Your Massage Therapy Career

An in-depth guide to becoming a massage therapist.

Massage Therapy Career Center

massage therapist with hot stones

"There is more and more massage therapy needed in hospitals and clinics. Some people work for chiropractors or physical therapists or in gyms."

-Tim Bauer, massage therapy student

As the massage profession gains recognition from the health care industry, massage therapy career opportunities increase exponentially.

Use this resource guide to assist you through the process of starting a massage therapy career. From choosing the right program to getting your license, all the information you need to begin your massage therapy career is right here. You'll find answers to your questions about the following:

-Choosing a massage therapy education program: Consider what you're looking to get out of a massage therapy school. Some programs are no-frills where you learn basic techniques while others offer a more comprehensive curriculum with courses in nutrition and specific massage modalities. 

-Massage therapy salaries: While you may not be entering the field for the money, massage therapists can often dictate their earning potential if they run their own business or work hard to build a regular client base. 

-Starting a massage therapy business: If you've dreamt of running your own practice, look for a massage therapy program that includes basic business courses. While it won't cover everything you need to know, a few introductory business concepts will set you in the right direction. 

-Massage therapy school: There are more than 350 accredited massage therapy schools across the U.S., many of which have multiple campuses. As you begin searching for the right school, be sure to ask the important questions.

  • What is the average class size?
  • What are my financial aid options?
  • Is the school accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation?
  • How much hands-on learning will I receive?

The length of massage therapy school varies; programs range from 300 hours to 1,000 hours. Before enrolling in a certificate or diploma program, find out if your state has licensing requirements for massage therapists. This can help you determine which program length is right for you.

Another factor to consider is how specialized you want to be. Massage therapy is a varied career and you’ll find practitioners everywhere from nursing homes to cruise ships. If you’re interested in serving a special population, such as pregnant women or trauma victims, massage therapy offers those paths as well.

Massage Therapy Skills and Personality Traits

Job demand is growing as massage therapy has been shown to treat all types of issues, from physical pain to anxiety and depression. Find out if you have the skills and personality traits to succeed in this growing career.

You are... You should have...
Compassionate Good physical strength
Independent Excellent communication skills
Socially perceptive Unwavering ethical standards
Dependable Interpersonal skills
Friendly Good judgment
An excellent listener Critical thinking skills