Employment Outlook for Massage Therapists

Big demand for alternative healthcare

Jobs in massage therapy are on the rise and they're expected to increase faster than average between now and 2014. There's one main reason for the increase - people are learning about the great health and wellness benefits of massage and finding it can help ease pain, lower stress and provide relaxation after a hard day of work.

Health care providers are more often referring patients with muscle pain or stress to massage therapists. Health insurance companies are also coming around to the benefits of massage and some are already offering coverage for it.

Successful masseuses

The best opportunities in the industry will be for masseuses who take the necessary steps to become certified at one of our listed massage therapy schools. Those with networking skills or who join professional associations will also have a better chance for success. Referrals can bring in new clients while membership in an organization demonstrates credibility. Potential clients can seek out massage therapists in their area by inquiring at a professional association or searching the group's online member registry.

Where massage therapists will work

Some recent developments:

  • On-site workplace massage is increasing in popularity as a way for employers to establish their businesses as desirable places to work. Massage therapists may be self-employed or work for large companies that offer seated employee massages.
  • With a rapidly aging population, some nursing and retirement homes are hiring massage therapists on staff or allowing residents to arrange for their own massage services.

Many other massage therapists work in private or public areas of the industry. They may have their own studio, a joint practice with other health care providers or make house-calls. Massage therapists can be found in a variety of locations:

  • Medical centers
  • Fitness facilities
  • Sports medicine clinics (or working for sports teams)
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Health spas
  • Resorts
  • Airports

For those who are graduating soon or may have just graduated, some interesting resources for massage jobs (like those listed above) would include the following links:

Massage therapist wages

Because a masseuse's job is so demanding, most only work 15 to 30 hours a week; in fact, these hours can be considered full-time in the industry. Up to 20 percent of therapists' earnings are in gratuities. However, tipping isn't common for professionals in clinical settings.

  • Median hourly earnings - $15.36
  • Middle 50 percent - $9.78 to $23.82
  • Top 10 percent - over $32.21
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $7.16

Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004