As soon as a student completes massage school, they tend to get a job as a massage therapist immediately. If they already have a reliable job, they often quit to pursue something in massage therapy.
Of course, the profession is great, but it takes time to get established as a massage therapist. This is why you should not quit your old job when you are just beginning a career in massage therapy. This will also give you an inherent back-up plan in the event things don’t pan out or you don’t like practicing massage.
This is all of course if you are able to do the balancing act. For most people, this is not possible. But if you are someone who fits the bill, read further to understand why we hold such a position.
The Nature of Entry Level Massage Jobs
Most massage therapists are told about the job opportunities that will be available to them after they complete massage school. Many are lead to believe that they will be earning the maximum possible wage straight out of school. Moreover, you may also believe that you will definitely get a job at a good facility.
Many people who want to begin their own practice tend to start as soon as they complete their education. Unfortunately, this is not how the industry works sometimes. Because you are a relative unknown player in the field, you could find it hard to attract clients in the beginning.
Beginning a massage career can involve going through your share of struggle similar to any other profession. This is why entry level jobs are not always well paying. Since you don’t have the experience straight out of school, you may not be employed at renowned facilities. Therefore, you may not get your dream job immediately after completing school.
Getting a Part Time Massage Job
In most cases, massage therapists aim to get a full time job at a massage facility. This can create financial challenges since jobs for new therapists may not pay much initially. You could end up struggling financially if you get such a job.
Instead, the best option is to get a part time job as a massage therapist until you gain sufficient experience. If you already hold a stable day job, be sure to not quit. This way, you will be able to support yourself financially while practicing therapy and building your career.
You won’t have to worry about making ends meet since you hold a stable full time job.
Finding Reliable Clients
One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a massage therapist is finding reliable clients. Many clients are not reliable when it comes to receiving regular massages. On the other hand, there are others who schedule but may not show up for an appointment.
There are many people who may even mistake you for someone who provides sexual services for money. These are some cons of becoming a massage therapist that you have to take into account. This is especially important if you are beginning your own practice. Having a list of reliable clients will ensure you have a smooth run.
At an average, building a good client list can take at least two years. This is why you cannot rely on massage therapy as a sole source of income at the beginning of your career. Of course, once you have a reliable client list, you can quit your day job in order to accommodate them better on a full time basis.
Continuously Developing Your Skills
Another important aspect which could make all the difference in your career is your skills. If you are not good at what you do, you may not be appreciated by clients.
This is the case with many therapists when they complete massage school. They have a lot to learn and their massage techniques have not been perfected. This is why you should spend a fair amount of time perfecting your skills first. Always remember that the better massage you provide, the more enjoyment and relief your clients will have.
Of course, if your clients like your massage, they are more likely to come back to you. Another thing to take into consideration is trade secrets. Most people won’t tell you the secrets of the profession and you will have to learn and figure them out for yourself. That’s why it is sometimes better to work at a massage facility before starting your own massage business.
Starting Salary for a New Massage Therapist
The starting salary for a new massage therapist is pretty low. In the best case scenario, you may earn as much as $10 to $15 per hour. In some cases, you may only be paid if you are actually giving a massage to a client (pay per massage basis).
To make matters less attractive, not many clients are willing to get massaged by a novice therapist. This is why it may become very difficult for you to make ends meet working as a therapist alone.
Fortunately, this will carry on only for a sometime until you become experienced in the profession. Once you are an experienced therapist, and have developed a great technique, you should be able to earn a lot more.
However, you have to bear all expenses until that time. This is why you should make it a point to get a day job, or not quit the job you already have.
In some cases, new therapists are not even able to work for extensive hours due to physical stress. So, initially you may be working for a couple of hours only, until you develop the endurance to work longer.
Average Time Frame to Establish Yourself
One of the worst things you can do is to set a timeline for establishing yourself in the profession. The standards of all professions are changing constantly and there are new challenges which are coming up daily.
This is why it is not ideal to set a fixed time by which you should be established.
You are very likely to be disappointed if you are not able to meet your expectations. If you are beginning your own practice, you may need around 5 to 7 years to become established. Then too you may face unforeseen circumstances which may hinder your success.
Always try to retain your full time job for a few years while practicing massage therapy on the side. This could help you remain afloat financially till the time you are established in the profession.
Fortunately, massage therapy is one of those uber flexible professions that allow you this flexibility in life. Use it to your advantage until you become an established superstar in the industry.
Like any other field or industry, massage has its own struggles and challenges. With that said, the sky is the limit for someone who follows the procedures to become successful in the long term. Salaries are great, opportunities are abundant and the profession’s demand is growing at an unprecedented rate.
With growth comes more opportunity and higher salaries. Use our website as a guide and the hundreds of articles we have that are geared to helping new/aspiring massage therapists like you establish a successful career in massage as you march forward in your career. We wish you all the best.