Massage Therapist Career Outlook
If you are interested in a career that lets you help people feel great, then perhaps you will want to become a massage therapist. As a massage therapist you will use touch and gentle pressure to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. Massage therapists use various techniques to relax muscles, reduce injuries, and increase mobility, and you can learn how to do this so you can help others.
Massage therapists can work in various settings. Many massage therapists work in a spa or private massage therapy where their clients are booked for them, and all essential materials are provided. Other therapists may provide mobile services that allow them to meet the customer at home or at work. Many massage therapists work at hospitals or care facilities to help residents and patients recover after injury or surgery.
The majority of massage therapists do not work full time, as they need time to set up in between clients or travel between work centers. Additionally they need time for administrative tasks such as billing, so in general a massage therapist who works 15 to 30 hours directly with clients considers themselves to be working full time.
In 2008, there were approximately 122,400 massage therapy jobs in the United States, and of these more than 50% were self-employed. From 2008-2018, it is expected that jobs in this field will grow about 19% – which is quite a bit higher than the average job growth for all jobs.
It is expected that a fair amount of the demand for new massage therapists will come from spas, which are experiencing good growth over the same period. There are also many massage clinic franchises which are expanding, and although they generally offer lower cost massage therapy services, they are still a good place for a beginning massage therapist to start. Massage therapy is also a service that many larger corporations are offering to entice and keep their staff, so there will be more jobs offered with individual companies.
Since it can take as little as 500 hours to become a licensed massage therapist, this may be a good career for people who want a good job without having to spend years in college. Being a massage therapist lets you interact with people, and good massage therapists will make many connections and networks in order to find new clients.
Even if you start out with a low paying massage therapy job at a small spa or massage therapy chain, within a few years you can have a loyal client base and you can start looking to advance. If you have good management skills you can become a manager of other therapists, while still having some clients of your own, or you can open your own massage therapy business. Or you can look for work at an upscale spa or retreat, where you will make better money and earn more prestige.
Most massage therapists get paid hourly, and usually don’t get benefits. However, as a massage therapist you will have more flexibility when it comes to hours, and be able to choose when and where you prefer to work. Not many jobs offer you as much allowance for you to schedule your own hours as being a massage therapist does.
If you think that you will enjoy helping people feel relaxed and pain free, and if you like the idea of being able to pick your own hours, then being a massage therapist may be the perfect career for you. With the growth expected in this industry anyone who is trained as a massage therapist should have no problem finding good employment.