Massage therapists work in a variety of settings—public, private, their own homes, traveling offices, and more. In 2012, almost half of massage therapists were self-employed, so this is a great career for self-starters who want to own and run their own businesses. Here are the top work environments for graduates of massage therapy schools.
Own Home or Client’s Home
Many self-employed massage therapists work out of their own home or have portable equipment (e.g., massage chairs and tables) that they take to their clients’ homes. They determine their own workload, schedule their own time, set their own rates, and so on. Many people like this arrangement because of the flexibility it provides. On the other hand, many prefer to have a more reliable schedule and steadier income, so they may seek part- or full-time employment in one of the settings below.
Health Care Settings
Doctors often prescribe massage therapy for patients following an accident or a surgical procedure, as part of physical therapy, and for other reasons. To meet this need, many massage therapists work in health care settings, like doctors’ offices, hospitals, and physical therapy clinics. Massage therapists in these environments are a vital part of the patients’ health care team, and they work closely with health care practitioners. These jobs generally pay the highest wages in the field (from roughly $43,000 to $50,000 per year), and massage therapists who work in them are usually required to be licensed by the state.
Resorts and Spas
Resorts and spas across the country and across the globe are popular destinations for people seeking rest and relaxation—which frequently involves massages. Many luxury hotels offer massage services, either in dedicated on-site spa facilities or in customers’ rooms. From day spas to week-long resorts, these environments offer plenty of work for experienced massage therapists.
Health Clubs and Sports Organizations
Private health clubs often employ massage therapists for their members, and many sports teams—mainly at the college and professional levels—keep massage therapists on staff for the season. Massage therapy students who wish to work in these settings should consider specializing in sports massage during their training.
Cruise Ships and Other Vacation Destinations
People like to treat themselves on vacation, and what better way than with a spa day? Massage therapists who work on cruise ships travel the world for weeks at a time, providing massage services to the passengers. If you want to see the world, and don’t mind having a floating home for much of the year, this might be a great option for you!
As you can see, qualified massage therapists have a range of employment opportunities, and with the growth expected in this industry over the next few years, the opportunities will only increase.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massage therapists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massage therapists. Occupational Employment Statistics.