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Almost everyone enjoys the benefit of a massage, but not everyone has the skill sets or desire to become a message therapist. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into a career in massage therapy, this article is written just for you. Read more to find out if this hands-on, helping career fits your desired professional direction.

What a Massage Therapist Does

A massage therapist uses his or her hands to physically manipulate the muscles and outer tissues of a client’s body. Massages may include only certain parts of the body, such as the shoulders or legs, or they may be offered as part of a whole body massage.

Many clients who come to massage therapy professionals do so to relieve issues such as muscle aches and pains caused by sport-related overindulgence, chronic pain from arthritis conditions or medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, and aches related to older injuries that did not heal properly. Then again, some people just like the relaxing atmosphere of being massaged.

Massage therapists may choose to use special oils — scented or unscented — during a typical workday. This type of aromatherapy or holistic therapy can be beneficial to some clients. Massage therapists may work in a team environment, such as a massage therapy center, or they may be on their own. Even if they are part of a facility, they may only get paid for the clients that they bring in themselves, so it’s important that all massage therapists have strong entrepreneurial and marketing skills.


Many massage therapy professionals prefer to wear a uniform, such as a lab coat or even nursing-type scrubs. Their rooms have to be kept clean and sanitary, and they need a massage table on which to perform their work. One of the physical complaints some massage therapists have is that their hands get fatigued after a day of giving massages. This can be alleviated by performing daily exercises similar to those done by individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Benefits of Being a Massage Therapist

Becoming a massage therapist can be incredibly rewarding, because you’re always helping clients feel better. Plus, massage therapists can set their own wages. In fact, in some larger areas, well-respected massage therapists can earn in excess of $100 per hour.

This is not the norm, however. The average salary for a massage therapist in the United States is around $35,000 per year, with a low unemployment rate of around 5.4 percent according to U.S. News and World Report. Plus, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects massage therapy opportunities and openings to increase by approximately 22 percent in the next decade.

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career for You?

A career as a message therapist is not for everyone. The position may be right for you if you enjoy:

  • Making people feel better physically and mentally — Massage therapists are able to constantly spark plenty of “happy moments” for individuals who are hurting or in need of relaxation.
  • Working with a lot of different types of people — No client will come to a massage therapist for the same reason. This means you’ll work with individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds.
  • Learning about the physiological make-up of the human system, including how the brain, muscles, and bones are interconnected — Massage therapy involves the study of science, especially in terms of the way the body works. It’s a fascinating process, and the main reason why many massage therapists cite getting into the industry.
  • Building a loyal client base that encourages referrals — As with all services, massage therapy encourages happy clientele to refer their family members, friends, and coworkers. You may even start to have such a following that you need to build your own massage therapy clinic!
  • Learning new skills — Once you become a message therapist, you have additional opportunities to learn new skills. For example, you can become an expert in traditional and newer modalities related to massage, such as reflexology and sports massage. Massage therapy uses a wide range of techniques. Some are ancient, but many are emerging. Massage therapy schools such as Vista College stay on the leading edge of innovations.

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