than average and should increase by 19 percent. Many schools offer classes that allow for continuing education and enhancement of skills.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working environment is varied according to the type of industry the masseuse works in and the needs of the client. For instance, some masseuses may travel to the client’s home to give massages. Massage therapy is a physically demanding job and injuries, if care is not taken, are hazards of the job.

Salary and Benefits

The median starting salary for a masseuse is $16.78 per hour. Fifty percent of masseuses earn between $11.36 and $25.14 per hour. Many masseuses work on a part-time basis until they build-up a client base and most do not have health benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
25188 Genesee Trail Road, Suite 200
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 674-8478
Fax: (800) 667-8260

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
1901 South Meyers Road, Suite 240
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Phone: (630) 627-8000
Fax: (630) 627-1122

Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
7111 W 151st Street, Suite 356
Overland Park, Kansas 66223
Phone: (913) 681-0380
Fax: (913) 681-0391

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine