Learn About Being a Massage Therapist
Massage therapy is a career that can be rewarding, but it isn’t always easy. Whether you’re looking to work as a massage therapist or just want more information about what they do, this article has all the answers. We’ll go over typical salary and job requirements, along with other important considerations like what to expect from your first day on the job. After reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether or not becoming a massage therapist is right for you!
- The average salary for a massage therapist is $40,000 to $50,000 per year.
- It takes about 500 hours of training at an accredited school to become a licensed massage therapist in the United States, and you’ll need to pass several exams before receiving your license.
- You can expect to spend between 1 and 2 years in school if you’re attending full time, but if you take classes part-time it could take up to 4 or 5 years.
As a massage therapist, your job duties will vary depending on the state you work in. Since there are no federal laws regulating massage therapy, each state’s laws may differ slightly. The following is a general overview of what a massage therapist does:
- Must have at least 500 hours of training (1 year)
- Must pass an exam to receive their license from the state board of cosmetology
- Must renew their license every two years
Massage therapists work with clients’ muscles using a variety of techniques including pressure points, stretching and myofascial release. They also use modalities such as heat/cold packs or electricity to help relax tense areas that may be causing pain or discomfort for their clientele.
Massage therapist work environment
Most massage therapists work in offices, but they can also be found in hospitals, spas, schools, gyms and hotels. Some have their own practice and others prefer to work at a clinic or health spa. Massage therapists who do the latter usually have set hours and may not see their clients on a regular basis like those who are self-employed.
Some other places you might find a massage therapist include nursing homes, cruise ships or even a bed and breakfast for some extra cash.
What’s the job description?
The job of a massage therapist can vary greatly depending on the setting, who they’re working with, and which techniques or tools they use. Some massage therapists work in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, others run their own businesses or work for spas or clinics.
A typical day for a massage therapist might include:
- Meeting clients before their appointment (to get details about what they’re experiencing and any injuries/problems)
- Getting set up at the treatment table (on time!)
- Explaining how to lie down safely and what to expect during the session (this is important!)
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Licenses and certifications
Licenses and certifications are the two main ways that therapists learn to work with clients. A license is a government-issued document that allows you to practice massage therapy in your area, while a certification is an educational diploma that shows you’ve completed specific training courses.
Certifications are typically offered by private organizations such as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) or the International Association of Massage Therapy Schools (IAMTS). They’re often associated with educational institutions, so they include coursework in anatomy and physiology as well as practical hands-on training.
License requirements vary from state to state, but they usually involve passing an exam at the end of your training program or internship period. In some states, this can mean completing 500 hours of education over several weeks or months before taking the exam; others require only 100 hours’ worth of instruction spread out across several years’ worth of classes.
What does a typical first day look like?
You’re almost ready to start your new career as a massage therapist, but there are a few things you should know before you begin. The day of your first shift will be exciting and nerve-wracking, but if you follow these tips, it will go smoothly:
- Bring everything that you need for work with you on the first day. This includes all of your equipment (if required), uniforms or scrubs (if required), and anything else that the company has asked for.
- Make sure that everything is organized in advance. The last thing anyone wants is to have their new employee missing time because they couldn’t find something important!
- Be prepared for any questions or concerns about your first day from both coworkers and clients alike – after all, everyone has different needs when getting massages.
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What does a typical workday look like?
- You will typically work anywhere from two to three days per week.
- You’ll see anywhere from one to five clients per day, depending on how many appointments you have scheduled.
- Your breaks are usually not very long, since most massage therapists go by the appointment clock and not a typical 9-to-5 schedule.
- Your weekends are often just as busy as your weekdays, especially if you’re working in a spa or wellness center that offers multiple services like acupuncture and nutritional counseling.
- There is some flexibility with scheduling, but most massage therapists try to stick with regular hours so they can better plan their work schedules around personal commitments like having children or taking care of elderly parents.
What does the rest of the year look like?
In the summer, days are longer and people are out and about more often. The competition may be a little stiffer because there are just so many people looking for work—but the benefit is that you’ll likely get more calls than you can handle. In winter, the days are shorter and it’s cold outside which means fewer people want to go for a run or take a walk on their lunch break. This means that if you’re available during those hours, there will be less competition for your services! If you’re willing to sacrifice some of your personal time off in exchange for extra income from filling in these gaps in demand, then this could be an excellent opportunity for growth as well!
What is it like working with clients?
Working with clients is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. One of the great things about being a massage therapist is that you get to meet all sorts of people from different walks of life. A lot of them are athletes who need help recovering from an injury, but many others are just regular folks looking for some relief from stress or pain. No matter who comes into your office, it’s important that you respect their privacy and make sure they feel comfortable with what you’re doing in order to be effective at helping them out. Remember: these are real people here! Massage therapists must be able to keep a professional demeanor while still being able to talk through any problems that arise during treatment sessions (and trust me—there will be problems).
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How do you feel about your work at the end of the day?
You should feel like you have helped someone. If a client comes in for a massage, and leaves feeling better about their life, that’s what you want. You should also feel like you’ve done something good for the world. At its core, massage therapy is a service to people who need help with their bodies or minds—and that’s something we can all agree is worth doing!
Finally, of course it’s important to treat yourself with respect and care as well. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking only of others—but if you don’t take care of yourself too, eventually your body will wear out before its time (and then no one gets massages).
How do you keep up with new developments in your field?
If you want to stay on top of important developments in your field and connect with other practitioners, there are several avenues to explore. The first is reading industry publications and blogs. Publications like Massage & Bodywork and Massage Magazine offer detailed coverage of massage techniques, new technologies, research findings, and the impact these have on clients. They also sometimes put out a list of upcoming conferences that can be helpful for learning about new techniques or trends.
The second way to keep up with what’s happening in the industry is attending professional conferences where experts from different fields come together to share their knowledge. Conferences offer great opportunities for networking too, so don’t forget to talk shop with other therapists at these events!
Finally we’ll discuss taking continuing education courses online or through an institution like a community college or university near you (if they offer them). These types of classes will help you stay up-to-date on the latest research findings while providing you with additional skills that may come in handy when treating patients who need specific therapies such as acupuncture therapy
A massage therapist should be pampering people all day.
A massage therapist should be pampering people all day. You’re the best person in the world, after all.
Massaging is a great way to relax, relieve stress and improve circulation in your body.
Massage therapists are there for you when you need them most: whether it’s for a relaxing vacation or to recover from a hard day at work.
Massage therapy is a rewarding career, but it isn’t always easy. It’s important to have the right training and experience in order to succeed as a massage therapist. It’s also important to stay up-to-date on new developments in the field so that you can provide your clients with the best possible care.