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Massage Therapy Career and Salary

Article Sources

Sources:

2014 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet, American Massage Therapy Association, released Feb. 8, 2014, http://www.amtamassage.org/infocenter/economic_industry-fact-sheet.html

Massage Therapists, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/current/oes319011.htm

Massage Therapists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm

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Massage isn't just for pampering -- it's increasingly being recognized as an important component of a healthy life. Studies have shown massage therapy to be effective in treating conditions ranging from cancer-related fatigue to substance abuse withdrawal, fibromyalgia, headaches, high blood pressure and more. This may be why the massage therapy career outlook appears quite strong.

Careers in massage therapy

Massage therapists are specially trained to use touch to manipulate soft tissue to relieve stiffness or pain, improve circulation, relieve stress and promote wellness. There are many specialties within massage therapy, also called modalities, including Swedish massage, sports massage and others, and some therapists specialize in certain types of clients, such as athletes, the elderly or pregnant women.

A massage session generally involves assessing clients' goals, symptoms and medical histories, then applying massage to areas around the body, evaluating areas of tension or pain. They may also provide guidance on stretching, relaxation or strengthening and document clients' progress, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov).

Massage therapy career outlook

In 2013, massage therapy was an $8-$10 billion industry in the U.S., according to the American Massage Therapy Association, with roughly 35 million Americans having at least one massage between July 2012 and July 2013. As health care practitioners increasingly recommend massage to patients due to its widely reputed benefits, careers in massage therapy should experience continued growth. This, combined with an aging baby boomer population and growth among massage franchises, should open further opportunities in this field. The BLS projects faster-than-average job growth of 23 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Massage therapy salaries

Two-thirds of massage therapists only work part time, and the AMTA says that the majority do this work as a second career, with nearly half earning income in another profession and working an average of 15 hours/week providing massage. The average per-hour fee charged in 2012 was $65, according to the AMTA.

CareerProjected Number of New JobsProjected Job Growth Rate
Massage Therapists36,50021.6
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

The BLS reports the national median hourly wage of massage therapists in May 2013 was $17.27, and the national median annual wage was $35,920.

Job statistics for massage therapy

In 2012, 44 states and the District of Columbia regulated massage therapy. In these states, licensure or certification is required. The AMTA says there are more than 360 accredited massage therapy schools and programs in the U.S., and the BLS says that most programs require at least 500 hours of study for completion, with many requiring more than that. The average massage therapist takes an average of 21 hours of continuing education per year.

Every program is different, so explore those listed here to ensure you find the right one to suit your needs and goals.

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Brightwood College , Palm Springs
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    Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986. The most significant evolution of the College started when its third CEO, Dr. Sabrina Kay, assumed leadership in 2007. Fremont College became an innovative center adopting the framework of Work-Based Learning Leadership at the Wharton School and Dr. Kay’s thesis on improved learning through practice and collaboration.
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      Trade schools in Los Angeles are built on a solid foundation of academic experience, especially Advanced College in South Gate. The founders of Advanced College have 40 years of experience when they opened their own institute of higher learning in 1999, which means Advanced College was student-oriented from day one. Our reputation as a leading vocational nursing & Allied Health school in Los Angeles is well-established, but that is just the beginning. Our expansive South Gate Campus has grown in our time as a school in order to make room for our daily operations. However, our expansion goes beyond the boundaries of our walls.

        Massage Therapy
        Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy. We offer programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and holistic health, plus a combination esthetics/massage program.
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          • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
          • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
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          Mayfield College , Cathedral City
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          • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
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          Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program
          • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
          • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
          • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
          • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
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          Cosmetology
          • Students can obtain experience and expertise in the latest cosmetology procedures and techniques, plus the salon business skills needed to put their talents to use.  
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          Master of Science - Sports Science & Rehabilitation
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          Rehabilitation Sciences (Master of Science) - Online
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          • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost. Student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1
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