Is Massage Therapy a Good Career in [currentyear]?

If you’re wondering if massage therapy is a good career, consider the following. The profession allows you to help people both mentally and physically. Working as a licensed massage therapist also provides opportunities to become your own boss, allowing for a more flexible work schedule, less stress, and higher earnings.

There’s even more to it than that. Due to an increased acceptance of holistic health practices and physical vulnerabilities presented by an aging population, the demand for licensed massage therapists is at an all-time high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be over 46,000 new jobs hitting the market by 2030. That’s a 32% increase in employment.

Read on below to learn more about the future of the profession. More importantly, we’ll provide answers to all your questions concerning what makes a career in massage therapy worth it. 

Why Are So Many People Interested in a Massage Therapy Career?

is massage therapy a good career

The alternative health industry is booming, and the reasons why are varied. Not only are patients becoming more interested in an integrative approach to medicine, but they’re also taking a more active role in maintaining their overall health.

Related: How much money can I make as a massage therapist?

Massage therapy offers a complimentary kind of treatment where patients can revamp both their bodies and their minds. It’s also been thought to help increase productivity throughout the day, which is why even big corporations have started introducing massage therapy to the workplace.

This shift has not gone unnoticed, particularly among individuals who are just joining the workforce or those interested in switching careers. Demand is high, which means job security is abundant.

Many massage therapists work in a variety of work environments, from spas, clinics, resorts, nursing homes, fitness centers, and more. Others remain self-employed, providing private sessions for clients at their homes or in their own office.

Read on to learn more about just what makes a massage therapist’s career so rewarding.

7 Reasons That Make Massage Therapy A Great Career

Between ample career opportunities, and the ability to perform meaningful work, it’s no wonder why massage therapy has earned such a good reputation within the professional world. Below, we’ve outlined a few different factors contributing to the hype.

1. Training is Quick and Affordable

It doesn’t take too long to begin your career in massage therapy. Massage therapy school can be completed in anywhere from five months to two years, though most programs require a minimum of 500 credit hours to apply for a professional license. The nationally accredited professional massage therapy program at ICOHS College takes approximately nine months to complete and is based on a total of 630 clock hours.

Related: How much massage therapy school costs

2. Therapists Experience High Levels of Job Satisfaction

According to a recent career satisfaction insights survey, 88 percent of individuals are “very satisfied” with their massage therapy career. Out of the 1,2000 licensed massage therapists surveyed, 99 percent believed their work had a positive impact on patients. USA News also listed the profession in their list of  Best Jobs Without A College Degree. 

3. Massage Therapists Are in Incredibly High Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains the massage therapy industry will grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030, with 46,500 new jobs hitting the market over the next decade. Apparently, people are already starting to notice the hike. According to the same survey mentioned above, 62 percent of massage therapists were able to land a job just one month after receiving their license.

4. You Can Work in a Whatever Work Environment You Want

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage therapists typically work in about two different settings. Hotels, hospitals, fitness clubs, salons, and massage therapy chains are all popular places of employment. 

That said, the majority of massage therapists describe themselves as solo practitioners, meaning they can perform the job out of their home or their client’s home or workplace. This is one of the most appealing parts of the profession. As independent contractors, massage therapists can create their own schedule, working as much – or as little – as they would like.

5. You Can Make Good Money By Setting Hourly Rates

The massage therapist salary varies, though most practitioners charge around $75 for a one-hour massage. Other massage therapists incorporate additional practices into their sessions such as deep tissue, sports massage therapy, hot stones, and aromatherapy to up their rates and collect more in tips.

6. There Are Lots of Opportunities For Growth

Massage therapy is a highly diversified career. Those looking to help their career along might consider becoming certified in specialty areas including Swedish massage, deep tissue, Shiatsu massage, and even acupuncture. 

Others will go on to open up their own business. A self-employed massage therapist can set their own hours, rates, and practice out of their own home or office.

