The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its new employment forecasts, and for massage therapists, the news is all good. From now through 2022, this field of employment is expected to increase 23 percent, with about 30,000 more jobs becoming available. This is much faster than the average growth expected across all industries, which should be encouraging both to current massage therapists and to students interested in entering the field.
Massage therapists are directly involved in improving the general wellness of others. They help people who have pain or stiffness, as well as those who have suffered injuries or illnesses. Although they are not medical care providers, massage therapists provide valuable services that increase their clients’ physical comfort and body functioning. There are many different types of massage, known as “modalities,” that massage therapists may practice, including sports massage and deep-tissue massage.
The educational requirements for becoming a massage therapists are different in every state, with most requiring massage therapists to have a license or some other formal qualification. Massage therapy programs are typically offered as post-secondary non-degree programs and may be found at a variety of institutions. In states that require licensing, massage therapists must usually complete a state or federal examination. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more states to adopt licensing procedures for massage therapists over the next few years, so even if you live in a state where licensing isn’t currently required, it probably will be soon.
Massage therapists work in a variety of environments and according to a variety of schedules. In 2012, almost half were self-employed and only about one-third worked full time. Because they work by appointment, their schedules can be highly irregular. Over the next several years, demand for these services will grow as the U.S. population gets older and the need for health care services will increase across the board. The median pay for massage therapists is about $35,000 a year, but remember that number includes a large number of part-time therapists. Full-time workers make considerably more, with the top talent taking home more than $70,000 annually.
Massage therapy is a large and growing field, and there will be plenty of job opportunities in the near future for graduates of recognized massage therapy programs. Massage therapy can be a rewarding career in and of itself, and it can also be a jumping off point for other careers, like sports trainers, exercise physiologists, and even physical therapist aides and assistants. No matter where you live, attending a massage therapy school and getting your license is a great way to prepare to take advantage of the many opportunities that will become available. Start working toward your future by enrolling in massage therapy school today.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massage therapists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.