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Massage Therapy

Earnings Potential

Salaries for message therapists vary widely depending on location, type of practice, level of experience, and skills and techniques. In big cities massage therapists can charge $60-70 an hour, while in rural areas, they can charge $35-$50 an hour. The average salary for a massage therapist is between $41,220 and $58,212 a year.

Facts at a glance

  • They are different types of massages for example Swedish, deep tissue, and Shiatsu, Acupressure, Polarity, Neuromuscular, and Connective massages.
  • Massages lessen lower back pain, depression, anxiety, and improve sleep.
  •  The number of massage practitioners in the U.S. is between 120,000 and 160,000.
  • Employment is expected to grow faster than average over the 2004-2014 period as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy.

Summary of what this career entails

Because of the physical nature of the work and time needed in between sessions, massage therapists typically give massages less than 40 hours per week. Therapists who give massages anywhere from 15 to 30 hours per week usually consider themselves to be full-time workers.

Examples and or details of work

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists can specialize in over 80 different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage, and neuromuscular massage are just a few of the many approaches to massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Some use exaggerated strokes ranging the length of a body part, while others use quick, percussion-like strokes with a cupped or closed hand. A massage can be as long as two hours or as short as five or ten minutes. Usually, the type of massage therapists give depends on the client’s needs and the client’s physical condition. For example, they use special techniques for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes, and they would use approaches for clients with injuries that would not be appropriate for clients seeking relaxation. There are also some forms of massage that are given solely to one type of client, for example prenatal massage and infant massage.

Degrees that lead to this career

Normally, individuals who want to become massage therapists are required to pass a government certified examination with both a practical and written components before becoming certified. Some of the degrees an individual can attain include:

  • Certificate in Massage Therapy
  • A.A. S. in Massage Therapy
  • A.S. in Massage Therapy

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions that can be available for individuals who want a career in Massage Therapy can get into various services such as private practices, spas and holistic centers, doctor’s or chiropractics offices, nursing homes and hospitals, sports teams and sports medicine clinics, multidisciplinary clinics, health clubs or fitness facilities, on-site massage in the work place, and independent massage therapists with portable tables.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Massage Therapists, on the Internet at