7. You Don’t Have to Stare at A Computer All Day

Staring at a screen all day can cause headaches, impaired vision, and impact your ability to fall asleep at night. Fortunately, massage therapists get to largely dodge these risks, returning to their computers only to perform bookkeeping responsibilities. Other than that, it’s mostly a “hands-on” profession. 

What Kinds of Cons are Associated with Massage Therapy?

massage therapy career

While a massage therapy career offers major perks like designing your own schedule, earning high hourly rates, and not spending a fortune on school, there are some downsides to consider. Check out the list below to learn more.

1. Training Can Only Be Conducted in Person

Remote learning opportunities have exploded in the past few years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are many fields that cater to this kind of education style, massage therapy is not one of them. 

Instead, the field requires a certain amount of practical, hands-on experience. This is especially true for specialty areas like deep tissue massage or acupuncture.

As a result, massage therapists cannot necessarily work or tend to responsibilities at home while in school.

2. Clients Can Behave Poorly

Unfortunately, you can’t always control what happens on the massage table. According to a study of 1,200 massage therapists, nearly two-thirds of practitioners have experienced unwanted sexual advances from clients.

Though not quite as common, clients have also been known to make false accusations around injuries, which is why massage therapists are always advised to get liability insurance before they begin practicing.

3. The Work Can Be Physically Demanding

Massage therapy can take a serious physical toll on the body. Overuse injuries from constant time on your feet and working with your hands can lead to muscle tension and injuries such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and arthritis.

4. Flexible Work Schedules Can Lead to Inconsistent Income

It takes a very disciplined person to develop a long-term business plan and stick to it. If you want to become self-employed,  it’s important to keep in mind the levels of responsibility that come with it. Certain times of the year, like holidays or school vacations, can also lead to dips in appointments, which can have a major impact on your income. 

5. It’s Expensive to Start Your Own Business

Starting any business requires a detailed plan and a lot of spare capital. Rent, licenses, utilities, equipment, and insurance are just a few of the big-ticket items you’ll have to factor into the budget.

3 Signs That You’d Be a Good Massage Therapist

many states require massage therapists to obtain a license

1. You Like Helping People Feel Better

According to a recent study, 99% of massage therapists believe that their work has a positive impact on their clients.

2. You’re Looking For Meaningful Work

The same study found massage therapists feel their work has a positive impact on clients. When asked what mattered most to them, most massage therapists selected “helping clients feel better.”

3. You Don’t Have A Ton of Money to Spend On School

Earning an education from a traditional four-year university can cost upwards of six figures, leaving you buried in debt for years to come.  Meanwhile, massage school can be completed for just a fraction of that cost, usually somewhere between $3,000 and $14,000.

FAQs

Can you make good money as a massage therapist?

Yes, though it depends where you work. The median salary in 2020 was $43,620. As you gain experience and clientele your earning potential will increase. Self-employed massage therapists tend to earn more than those working in a spa or hotel, typically charging around $75 for a one-hour massage

What are the disadvantages of being a massage therapist?

Many massage therapists suffer from issues such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and arthritis. Additionally, nearly two in three massage therapists report having experienced unwanted sexual advances on the job.

What is the career path for a massage therapist?

Most massage therapists will begin their career as part of a franchise or chain. As you build experience and collect more clients, you can look into starting your own business.

Conclusion

Opportunities for massage therapists are exploding throughout the country. If you’re unsure about how to start your career in massage therapy, look into opportunities at ICOHS College.

Our Professional Massage Therapist diploma program is a California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) approved school as recognized by the state of California. Program courses include the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Massage
  • Kinesiology and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Deep Tissue
  • Eastern Modalities
  • Western Modalities
  • Body Systems, Pathology, and Special Populations
  • Career Development

Students will receive bodywork techniques and therapeutic massage methods designed to relieve pain and improve the overall health and wellness of their clients. They’ll also undergo classroom experiences to learn all necessary medical terminology and prepare for the state licensing exam. 

After leaving our programs, students can find promising career opportunities at massage therapy clinics, spas and resorts, cruise ships, holistic health centers, and more. Students may also open up their own businesses or work as independent contractors.

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