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Massage Therapist Salary: What to Expect

Find out how massage therapist salaries stack up.

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Unlike some careers which rely heavily on gratuities, massage therapists can earn a relatively decent base pay with tips as a bonus. The chance to earn more is literally in your hands. Clients often tip based on their massage therapist’s performance and treatment.

Location is particularly important, as the larger the city you live and work in, the higher your salaries and wages are likely to be. Also keep your overhead in mind. If you’re self-employed, factor these expenses into your pay rate:

  • Space rental
  • Massage supplies
  • Advertising/marketing materials
  • Association dues and fees
  • Liability insurance
  • Laundry
  • Billing services or software

What is My Earning Potential?

Massage therapists can take a few avenues toward earning a bigger salary.

Building a large client base can increase your earning potential significantly. Finding and keeping clients, which takes time and effort, can sometimes be a challenge. As you gain more experience or network with people, your chances to attract clients increases and so does your chance to earn more.

In the meantime, you can work toward boosting your pay with gratuity. Providing your clients with the best possible service can often yield hefty tips.

Lastly, specializing in a certain massage modality can help you earn a better salary. With specialized certification, you can often justify charging slightly higher prices for your unique expertise.

How Do Massage Therapist Salaries Compare?

Compare Other Healthcare Salaries

Healthcare Career

  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Physical Therapists
  • Athletic Trainers

Median Annual Salary

  • $49,970
  • $90,010
  • $49,860

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2020

Compare massage therapist median annual salaries by state:

Massage Therapists

National data

Median Salary: $43,620

Bottom 10%: $22,580

Top 10%: $79,150

Projected job growth: 20.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $36,300 $18,550 $52,970
Alaska $82,600 $22,140 $132,950
Arizona $43,240 $26,740 $66,690
Arkansas $47,200 $25,210 $63,410
California $34,400 $27,230 $80,940
Colorado $46,020 $25,170 $65,170
Connecticut $42,460 $24,340 $81,100
District of Columbia N/A N/A N/A
Florida $36,360 $19,770 $66,090
Georgia $23,490 $16,770 $69,490
Hawaii $55,700 $25,330 $89,120
Idaho $44,860 $23,520 $78,050
Illinois $49,940 $20,450 $76,900
Indiana $44,780 $27,060 $72,470
Iowa $36,120 $20,290 $68,740
Kansas $29,210 $17,770 $80,830
Kentucky $49,930 $18,710 $75,440
Louisiana $23,890 $17,000 $57,630
Maine $53,430 $27,910 $87,240
Maryland $41,440 $23,140 $83,190
Massachusetts $61,790 $41,880 $112,470
Michigan $49,840 $23,570 $75,540
Minnesota $54,400 $22,680 $83,810
Mississippi $34,870 $17,570 $50,860
Missouri $37,080 $20,050 $67,500
Montana $40,070 $19,230 $68,250
Nebraska $57,390 $31,290 $79,390
Nevada $28,260 $18,000 $85,180
New Hampshire $49,590 $32,070 $83,930
New Jersey $45,490 $23,420 $68,620
New Mexico $46,050 $24,320 $83,750
New York $52,560 $27,200 $89,200
North Carolina $41,220 $19,150 $67,460
North Dakota $45,790 $18,300 $65,590
Ohio $48,000 $20,150 $79,750
Oklahoma $38,030 $20,950 $52,940
Oregon $61,220 $26,010 $96,720
Pennsylvania $41,620 $21,460 $85,640
Rhode Island $28,110 $23,370 $55,690
South Carolina $36,170 $18,110 $60,240
South Dakota $30,550 $22,430 $48,450
Tennessee $42,560 $18,940 $83,240
Texas $41,820 $21,560 $63,430
Utah $44,250 $18,550 $73,450
Vermont $38,730 $24,650 $77,510
Virginia $43,690 $18,780 $63,630
Washington $65,140 $40,480 $86,640
West Virginia $39,660 $20,620 $75,740
Wisconsin $48,190 $19,300 $68,730
Wyoming $49,760 $28,510 $76,090

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2029. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

What is the Job Growth for the Field?

Employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by 21% through 2029, much faster than average for all occupations. In states that regulate massage therapy, more opportunities should be available to those who complete formal training programs and pass a professionally recognized exam.

Job Growth for Massage Therapists Through 2029 per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

21%

However, new massage therapists should expect to work only part time in spas, hotels, hospitals, physical therapy centers, and other businesses until they can build their own client base.

Because referrals are an extremely important source of work for massage therapists, networking will increase the number of job opportunities. Joining a professional association also can help build strong contacts and further increase the likelihood of steady work.

How Much Competition Could I Face for a Job?

Competition exists to some degree in every career path. For massage therapists, the level of competition you face will be dependent on several factors.

If you’re planning to run a private practice, consider issues like the number of other massage therapists in your city or town. Will you be one of many or will you be providing a needed service?

As you gain experience and build a network of clients, competition typically becomes less fierce. When you start out in your career, employers will look for the best and brightest, so ensure you’re familiar with the industry you may work in (i.e. travel, sports, geriatric care).