Pros / A career as a massage therapist requires only a postsecondary certificate that usually takes a year to earn.

Cons / The low-range salary pay is the lowest out of comparable careers.

 Verdict / A massage therapist career is a decent consideration if you want to get into a medical field quickly with many workplace options, but salaries tend to be lower than other high-paying medical jobs.

Massage therapists use touch and other techniques to help relieve pain, reduce stress and promote relaxation in their patients. This medical career works with patients to determine the best course of massage therapy.

The low end for average salaries for massage therapists is the lowest out of comparable undergraduate careers in medicine. The mid-range salary is a little above the average for all occupations in the United States as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the high average is near the average for undergraduate health care careers. Salary depends a lot on your education level, your experience and your employer.

Many massage therapists can begin working in this health care career after completing a one-year postsecondary certificate program. However, education requirements vary from job to job. You may need to complete an associate degree program to be competitive for some positions. Many states require massage therapists to gain licensure after completing their programs, which usually requires an exam. In general, you need to check with your state and city to know what requirements you need to meet in order to practice.

This health care job has above-average job growth estimates compared to overall occupations in the United States. However, the overall number of jobs nationwide reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is in the middle range for comparable health care jobs.

Massage therapists can find work in a variety of interesting workplace areas. In addition to general medical centers, such as hospitals and nursing homes, that have massage therapists, spas, cruise ships, hotels and health clubs also employ these professionals. Many therapists may also choose to work from their own homes or travel to clients' homes.

Self-employed therapists can set their own hours and work full-time. Those therapists working for various facilities can find a variety of scheduling opportunities. Many spas and hotels may run 24/7 or only during daytime hours.

  • High Wage
  • Mid-Range Wage
  • Low Wage
  • Percentage of Growth
  1. The average salary earned by the highest 10 percent of workers.
    Higher is better.
  2. 9  Massage Therapists
    $71460.0
  3. $98800.0
  4. $118180.0
  5. $97390.0
  6. Category Average
    $82492.0

Summary

Although you can generally begin working as a massage therapist with a one-year postsecondary certificate, the salary range can run low. However, if you enjoy working with your hands and you're looking for a medical career that can work in a variety of interesting settings, massage therapy is a good consideration.

Specifications and Benchmarks

Job Requirements and Availability

Minimum Degree for Employment
Post-secondary Certificate
Projected Job Openings
26,500
Percentage of Growth
22%
Number of Jobs Nationwide
168,800
Specialization Available
Advanced Job Titles Available
No National Licensing and Exam Board
No State Licensure Required to Work

Workplace Opportunities

Private Practice Offices
Hospitals
Self-Employed
Clinics
Government
Nursing Care Facilities
Home Health Care
Schools
Laboratories

Scheduling Flexibility

Full-time
Part-time
Freelance or Consultant
Day Shift
No On Call
No Swing Shift
No Graveyard Shift
No Weekend Shift
No Holiday Work