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How to Become a Massage Therapist

Everyone loves getting a good massage, but imagine if you were the one giving a good massage. If you are interested in learning that skill, you’re probably wondering how to become a massage therapist. Becoming a massage therapist is relatively easy. Read on to find out exactly what they do and how you can do it, too.

What Is a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist is someone who uses massage techniques to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues in the human body. Their job is to help people deal with anything from daily stressors to chronic injuries and pain.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Administrative Duties

Massage therapists perform administrative duties like making appointments, handling paperwork, cleaning and sanitizing massage rooms, and updating computer systems. These duties may seem menial, but are crucial to the success of the business.

Client Intake

A big part of massage therapy is personally talking with new clients. This helps establish trust and determine why they need massage therapy and what their goals are. It also helps determine what will keep the client most comfortable.

Providing Massages

Of course, massage therapists give massages. Most are trained in many different types of massage, from deep tissue to hot stone, and are expected to perform whatever suits their clients best.

Essential Massage Therapist Skills

Communicates Easily

Communication is key to building and maintaining trust with clients. If clients feel uncomfortable, they need to be able to communicate that with you and vice versa. You need to be able to explain to clients what the process is and how everything works in your business as well.

Empathy for Others

As a massage therapist, you need to be able to empathize with others. Chances are, you will deal with many people suffering from mental health issues or recovering from severe injuries. These people are likely to be self-conscious and in a bad state of mind, so having empathy for them is important to developing trust and respect.

Good Hygiene Habits

When you are working on somebody’s body, you need to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. This means not only washing your hands and showering regularly, but also cleaning and sanitizing your work station frequently.

Massage Therapist Salaries and Job Outlook

Massage therapists can earn a wide range of pay. The lowest end of that rage is around $21,800 per year. This is the pay you can expect in an entry-level position.

The average annual salary for a massage therapist is around $42,800. While this isn’t the highest paying profession out there, if you enjoy it, the pay doesn’t matter as much. And, there are massage therapists who make over $80,000 a year, meaning you have plenty of opportunities to earn more.

Massage therapy is becoming more and more accepted as a way to manage pain and stress. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the field will grow by a  whopping 22 percent by 2028, opening up a plethora of new jobs.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Massage Therapist?

On average, it only takes around one year for a person to complete the necessary training to become a massage therapist. Some people are even able to cut that time down to eight months or sometimes even less than that. This is a field in which a college degree is not required, making it a lot easier to get into quickly.

How to Become a Massage Therapist: A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Complete a Massage Therapy Program

Prospective massage therapists will need to enroll in and complete a massage therapy program from a massage school, community college, or university that is accredited by their state. These programs, with a commitment to full-time classes and work, generally only take about one year to complete.

Step 2: Complete State Practical Requirement

Every state has a practical requirement that determines how many hours you must work before you can apply for a license. Generally, people can fulfill this requirement through an internship or working at a massage school’s massage clinic.

Step 3: Take the License Exam

After completing the state practical requirement, you will have to pass a licensing exam. Depending on your state, you will either have to take one that is custom curated by the state or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The MBLEx is a federally developed and administered exam that consists of 100 questions.

Step 4: Apply for State License

After passing the license exam, you will have to apply for a state license with proof that they have met all of the state’s requirements. Each state’s process is different, so you will need to research yours to find out all of the steps. You can also apply for certification by completing a certain number of hours and clinical work, which makes the licensing process easier.

Should You Become a Massage Therapist in 2020?

If this is a career you are interested in pursuing, you should go for it. The job outlook is fantastically high, the salary is decent, and you will enjoy being able to help people cope with their stresses and pains.


Can anyone be a massage therapist?
Yes, anyone can be a massage therapist, as long as you fulfill all of the requirements set forth by your state.
Is massage therapy hard to learn?
Most people describe massage therapy as challenging, but not difficult. Schooling covers massage techniques as well as learning about the human body, which can present difficulties if you are unprepared for the scientific aspect of it.
How many hours do massage therapists work every day?
Most massage therapists only complete about 15 hours a week of actual massaging, but fill up the rest of their time performing client intake and administrative tasks.
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