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Where Can Massage Therapists Work?

Posted Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019 by Altierus

Interested in training to pursue a career as a massage therapist? This occupation offers you the opportunity to help others relax, recover from injuries, and improve their overall wellbeing.  It also offers the opportunity to enter an in-demand profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that national job openings for massage therapists may grow by up to 22% over the 2018-2028 period, adding 35,400 new jobs to the economy.[i]

You may be wondering where massage therapists can work. The answer is that a trained and licensed massage therapy professional has many avenues for creating a satisfying and varied career. Here are a few of the options available if you choose to pursue a massage therapy career.

Self-Employment

Some massage therapists choose to go into business for themselves. This can mean opening a storefront location and employing other therapists. It may also mean operating a mobile massage business, where they travel from site to site to provide treatment to clients.

The self-employed path offers flexibility and the freedom to choose one’s own equipment and products. It also requires therapists to understand marketing, business development, self-employment tax, paperwork and other regulations—but for many massage therapists, the freedom is worth the extra effort.

Sports and Fitness

Many gyms, sports teams, and athletic clubs are beginning to see the benefits of having massage therapists on staff. Massage therapists employed in these settings may work in facilities at health clubs, team training facilities, or even travel with teams to events. Sports massage therapists’ clients may range from people just beginning to work out to top professional athletes.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), it’s important for massage therapists who want to work in sports and fitness settings to understand the demands various sports place on an athlete’s body, from commonly stressed muscles to the types of injuries typically seen in the sport. For example, a football player’s shoulders will have different types of issues compared to a competitive swimmer’s shoulders.[ii]

After completing initial training and licensure, massage therapists can pursue specialized certification in sports massage to enhance their profile with employers.

Spas and Salons

Many massage therapists find job opportunities in spas and salons. These include day spas, fitness spas, cruise ships, hotels, and other settings. Spa settings keep therapists busy, with most performing massages on many clients every day.

In addition to a fast pace, spas offer the opportunity to work in a team environment that may include support staff such as receptionists. Having support staff makes it possible for therapists to focus solely on treating their clients. The AMTA also reports that some spas provide continuing education training for their therapists to keep them on top of new developments, techniques, and treatment add-ons such as hot stone massage.[iii]

Medical Settings

Massage therapists who work in medical settings have the opportunity to provide relaxation, pain relief, and a sense of well-being to patients undergoing treatment for other conditions. In the medical setting, massage therapists may move around inpatient treatment wards, work in a separate massage clinic, or travel between long-term care facilities. Sometimes, massage therapists in clinical settings may not have access to typical equipment such as massage tables or chairs.[iv]

Working with clinical patients means massage therapists need to be aware of injuries, illnesses or underlying conditions that may rule out massage in certain areas of the body or massage that uses certain types of techniques.[v] Communication with practitioners and patients is key to success in medical massage jobs.

Massage Franchises and Chains

The final massage therapy workplace option we’ll look at is a newer, growing one: massage or spa franchises and chains. According to the AMTA, massage therapists who work for chains may have access to benefits and regular hours along with freedom from the paperwork and marketing responsibilities that self-employed therapists need to handle themselves.[vi] However, franchise operations may offer entrepreneurial massage therapists the opportunity to own an outlet of their own.

As with spa settings, massage franchises require massage therapists to see many clients over the course of a day—often six to six and a half hours of massage[vii]. It is important for massage therapists who work in these settings to practice appropriate self-care to ensure they remain fit enough to keep up with their massage clients—possibly even booking a massage for themselves!

Training for Massage Therapy Careers

To get started pursuing a career in massage therapy, you’ll need the right training. At Altierus Career College in Tampa, we offer a nine-month Massage Therapy diploma program that blends online and on-campus learning. Our diploma covers skills and techniques for treating a wide variety of clients, from infants to athletes.

In addition, our massage therapy program features built-in preparation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). You’ll also receive a professional massage therapist starter kit which includes a sheet set, hand towels, and a massage chair or table—all of which are yours to keep. Learn more about how you can train for a massage therapy career with us today!


[i] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm#tab-6

[ii] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/sports_backcoverr_17.pdf, p. 5

[iii] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/spa_backcoverr_17.pdf, p. 5

[iv] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/healthcare_backcoverr_17.pdf, p.5

[v] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/healthcare_backcoverr_17.pdf, p. 5

[vi] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/amta_franchiseguide_updatedback.pdf, p. 7

[vii] https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/amta_franchiseguide_updatedback.pdf, p. 8

Train for a career in Massage Therapy

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