The Massage Therapist Salary in 2017

The highest massage therapist salary in all English-speaking countries is registered in Canada, where massage therapists earn C$58,000 (US$43,041) per year. Canada is followed at a distance by the US with $41,000, Australia with AU$54,000 (US$40,577), the UK with £20,156 (US$25,991), and New Zealand with NZ$32,500 (US$23,367). The lowest salaries for massage therapists are registered in India where a professional earns Rs121,356 (US$1,883) per year and in South Africa where masseuses & masseurs earn ZAR123,000 (US$9,600) per year.

How Much Does a Massage Therapist Make per Year?

Massage Therapist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $19.71 C$27.88
(US$20.69
£9.69
(US$12.50)
AU$25.96
(US$19.50)
NZ$15.63
(US$ 11.24)
Rs58.34
(US$0.90)
ZAR59.13
(US$4.61)
Annual Wage $41,000 C$58,000
(US$43,041)
£20,156
(US$25,991)
AU$54,000
(US$40,577)
NZ$32,500
(US$23,367)
Rs121,356
(US$1,883)
ZAR123,000
(US$9,600)

Massage therapists, also known as masseuses or masseurs, are responsible for manipulating the muscles and other of the body’s soft tissues. They employ different techniques to relieve pain, improve circulation, speed the healing process of injuries, increase relaxation, relieve stress, and improve the general well-being of their clients.

Factors that Influence the Massage Therapist Salary

Massage therapists usually work a wide array of settings, like spas, hospitals, clinics, hotels, massage parlors, and fitness centers. Some massage therapists even travel to their clients’ homes to offer their services. The services of massage therapists are so popular, in fact, that the employment rate for the occupation is expected to grow by 22% by 2024.

1. Geographic Area

Massage Therapist Salary in the US

According to payscale.com, the massage therapist salary in 2017 is around $41,000 per year or $19.71 an hour, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated it at $39,860 per year or $19.17 per hour. Let’s take a look at what exactly influences the salary of a massage therapist.

Since each state has not only its own economy, but also its own medical and therapeutic needs, it is only natural that every state be able to offer a different massage therapist salary. However, we will only be looking at the United States massage therapist salary by state and area.

Below, you will be able to find a series of tables documenting the states and the metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas offering the highest salaries and the highest levels of employment for the profession.

Highest Levels of Employment for Massage Therapists in the US

The states offering the highest levels of employment for the occupation are as follows:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
California 14,330 0.92 1.38 $20.83 $43,330
Florida 7,410 0.94 1.40 $20.31 $42,240
Texas 5,270 0.46 0.68 $18.64 $38,770
New York 4,610 0.51 0.77 $30.28 $62,980
Colorado 4,510 1.84 2.76 $21.19 $44,080

The metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment for masseuses and masseurs are the following:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 4,050 0.99 1.48 $20.10 $41,800
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NYC – NJ Metropolitan Division 3,540 0.55 0.82 $29.32 $60,990
Denver – Aurora – Lakewood, CO 3,300 2.40 3.59 $20.68 $43,010
Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, AZ 3,150 1.68 2.51 $22.39 $46,570
Seattle – Bellevue – Everett, WA Metropolitan Division 2,450 1.59 2.39 $25.88 $53,830
Chicago – Naperville – Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division 2,230 0.62 0.93 $17.58 $36,570
Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington, MN – WI 2,080 1.11 1.66 $21.87 $45,500
Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land, TX 1,560 0.53 0.80 $16.69 $34,720
Las Vegas – Henderson – Paradise, NV 1,550 1.71 2.56 $13.94 $28,990
San Diego – Carlsbad, CA 1,470 1.09 1.63 $18.97 $39,450

The nonmetropolitan areas offering the highest levels of employment for masseuses and masseurs are the following:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Northwest Colorado 440 3.82 5.71 $21.49 $44,700
Hawaii / Kauai / Maui 420 4.44 6.65 $22.83 $47,490
Southeast Iowa 150 0.65 0.97 $25.42 $52,870
South Central Wisconsin 140 0.69 1.03 $15.79 $32,840
Northern Vermont 130 1.82 2.72 $23.88 $49,680
Highest Salaries for Massage Therapists in the US

Meanwhile, the states with the highest massage therapist salary are the following:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Alaska 700 2.14 3.20 $40.46 $84,150
New York 4,610 0.51 0.77 $30.28 $62,980
Washington 4,090 1.37 2.05 $25.86 $53,780
Vermont 340 1.12 1.67 $25.44 $52,910
Oregon 1,810 1.04 1.56 $25.30 $52,630

The metropolitan areas with the highest massage therapist salary are as follows:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Fairbanks, AK 40 1.10 1.65 $42.61 $88,640
Anchorage, AK 570 3.23 4.83 $40.80 $84,870
Pittsfield, MA 70 1.81 2.71 $38.21 $79,470
Lynchburg, VA $33.78 $70,250
Kahului – Wailuku – Lahaina, HI 180 2.48 3.71 $30.72 $63,910
Cedar Rapids, IA $30.48 $63,390
Syracuse, NY 80 0.25 0.38 $30.09 $62,580
Medford, OR 80 0.99 1.49 $29.91 $62,210
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY – NJ Metropolitan Division 3,540 0.55 0.82 $29.32 $60,990
Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division 1,440 1.13 1.69 $29.28 $60,900

Last, but not least, the nonmetropolitan areas with the highest salaries for masseuses and masseurs are as follows:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Balance of Alaska 50 0.61 0.92 $38.17 $79,390
Southeast Alaska 40 1.07 1.61 $35.78 $74,420
Southwest Washington 50 0.80 1.20 $34.89 $72,570
South Coast Oregon 40 0.60 0.90 $33.54 $69,760
Central Washington 40 1.36 2.04 $29.36 $61,080

Massage Therapist Salary in Canada

A massage therapist working in Canada earns about C$58,000 (US$43,041) per year, or C$27.88 (US$20.69) per hour. According to PayScale.com, a beginner in this field starts off at about C$27,021, or US$20,062 per year, while experienced professionals take home up to C$156,863 (US$116,455) per year. About half of the professionals working in this field have between 1 and 4 years of experience behind.

