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How to Become a Massage Therapist

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Pamper Others, and Enjoy Flexible Work

If you love to pamper people, help them relax and contribute to their overall well-being, a career as a massage therapist could be exactly what you want. Find fulfillment knowing that you are helping clients learn about their bodies as your techniques relieve pain, heal injuries and increase circulation. Flexible hours make this a good career choice for someone juggling work responsibilities and raising a family.

Job Description

Massage therapists meet with clients to discuss medical history, symptoms and what they are hoping to achieve through treatment. Through touch, massage therapists provide relief and assistance with pain, stress, circulation and other health issues. Paperwork and client documentation are also important parts of the job, as well as maintaining a clean, comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. Massage therapists often use various massage oils, aromatherapy and special lighting to create a comfortable environment for clients.

Education Requirements

Massage therapists must earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and then enroll in a massage therapy program to learn about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology and massage techniques, and to gain hands-on experience serving clients. Different programs focus on different types of massage and working with clients, and require anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand hours of training—so do research to find a program that is a good fit for you. Most states require massage therapists to pass a test to obtain a license or certificate before practicing.

Industry

Roughly 39 percent of all massage therapists are self employed, which makes work extremely flexible when you're raising small children. Others work in personal care service environments, in medical offices, chiropractic offices, and hotels or resorts. Massage therapists may travel to clients, while others see clients in an office or their own home office. Work is often part-time because of the physical demands of providing services and working on your feet each day. Because of this, benefits may not be available, and you might need to purchase them privately or go through another family member's benefits.

Years of Experience

Experience and years on the job influence pay for massage therapists. Those who are self-employed may get to keep more of their hourly rate than those who are employed by others. One prediction of hourly income with experience looks like this:

  • Entry level: $10.69 to $39.97
  • Mid-career: $13.58 to $51.06
  • Experienced: $14.37 to $66.16
  • Late career: $10.95 to $86.70.

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for massage therapists are expected to grow an impressive 24 percent over the next decade, which is a great deal faster than in most other professions. As awareness and licensing for massage therapists increases, the profession is better understood and perceived, and more people become interested in seeking services to treat health conditions and improve overall wellness.