Imagine yourself working in a peaceful environment, providing healing touch and helping people every day when you go to work. Leading a balanced life, you use your skills to improve the lives of others.
Massage therapy is the fastest growing segment of natural health care, due largely to the growth in public demand for alternative approaches to health. A massage career is flexible – choose to be your own boss, work at a spa resort, treat injuries in a medical or athletic setting, or travel the world as a traveling massage therapist.
Developing Your Career as a Massage Therapist
There are many jobs available to recent massage school graduates in many diverse industries. Massage therapy is a profession on the rise. With substantial massage therapy career choices and opportunities to work in public or private practice, aspiring massage therapists face a bright future. Employment opportunities for massage therapists are expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 20 percent nationally through 2020, as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy and search for alternative medicine and holistic healing.*
Massage therapists are hired to work in a number of private and public settings:
Sports Medicine Facilities
Developing a rewarding massage therapy career can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Most successful massage therapists reach a good practice level within two years, though some take longer. Your practice will thrive if you focus on these important elements:
Strive for quality work with each client
Get involved in the community you practice in – become genuinely involved
Understand your ambition and goals
Maintain positive energy levels
Develop effective marketing and networking efforts
Value your local reputation – word of mouth can increase your clientele
Have a warm and friendly personality
Employment in a Rapidly Growing Health Industry
While the use of massage is growing, the reasons people are turning to massage therapy are also expanding. More and more people recognize it as an important element in their overall health and wellness. **
Almost one-fourth of adult Americans say they’ve used massage therapy at least one time for pain relief.
Of the people who had at least one massage in the last five years, 31 percent report they did so for health conditions such as pain management, injury rehabilitation, migraine control, or overall wellness.
Eight-eight percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
Eighty-seven percent agree that massage can be beneficial to health and wellness.
Healthcare providers are increasingly promoting the benefits of massage to their patients.
In July 2008, thirteen percent of adult Americans reported discussing massage therapy with their doctors or healthcare providers.
Of those 13 percent, more than half (57 percent) said their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged it.
More than half of massage therapists (69 percent) receive referrals from healthcare professionals.
Massage therapy usage in hospitals is common.
The number of hospitals offering massage therapy has increased by 30 percent in two years (from 2004 to 2006).
Of the hospitals that have massage therapy programs, 71 percent indicate they offer massage for patient stress management and comfort while more than two-thirds (67 percent) utilize massage for pain management.10
Sixty-seven percent of hospitals with massage therapy programs offer massage to their staff for stress management.
Massage therapists and consumers are in favor of integration of massage into healthcare.
Over half of adult Americans (60 percent) would like to see their insurance cover massage therapy.
Ninety-six percent of massage therapists agree massage therapy should be integrated into healthcare.
*Statistics based on the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004-2005 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
**Statistics taken from AMTA Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet (2009).
To become licensed as a massage practitioner, you’ll need to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination, commonly known as the MBLEx. Administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.
This test is now the sole licensing exam for the profession, making a massage therapy license portable from state to state. Before you enroll in a school, look into additional licensing requirements in your state to ensure your education fully prepares you to earn this important credential.