Massage therapy has become a popular profession for a number of reasons.
According to research, massage therapy was estimated to be a $16 billion industry in America in 2017. Also, between 19-24% of adult Americans had a massage at least once between July 2016 and July 2017.
That’s a lot of back rubs.
There’s also been more research and information published on what specific massaging can do for a human’s overall health.
At a time when people are obsessed with becoming their “best self,” this is a great profession to get into.
Not only are you able to boost your massage therapist salary by gaining more experience, certifications or specific skills, but you’ll be helping your clients overcome or avoid a number of health issues.
Today, massage therapists are most likely to enter the profession as a second career and the majority of these individuals will be women.
While you can basically choose your hourly wage if you’re an at-home massage therapist, this depends on the competition in the area.
However, on average, massage therapists can charge $72/session which is usually an hour of massage.
In this article we will outline a general massage therapist salary range, which is dependent on expertise, skills, and work location. We will also share what you can do to help boost your own massage therapist salary.
What is Massage Therapy and Are There Different Types?
Basic massage therapy is the foundational type of massage therapy specialties.
This is simply the practice of applying specific types of pressure, motion, tension or vibration to body tissues.
This can be through either unstructured or structured movements, with or without the use of mechanical tools.
There are many different types of massage therapy such as:
While the main idea and action behind therapeutic massages is fairly simple, these specific forms of therapeutic massage involve very unique and specialized skills and movements.
In fact, every type of therapeutic massage can generate a specific type of health benefit.
While many massage therapists choose to study and practice a number of these forms of massages, there are some who specialize and master only one or two types.
Depending on the length and extent of education and training you’re looking to take on, you can become a master in a number of massage techniques as well. Depending on location, this can help boost a massage therapist’s salary.
Now, let’s get into the meat of the article.
How Much Can a Massage Therapist Make?
This is a loaded question.
Simply put: it ranges fairly drastically.
If you’re looking to set up a massage parlor from home, you can basically charge what you like. However as mentioned earlier, the average hourly rate is $72, so to beat competition it’s recommended to stick to this rate or shoot for lower, depending on your level of expertise.
If you’re looking for something a bit more reliable, the most common employers of massage therapists are spas, physicians’ offices, clinics, fitness centers, and hotels.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for massage therapists is $39,860.
Depending on the specialization, location, level, and years of experience, along with a number of other factors, actual salaries may vary.
Once you decide to enter a massage therapy program, you can do one of two things: complete the minimal amount of training hours in order to begin ASAP, or you can complete additional hours in order to specialize in a specific area of interest.
Your workplace and ability to grow a large base of clients will affect your overall earnings as well.
On top of that, according to BLS reports, the top 10% of massage therapists earn over $74,870 per year.
Huge differences in salaries, yet lots of opportunities to reach that dream income.
Massage Therapist Salary Statistics
Massage therapists with mid-career experience will be looking at an annual salary of $42,000 while experienced massage therapists – those with 10-20 years of experience – can expect a compensation of $48,000 per year.
As mentioned, expert massage therapists can earn between $54,000-100,000 per year.
However, since The American Massage Therapy Association reduced a massage therapist’s salary to $25,539 in 2016, most massage therapists began practicing the skill as a part-time job.
But there’s still good news: massage therapists have ranked #5 in the list of Best Health Care Support Jobs.
With the demand and appreciation of the practice, the annual salary will always have room to improve, and massage therapists will always have a chance to reach those expert salaries
How to Get the Highest Massage Therapist Salary
Alright, so now that we’ve thrown out some pretty big numbers, it’s about time we tell you how to acquire that type of coin.
Of course, skills and experience play an important role in determining a massage therapist’s salary. However, where they perform the massage also contributes to it.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the 3 highest salary massage therapists can be found in:
If you’re looking to move elsewhere, you can also check out this list of 25 best states for massage therapists by Insider Monkey.
While these numbers are great and having a reliable employer is comfortable, many massage therapists choose to build their own practice.
However, the earnings with this route largely depend on how well you can build a solid and large client base.
Future Job Prospects
Seeing as the population’s stress rate is predicted to grow in the upcoming years, it’s safe to say the demand for massage therapy will grow with it.
In fact, a therapist salary increase is also possible due to the 22% growth in employment projected for 2014-2024.
More employment means potentially more stress, as well as more income to be able to afford de-stressing treatments such as massage therapy.
How to Stand Out as a Massage Therapist
Make sure to stay curious and continue learning about your practice.
Experience will always be the main factor in career advancement for massage therapists.
While some people get degrees in this practice, there’s also the option of learning medical-complimentary massage techniques. This can help employers and practitioners in western medicine take this eastern-influenced practice a bit more seriously.
However, at the end of the day, the main purpose of massage is to heal others. You can gain all the skills and experience you want, but if your heart isn’t in the right place, your clients will be able to sense that.
Gain a solid client base by focusing on the core of massage therapy and get your head and heart into it first. The money will follow.
How Much Competition You Should Expect
You’ll probably face the most competition at high-end spas.
These are the businesses that are more expensive and therefore may pay their massage therapists a higher rate, along with more opportunities for gratuity.
If you’re new to the industry and you don’t want to deal with so much competition right off the bat, consider job hunting at airports, corporate environments or hotels.
Another option of separating yourself from tough competition is to focus on a specialized and in-demand type of massage therapy. This will help give you an edge over the competition.
How Can I Advance in This Career: Final Thoughts
Again, when it comes to advancing as a massage therapist, it’s mostly about experience.
The more you practice and work at different styles, forms and locations, the more you’ll advance.
While some people choose to go to school for a diploma or degree in this field, it’s not the only, or most popular for that matter, way to advance.
As long as you begin gathering a large client base, along with practiced skills and specialized types of massages, you’ll be able to advance quickly.
How quickly all depends on how often you practice and how much time you put towards building this client base and your skills.
Also, by returning to massage therapy school to train in a specific type of massage, such as Asian bodywork, you’ll be able to boost your credibility and expertise. The more expertise you have, the more desirable you’ll be to your clients.
So, what are you waiting for? Start building your portfolio and working those hands to build your impressive client base today.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these massage therapist personal websites!
Keyword: Massage Therapist Salary