Licensed massage therapists manipulate clients’ muscles and soft tissues to relieve pain, promote relaxation, help with injuries or illness and aid in overall health. As a result, they make a good income. However, the precise amount they earn varies depending on many factors such as location, employer, specialization and experience.
A high school diploma is usually enough to secure a job as a massage therapist, though you may need to meet your state’s licensing requirements before working professionally. Licensure typically includes graduating from a program that meets your state’s educational standards and passing a national exam such as the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Continuing education, professional association membership and board certification can also boost your earning potential.
Massage therapists work in various workplace settings, including hospitals and medical clinics, spas and private practice offices. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) reports that those who conduct their own private massage practices can charge upwards of $75 per standard one-hour session. But these professionals must cover upfront costs such as equipment and marketing materials.
The AMTA states that therapists in the highest demand are those who offer services such as orthopedic massage, which targets injured muscles, or injury treatment and rehabilitation, which often requires collaboration with other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. In addition, therapists who specialize in prenatal and infant massage are in demand. But despite the impressive earnings figures, it is rare for massage therapists to earn six-figure salaries.