In this stress-filled world, massage therapists provide a very valuable service. They give relief to the aches and pains experienced by their clients through the power of touch. If this job seems appealing to you then you can consider a career as a massage therapist. In this profession, you talk to clients about their symptoms, their medical history and the relief they expect to get. Using your knowledge on muscle and tissue manipulation, you perform the massage to help alleviate the client’s symptoms.
In addition to their technical knowledge about massage and the human anatomy, massage therapists also need to empathize with their clients. The comfort level of a patient must always be taken into consideration during therapy and you must make adjustments when needed. Because you can expect to give several massages in a day, you also need to have the physical stamina for the job.
There are a number of reasons to become a massage therapist and they have nothing to do with pay because the wages are not as high as that of other medical careers. One of the reasons why a career as a massage therapist is worth pursuing is that it enables therapists to provide relief to others through mere manipulation of the body’s soft tissues. The relief felt by clients is often immediate and there is satisfaction in knowing that their hands were vital in giving them freedom from stress and pain. Another reason to become a massage therapist is that while it is still a career in the healthcare field, it’s not as clinical and cold as that provided by other medical professionals.
Massage Therapist Work Environment
Massage therapists generally work part-time, with massage schedules generally arranged on an appointment basis. In 2012, around 46 percent of massage therapists were self-employed. The others worked in fitness centers, spas and hospitals, among others. Self-employed therapists usually provide their own equipment, such as tables, chairs, pillows and sheets and oils and lotions so they can carry out their jobs. If the massage therapist does not use the proper techniques or don’t space their sessions properly, they can get injured or sick.
Massage Therapist Salary
According to the May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of massage therapists is $40,400 or a median wage of $17.27 per hour. Their earnings can be augmented by tips given by satisfied clients.
Massage Therapist Career Outlook
The employment outlook for this profession is quite rosy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for massage therapists from 2012 to 2022 is projected to grow 23 percent, a rate which is faster than the average for most occupations. One driver for this demand is the growing number of retirees who find the service beneficial. The number of massage clinics offering affordable massages has also increased, adding to the demand. The licensing requirements of other states have also made the practice of massage more accepted.
Massage Therapist Degree
The first step towards becoming a massage therapist is finishing a massage therapy program which can last for 500 hours or more. To be admitted to this program, a high school diploma is necessary. These programs include classes in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, business management and ethics. Modes of teaching the program include both theory and practice of hands on massage techniques. As of 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that 44 states and the District of Columbia have regulated the practice of massage therapy. Before allowing massage therapy program graduates to practice the profession, they need to pass the state exam or a nationally- recognized test. The latter can either be the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.