High school, college and professional sports teams rely on massage therapists to help their athletes recover from muscle and joint injuries so they can resume their sports activities. Sports team massage therapists discuss symptoms with athletes, massage their injured muscles and joints, and take them through stretching and strength-building exercises to help them recover and to prevent future injuries. If you want to become a sports team massage therapist, you need to complete courses and training in message therapy. Your salary can vary considerably depending on where you work.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary of a sports team massage therapist was $44,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. To become a massage therapist, you need at least a high school diploma and up to 500 hours of postsecondary classroom instruction and training, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia require their message therapists to have licenses. Other important qualifications are empathy, physical strength and stamina, an attention to detail, and communication skills.
In 2013, average annual salaries for sports team massage therapists varied most significantly in the South, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the lowest salaries, $35,000, in Mississippi and the highest salaries, $70,000, in Washington, D.C. Those in the Northeast made $40,000 to $54,000 per year in Maine and Massachusetts, respectively. If you worked as a sports team massage therapist in South Dakota or Minnesota, you'd earn an average of $35,000 or $47,000, respectively -- the lowest and highest salaries in the Midwest. In the West, you'd make the most in California or Alaska or the least in Montana at $50,000 or $35,000, respectively.
While sports team massage therapists earned $44,000 in 2013, according to Simply Hired, the average annual salaries for all massage therapists were $40,350 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent made more than $70,140 annually. Massage therapists' salaries were relatively high in nursing care facilities and at technical or trade schools -- $56,790 and $51,060, respectively. Those in Alaska, Vermont and Rhode Island earned the highest salaries of $84,120, $58,050 and $54,680, respectively.
The BLS projects a 20 percent increase in employment for message therapists from 2010 to 2020 -- a faster-than-average growth rate compared to the 14 percent national average for all occupations. An increase in the number of spas and massage clinics is expected to increase demand for massage therapists in the next decade. Sports teams also have a greater demand for message therapists to improve their athletes' performance.