Massage Therapist Salary

Massage therapy salary

massage therapy compensationAs with most professions, medical or otherwise, when starting out your salary is not going to be that high. Your annual average massage therapist salary will also depend on where you are working and if you are self-employed. Being self-employed you will have the expenses and any benefits such as life insurance, medical insurance, social security, etc will have to be paid by you. Some self-employed massage therapists will work out of their home and see their clients/patients in their own home but some may have an office where the clients come to you via advertising you have done or referrals from other physicians. If you have your own office you will have employee salaries and benefits you will have to pay, rent on the office, advertising expenses, supplies, utilities, and more.

If you opt to work as a massage therapist in a 5 start resort your average annual salary will be higher than a massage therapist who works in a day spa or health club. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) in the year 2013 at least 80% of the massage therapists were women and in 2012 almost 46% of massage therapists were self-employed.

The average annual salary of a massage therapist ranges from $26,579-$72,250 but to receive that large a salary you will need to have many years of experience. On average a massage therapist just starting out will only have an average annual salary of $17,270. You also need to consider the benefit packages that you can receive such as paid vacation and sick days, paid holidays, pension, 401K, social security, health and life insurance, holiday pay, and more.

Some of the best paying states for massage therapists were Alaska, Delaware, Washington, New York, and Oregon average annual massage therapy salaries from $45,900-$85,050.

Salary of a Massage Therapist in 2015

For the year 2015 in US the average salary that a Massage Therapist earns can range between $26,581 and $72,254 per year. These figures can change according to the lowest and highest salaries and demand that currently drives the massage therapy field in every state.

The annual income of a massage therapist will vary greatly according to the type of employer and the area in which one of these health care professionals is being employed. Another important factor that affect one’s work and salary are the years of experience.

For example, people employed in 2015 in the personal care service will earn a lower salary compared to the professionals who operate in the specialty care hospitals – they obviously earn higher salaries. The economic flux is another part that will influence your current income. A job that will offer stability is always a job that will bring a stable income as well.

Massage Therapist Salary in 2016

A massage therapist income for the year 2016, in the United States, is estimated at a median average that reaches up to $29,864 per year. The starting salary point in this field ranges from $17,413 per year and up to $49,825 per year. The bonuses that are granted to these professionals tend to reach up to $1,010 per year while the estimated profit sharing is usually around $2,752 per year. A massage therapists commissions are comprised between $49.44 and up to $28,069, this leading in the end to total earnings that are situated between $21,635 and up to $104,242, according to PayScale salary data survey information.

The factors that typically impact these earnings are based on the geographical location, type of employment, industry, as well as years of experience. Most of these professionals that work in positions as massage therapists according to the PayScale surveys seem to be women rather than men.

According to the years of experience in the field, massage therapists with less than 5 years at the working site can expect to take home an average median income situated at around $39,010 per year. Those that already have between 5 and up to 10 years of experience ca expect to take home around $43,010 per year while those with 10 and up to 20 years of practice in the field receive an income estimated at $50,010 per year. A Late-career professional with more than 20 years will gain a salary that reaches at $70,010 per year.

The national average for a massage therapist has estimated figures that reach up to $41,007 per year. Incomes that are above the national average for these professionals can be found in regions such as New York, Huston, San Francisco, Atlanta and other as well. For instance, the estimated earnings in New York tend to reach at a median average of $55,642 per year while in Atlanta, a massage therapist can expect to earn around $54,752 per year.

The salaries of a massage therapist also vary from town to town. For instance in Florida, Jacksonville, the income of one of these specialists, is estimated at $47,404 per year with earnings that have a range between $42,426 and up to $54,452, according to the salary information provided by

In Tampa, Florida the median income has an average of around $45,190 per year while in Fort Myers the income for these professionals has a median average of around $42,497 per year. The variations in these earnings appear due to several factors such as the competitiveness that is encountered on the market and also due to the established population.

Massage therapist salary in Canada, Australia and UK

  • The average annual massage therapist salary in Canada is CA$18,823-CA$155,661 which also includes a bonus that averages CA$1.987 per year.
  • The average annual massage therapist salary in Australia is AU$36,364-AU$60,067 which also includes a bonus that average AU$9,863 per year
  • The average annual massage therapist salary in United Kingdom (UK) is £10,446-£81,755 which also includes a bonus that averages £50.00-750.00 per year.