Massage Therapist Salary in the UK

A massage therapist working in the UK earns about £20,156 (US$25,991) per year. A beginner in this field earns about £11,692 (US$15,093) annually in their first years of practice, but with time a professional can earn as much as £53,215 (US$68,690) per year. Bonuses can account for up to £983 (US$1,268) and commission for another £1,524 (US$1,967) per year.

Massage Therapist Salary in Australia

The average salary for massage therapists working in Australia is AU$54,000 (US$40,577) per year. Experienced professionals can take home up to AU$99,005 (US$74,630) according to PayScale, out of which bonuses can account for up to AU$2,000 (US$1,507), and commission – for up to AU$600 (US$452) of that amount. Beginner massage therapists working in Australia, however, start off at about AU$24,190 (US$18,233) per year.

Massage Therapist Salary in New Zealand

According to careers.govt.nz, a massage therapist working in New Zealand can earn between NZ$15,000 (US$10,777) and NZ50,000 (US$35,925) per year. Therefore, the average masseuse salary for a professional working in New Zealand is NZ$32,500 (US$23,367).

Massage Therapist Salary in India

Payscale reports the average masseuse salary in India at Rs121,356 (US$1,883). SalaryExpert, however, states the salary of a masseur or masseuse working in India reaches Rs233,277 (US$3,618) per year. The same source reports the entry level massage therapist salary in India at Rs176,637 (US$2,740) and the salary for experienced masseurs and masseuses at Rs280,258 (US$4,348) per year. Bonuses can account for up to Rs3,569, or US$55, of that amount.

Massage Therapist Salary in South Africa

The average salary of a massage therapist working in South Africa is ZAR123,000 (US$9,600) per year. The beginner masseuse and masseur salary in South Africa is R17,879 (US$1,390), while an experienced massage therapist can earn up to R635,067 (US$49,405) per year. Bonuses can reach R8,000, or US$622, per year for experienced professionals.

2. Experience

Experience is one of the most important factors when it comes to influencing the massage therapist salary. The average licensed massage therapist salary generally increases by more than $30,000 over the course of one’s career, as one crosses the twenty-year mark.

You can notice a very interesting trend in regards to how experience influences the massage therapist salary. Interestingly, the biggest pay raise takes place after more twenty years on the job, which proves that experience is extremely valuable for the profession.

3. Industry

The industry is also fairly important when it comes to determining the massage therapist salary range. In fact, it can lead to jumps in a pay grade of more than $20,000 a year in the US. For example, the sports massage therapist salary will be far lower than that of someone working in a private practice or in a specialty hospital.

The industries offering the highest levels of employment for massage therapists are as follows:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Personal Care Services 43,070 6.49 $19.39 $40,340
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 29,970 3.72 $22.62 $47,060
Traveling Accommodations 9,020 0.48 $19.99 $41,590
Other Recreation and Amusement Industries 3,080 0.26 $20.09 $41,790
General Surgical and Medical Hospitals 820 0.02 $23.38 $48,620

Meanwhile, the industries offering the highest massage therapist salaries are the following:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Management of Enterprises and Companies 40 Less than .005 $31.80 $66,150
Family and Individual Services 50 Less than .005 $31.31 $65,120
Schools and Instruction Services 200 0.05 $30.26 $62,930
Home Health Care Services $26.36 $54,820
Specialty (minus Substance Abuse and Psychiatric) Hospitals 50 0.02 $25.88 $53,820

All tables in this article are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working Hours

According to many statistics, around half of all people with the massage therapist salary work part time. Most of these were either self-employed or working for massage salons. If they are not self-employed, most massage therapists have working schedules dependent on their employers. Despite this, very few massage therapists work eight hours a day or five days a week.

If you are interested in a full-time job in a related field, you should also check out our guides to the Physical Therapist salary and to the Physical Therapy Assistant salary.

Bonuses and Benefits Packages

In the US, bonuses can amount to slightly more than $1,000, profit sharing tends to add around $3,000, and commissions can add as much as $30,000 a year depending on location. Overtimes can be paid with as much as $45 per hour, and tips are usually a wild card.

As for the benefits packages, they all depend on the place of employment. Some massage therapist salaries are accompanied by health insurance, while others also have vision and dental. However, they are rare, as most employers don’t really see a reason to offer massage therapists any particular insurance.

Nevertheless, in countries like India and South Africa where the masseur/masseuse salary is significantly lower than in other English-speaking countries, yearly bonuses only account for the equivalent of a few tens of hundreds of dollars tops per year.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for massage therapists is estimated to grow by 22% by 2024. This is a much faster rate than the average of all occupations in the United States.

This is caused by several factors, such as the increased demand for massage services all over the country and the constant increase of the elderly population. The awareness in regards to the multiple health benefits of massages and the high number of medical conditions and accidents resulting in the need for physical therapy also aid their employment chances.

Conclusion

While the massage therapist salary isn’t all that high in and of itself, the many bonuses, commissions, overtimes, and tips make the job be more than worth the time and effort. The highly optimistic job outlook and the low levels of education needed to get hired as a massage therapist also make the job one of the most coveted in the medical industry.

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