How to Become a Massage Therapist

Alan Cohen

There is nothing like getting a massage. A massage can relax tight muscles, relieve pain and reduce overall stress. Most people are impressed when they get their first massage and eagerly look forward to getting another.

If you would like to play a role in helping people reduce stress and improve their general wellness, you may want to consider becoming a massage therapist. 

Begin the Journey

The educational requirements to become a massage therapist varies depending on the state you intend to practice. Some states require 500 hours of study while you may need 1,000 hours of coursework to become licensed in other states. There are a few states that may require prospective massage therapists to study for more than 1,000 hours.

After completing your training, you may take a written test and demonstrate your skills in order to receive your license. Once you become a licensed massage therapist, some states require continuing education classes throughout your career.

Needed Qualities   

Massage therapists must have certain physical and personal attributes in order to be successful in their chosen field.

  • You must have the physical endurance needed to give several massages during the workday and remain standing while working.
  • Dexterity and physical strength are important as a massage therapist must exert pressure and manipulate a client's muscles.
  • You must develop a good rapport and have empathy for your clients in order to understand their needs.
  • A massage therapist must be able to quickly decide upon a course of action and use time wisely during the allotted appointment time.
  • You must respect the confidential medical information of your clients

A Comprehensive Course of Study

In order to become a licensed massage therapist, you must complete a course of study that will include the following classes.

  • Anatomy
  • Reflexology
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Business management and ethics
  • Customer relations

Although a high school diploma or GED is required for most massage training programs, many students have found it helpful to have taken some college-level courses in the subject areas mentioned above.

Employment Outlook and Wages

The employment outlook for massage therapists is very promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 26% increase in the number of job openings by 2026. The top employment locations for this profession are chiropractor offices, other health practitioners, salon and hospitality locations.

The BLS reports the 2017 median wage for massage therapists to be $39,990 with a range of $20,300 to $77,470. Wages vary according to the state and region where you may practice.

Caring for People

If you have a caring personality and the physical strength and stamina to give massages, perhaps you should further explore a career as a massage therapist. Becoming a massage therapist can be a rewarding career where you will meet a number of people and help improve their quality of life.

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