What is a massage therapist?

This is a professional who is adept in using a variety of massage therapies on their clients. There is a high demand for expert massage therapists due to the day-to-day tension and stress that many people go through on a daily basis. Massage therapy, also referred to as bodywork therapy, is a method of healing that dates back almost 4000 years. Massage from the Greek verb masso, which means to touch, work with the hands, to knead dough, to handle.

Being a massage therapist you will need to be aware of the soft tissue condition, body pressure points, joint functions, soft tissue condition, muscle problems, and other important aspects of the body. Being a massage therapist this simply means that you are treating the muscles of the client through the use of touch. You are the person who is helping them to rehabilitate injuries, increase relaxation, improve circulation, and help to relieve stress and pain.

Job description of a massage therapist

The basic job that a massage therapist does is being responsible for giving massages along with other body treatments to their clients whether you are self-employed or work for someone but there are also other duties that a massage therapist does. A massage therapist may offer treatments that range from a simple massage for relaxation purposes to a more advanced form to provide other benefits like injury healing. A massage therapist will typically specialize in different forms of massage that are referred to as modalities and require different techniques. Some of the different modalities include sports, neuromuscular, Swedish, and deep-tissue. The most popular modalities are Shiatsu, and Swedish according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

  • They have to inform and educate their clients about the supplementary rehabilitation exercises and massages that they can do at home. This mainly pertains to clients who have had an injury and need rehabilitation and massage to get back to their normal selves.
  • You will also need to follow various sanitary procedures and make sure that the facility and massage rooms are kept clean.
  • If they are having massage therapies as part of a rehabilitation program for an injury they will need to have a session first with the client to discuss their physical condition, any previous therapies or massages they might have had, in order to determine the type of massage and rehabilitation therapies that would work best for them.
  • They will have to study the patient’s chart to see what type of injury or illness they have had that requires massage therapy and suggest the best treatment plans that are appropriate for the client if the referring physician has not suggested a treatment plan. They may have to ask other healthcare professionals in regards to the right treatment plan.
  • If they are self-employed and going to the customer’s home for the first time or meeting a client for the first time in their office they will need to do an evaluation and questionnaire to find out just what type of massage therapy they want, how often do they want the massage therapy, what type of insurance they have so you can see if their insurance will cover the massage therapies, etc.
  • They will need to have good organizational skills as they will need to keep detailed records of the therapies that have been used on their clients.
  • When self-employed they will need good managerial skills in order to keep a detail record of their clients, where the clients live if they go to the person’s home, accounting skills to keep track of the money they are paid or are owed, keep schedules of when their clients either come into the office for massage therapies or they have to be at their client’s home for the massage therapies.

As a massage therapist you will also need to have knowledge about the use of wet compresses, infrared lamps, and any other equipment that is necessary for massage therapies. There are two important things that a massage therapist needs to have which are hand steadiness and muscular stamina. These are extremely important if you are handling several massage therapy appointments in one day. They also need to have good communication skills in order to be able to interview their clients to determine what they need and to sell their services as a massage therapist if they are planning to be self-employed and opening their own business.

How to become a massage therapist?

A majority of massage therapists today are women so this is a good job opportunity for them but how do you become a massage therapist. The first step in becoming a massage therapist is too fine a good school that has a massage therapist program. These programs are not long and are generally 500-600 hours in duration. If the program is 600 hours you would have to go approximately 2 ½ months or 75 days. Most states require at least 600 hours but some, like New York, require 1000 hours.

Make sure that the school you are going to attend enables you to be eligible for certification and licensing requirements. The licensing rules vary from state to state so do your research to find out what they are for your state. You also need to see if your state requires certification from the Federation of Massage State Boards or a national certification. If you are planning to be self-employed and start your own massage therapist business you will also see if you need to get a business license for that purpose.

Some of the courses that you may take can include first aid, anatomy and physiology, hygiene, and kinesiology. A significant part of the program involves hands-on learning. Some schools even have clinics where you can practice your techniques on people. Because your clients/patients will have to be partially or completely disrobed, sensitivity and ethics to their comfort level and needs are essential.

