How Is The Future Of A Massage Therapist From a Career Perspective?

There is little doubt that the massage therapy industry is booming and there are plenty of job opportunities. No wonder then that many people are moving towards this vocation with a view of making a career of it.

The chance to make a decent living, while helping people live a fulfilling and healthy life, is a chance you don’t get with many professions. However, if you are thinking of choosing massage therapy as your career, you need to know about the future of the industry and whether there is a good chance you will be able to establish yourself or not.

Over the years, the perception of massage therapy has changed and the profession is now regarded an important part of the alternative care field. This is why the number of customers is on the rise.

People suffering from issues such as joint pains, aches, stress and even mental disorders consider massage therapy as a means of getting rid of their ailment. Up until a few years back, over 70,000 licensed massage therapists were practicing their craft around the US.

The number is expected to grow by 20% every year till 2020. This means there is definitely scope for a career in this field.

So what are the factors that influence your career in the massage therapy industry? Let’s go over some of the most important ones:

Increasing Demand for Massage as Alternative Care

The demand for massage therapy is increasing. As mentioned above, the perception of massage therapy has changed, and this has contributed a great deal to an increase in the number of customers. Another pertinent factor is that the number of elderly people in the population is quite high.

People who have aged require more care and health services than youngsters. Around 10,000 baby-boomers are turning 65 on a daily basis and this trend will continue till 2030. An increase in population means more customers.

The elderly require massage therapy to relieve various pain and aches they might suffer from. Older bodies develop certain disorders which cause immense pain and discomfort. Through massage therapy, they can live a more comfortable and active life.

One thing you do need to keep in mind is that in case of another recession in the near future, the demand can go down significantly. At the end of the day, massage therapy isn’t something a person would consider an essential expense. But who knows, its acceptance as a viable alternative care medium is becoming more prevalent.

More Massage Businesses are Emerging

To cater to the increasing demand for massage therapy, there are many massage therapy businesses that have started operating in the past couple of years. This means there are more jobs on offer for massage therapists graduating from massage school.

When the job outlook improves, more people try to get into the industry. One reason customers prefer visiting a massage therapy facility than a spa is because of the lower cost. This is a major reason why these massage businesses are able to build a rolodex of regular clients who come in frequently.

Some existing massage business franchises also added more locations over the past decade or so. This is a sign of growing demand for this service. The attitude of medical practitioners has also changed towards massage therapy.

Doctors are now more willing to recommend massage therapy to their patients. If they feel a patient can benefit from getting a massage, they are more than happy to refer them to a leading massage therapy business in the area. In fact, over 50% of massage clients have been asked to get a massage by their doctors.

Wider Recognition of Massage as a Viable Alternative Healthcare Medium

One thing that has definitely changed over the years is states’ attitude towards massage therapy. As of now, there are 44 states in the US that provide certification to massage therapists and have an official body for regulating them.

This has resulted in the field expanding, leading to more opportunities being created. Since the state recognizes their service, people are more open to massage therapists being healers and not just masseuses.

This has also led to an increase in the number of accredited massage schools. The number shot up by over 500 from 2001 to 2008, and steadily growing as the demand does. Moreover, the training received by the average massage therapist while studying for his/her certification has gone up to 633 hours.

Today, massage therapists graduate more prepared than ever before. This is why they are able to provide better services as well. The reimbursement per hour of massage therapy has also increased. Massage therapists can get over $70 an hour, with most professionals receiving the full amount.

Location-Based Demand is Strong and Growing

Some places in the US have a stronger demand for massage therapy than others. The number of jobs you see on offer in these places is much higher.

There are many states that have a high number of active massage therapists, while also providing great opportunities to new therapists. Hawaii leads the list followed by states like Nevada and Washington.
Breaking it down per city, Napa is the clear leader. Other cities with a high concentration of massage therapists are Hot Springs and Pittsfield.

Where Do You Find Work as a Massage Therapist?

To build a career in massage therapy, it is important that you know where you can find work. You might be surprised to know that around 60% of qualified massage therapists are self-employed. They have their own office or visit their clients at their homes to give them a massage.

That being said, the volume of work they receive is much less than what they would get if they were working for a massage business. This is one thing you would hear independent massage therapists complain about constantly. You are better off finding a job with a massage business or with other establishments that look for massage therapists.

Read this article to learn how to determine whether there are massage jobs in the area you live and how to best find them.

What You Need to Do to Start a Successful Career in Massage

In order to have a successful career in massage industry you need to:

  • Get proper education, preferably from an accredited school. When you go out to find a job most of businesses check where you have received your education.
  • Make sure you pay equal attention to training and theory as massage is more about ‘how you perform’ it.
  • You must socialize and have a strong network so that you can move ahead in your career. Finding your first job or finding better jobs becomes easier when you have friends in the industry.
  • You must remember the continuing education factor and continue to add to your knowledge so that you are not considered obsolete.
  • If you wish to open your own business even then it is recommended that you first gain some experience as a therapist (working for somebody else) so that you can learn the ins and outs of the business.
  • It is recommended that you specialize in a certain type of massage than being the jack of all trades. This way your specific massage might get famous and you may get a lot of work. However, it is important that you concentrate an ‘in demand’ or unique massage, such as the hot stone massage.
  • You need to have the right work ethic and know how to deal with clients so that they are fully satisfied and leave a good feedback. This is an industry where the word of mouth matters a lot.

Some examples of businesses where you can start your career include health clubs, spas, gyms and cruise liners. By working for such businesses, you could make more money than you would by working on your own, at least initially.

As you can see, there is considerable potential for a career in massage therapy. Keep these tips in mind as you progress in your pursuit of a quality massage education and a successful career ahead.

Have a look at some of the best and most affordable massage therapy schools available today.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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