How to Become a Massage Therapist

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions will need to go to a massage therapy program where they will need to complete 500 hours of study and training. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, specific certificates for different types of massages can be useful. Learn more by clicking our “Education Required” tab up top.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a massage therapist.

How Much Do Massage Therapists Make? 
$35,970 (national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+30,000 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Deep tissue, shiatsu, hot stone, reflexology, and Thai massage

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Administrative Services Managers page) 

The Best Places to Become a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists work in a variety of public and private settings including:

  • Private offices
  • Spas
  • Hospitals
  • Fitness centers
  • Private practices

The top paying metropolitan areas for massage therapy are:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Danbury, Connecticut
  • Holland, Michigan

Employment and Information Data for Massage Therapy

Why Become a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists relieve their clients of stress and pain. Do you enjoy making people feel better? Are you interested in the human body and how it works? If so, massage therapy could be an excellent career choice.

Making your clients feel great is a rewarding part of the job. Some massage specialties include deep-tissue, orthopedic, Swedish, sports massage and reflexology. Being a massage therapist gives you to opportunity to meet a variety of people, learn special techniques, help people feel better and be active all day. The growing need for this profession, and flexibility to work in any city, makes massage therapy an exciting career path.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Massage Therapist

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Practicum
  • Shiatsu
  • Swedish massage
  • Business Management & Ethics

Degrees to Help You Become a Massage Therapist

Massage Therapy
Being a massage therapy major includes studying parts of the body and therapeutic massage styles, such as Western massage, sports massage and deep-tissue massage.

Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
Required certifications and tests are based on state rules and regulations. Massage students need to pass this exam in order to guarantee safe and effective massage therapy and bodywork practices. The exam covers subject areas including pathology, massage history, laws and regulations, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology.

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The NCBTMB is an exam that allows massage therapists to validate their knowledge of massage basics. After passing this exam, a therapist will become a Licensed Massage Therapist.