There is the District of Columbia and 43 other states that had regulations for massage therapists according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the requirements may vary from state to state most states mandate that a person who wants to become a massage therapist has to complete an approved massage therapy program and then pass a qualifying exam. You will have to pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. There are some states that do have their own exam that they expect a massage therapist to pass. Most exams will cover areas in body systems, massage assessments and application, and professional standards.

To be able to practice as a massage therapist you will need to be licensed, registered and/or certified within the state where you are going to work. If you want to be certified you it is given by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). After receiving your certification you can add the credential of Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) to all your professional material. Your certification must be renewed every 4 years. Many of the states required a massage therapist to have continuing education in order to renew their licenses and certification.

Although there are some online programs that state you can take them and become a massage therapist it is difficult to do them because of the practical hands-on training that you need to become a massage therapist. If it is hard for you to attend classes on a daily basis at a college there are some hybrid programs where you can take the coursework online and then for the hands-on portion of becoming a massage therapist you can do on campus.

Work environment and schedule

A massage therapist has many choices as to where they work. They can be self-employed and have a clientele list and go to their homes to give massage therapies, provide their services in professional settings, or informal settings. If they do not want to pursue a career as a self-employed massage therapist when starting out their career they can find work in hotels, physical therapy settings, cruise ships, resorts, corporate offices, physician offices, chiropractic offices, health and wellness facilities, beauty and spa centers, rehabilitation settings, sports institutions, and more.

Depending on their work environment and whether they are self-employed will help to determine how many hours they will work. Being self-employed means you can work full or part time, weekends, nights, etc. They can build their business around the type of lifestyle they live. Most will work less than 40 hour a week Monday through Friday but some may also work nights and weekends. The reason that many massage therapist do not work a 40 hour week is that it is a physically straining job because you are working with your hands and doing massage therapy can put a lot of stress on your hands and wrists as you do your massages. You will also be on your feet a lot during your work day so make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes and are able to stand for long periods of time.

Pros and cons of being a Massage Therapist

Achieving a career as a massage therapists will allow you to work with people who suffered from severe injuries or even a stressful career and needed rehabilitation and effective balance in their lives. You’ll work with clients that on a daily basis will confront with some serious muscles problems or with others that need just to get read of all their job tension.

A massage therapist best reward is the fact that he or she helped you to achieve that state in which your body can enjoy living a life without any muscle pains. A massage therapist job will involve working with your arms, your legs, your back, and neck. Every session that they carry on will allow you to feel free of any tension. With the passing of time, it is not surprising to notice significant improvements.

Your job as one of the health care professional is to make sure that your client is satisfied. You should also make sure that with every session his body reacts in a way that will loosen up every muscle that gives him or her a hard time.

The job stability that this career comes with is huge. Many of the professionals that confront with a daily stress seem to reach out to a massage therapist for their well-being and for a much more relaxed opportunity to deal with daily ongoing events.

You can find as well many malls that already opened spas and therapy centers. You’ll find a majority of companies that will promote massage as a healthy way of living. So job stability and career opportunities are surely as huge pros on your list.

The drawback in this career is the fact that the job of a Massage Therapist can be physically demanding. Every session that you’ll have spending time on your feet in not an exception. You will positively use your hand muscles more than you think, because the therapy requires a lot of hand flexibility, gripping, and stretching. Many Massage Therapists will sometimes need a break from all this in order to recover and maintain a certain steadiness in their hand muscles.

Massage Therapist job growth

The employment growth for massage therapists is projected at 22% rate of increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A great demand for massage services is also seen due to the increasing number of massage clinics and spas that provide more job opportunities for these specialists.

The future outlook of these professionals is great since there are plenty of job opportunities such as finding employment in hospitals, hotels, and fitness centers. Some massage therapists are self-employed while other will travel to their client’s offices to give a massage or to their homes.

Conclusion on massage therapist salary

As more and more people become knowledgeable about the benefits of massage therapy the demand for massage therapist are going to increase at a much faster rate than average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that from 2012-2022 the growth rate for massage therapists will be 23%. Yes the starting massage therapist salary is low and one that you could make working in a fast food restaurant, working in the clerical pool at a business, or a factory but what is so great about being a massage therapist is that you can become self-employed and set your own hours, your own massage rates, and accept as many clients as you wish. It also does not take a long time before you are ready to get your license and be certified before you can start to work as a massage therapist.

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  • First Published Date: 4 November, 2014
  • Last Updated Date: 6 September, 2016