Massage therapists essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $35,230
- 2011, number of jobs: 55,920
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 20 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Post secondary non-degree award
Massage therapists; what they do:
Massage therapists are a lot of people’s best friend. Massage therapists really get into their work, using their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes even feet to manually manipulate soft-tissue muscles to help people relax, relieve pain, rehabilitate injuries, and reduce stress. A massage therapist career may also include using lotions, oils, message tables, massage chairs, and medical heat lamps.
An appointment with a message therapist begins with a discussion about the client’s goals and expectations of the massage, as well as a description of any ailment or injury the client aims to alleviate with the message.
A message therapist then massages the desired area specified by the client, as well as any related areas that may help with pain relief, healing, or stress reduction. At the end of an appointment, a massage therapist may teach the client some stretches, strengthening moves, or posture adjustments that may further help with a particular issue.
Message therapists may specialize in specific types of message, such as Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage or sports massage. Many massage therapists specialize in several different types of massage.
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Massage therapists job titles:
- Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified Massage Therapist (CMT)
- Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP)
- Registered Massage Therapist
- Bodywork Therapist
- Clinical Massage Therapist
- Hospice Massage Therapist
- Integrated Deep Tissue Massage Therapist
- Medical Message Therapist
- Sports Massage Therapist
Massage Therapists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Education and training for massage therapists varies by state and locality. Typically, individuals seeking a massage therapist career need a high school diploma and complete a massage therapy education program provided by a private or public postsecondary institution requiring 500 hours of study.
Schools provide full-time and part-time programs and often offer job placement and continuing education. Some schools offer an Associate in Massage Therapy degree program or a Diploma in Massage Therapy program.
Massage therapists programs cover subjects such as:
- Business management
- Hands-on practice massage techniques
The majority of states require massage therapists to obtain a license or certificate and pass an exam prior to practicing. In the states that do not require a massage therapist to obtain a license or a certificate, there may be specific regulations at the local level.
Two nationally recognized tests for message therapists are the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB).
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Massage Therapists Job Outlook
Forecast: 20 percent employment growth for message therapists from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
The demand for massage therapists has increased due to massages becoming more affordable to the average person in recent years. The larger number of spas offering massage services and the larger number of massage clinic franchises has increased the demand for massage therapists.
Massage has become a more respected form of pain treatment and health improvement. The growing elderly population increases the demand for massage therapists.
Licensed massage therapists and certified massage therapists, belonging to a massage network may find work more readily and steadily.
Massage Therapists Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $35,230
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $51,750
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $23,550
- Personal care services
- Offices of chiropractors
- Traveler accommodations, including hotels and motels
- Fitness and recreational sports centers