Massage Therapy Technicians Career Guide


It is said that in order to achieve something big in life, you have to undergo painstaking problems. Or, to put it simple: no pain, no gain. The pain makes you brave enough to deal with any kind of problem in the future, but the problems that pain causes may result in stress, lack of motivation, and lack of energy. Relaxing the mind and body is key to reviving your energy and getting you started again, ready to take on the world. How better to do this than enjoying a massage? Students who understand this need and are willing to learn how to help others through their problems should apply for a program in massage therapy.

Job Duties

The goal of a massage therapy technician is to treat clients suffering from various physical ailments like tired or injured muscles, and to help clients relax and unwind from the stress of a busy lifestyle. Massage therapists use their hands, elbows, and sometimes other tools like warm stones during the course of a massage to reduce stress and relieve pain in their patients. Massage therapist technicians often operate their own centers where clients are given massages in order to revitalize their bodies. Because patients suffer from many different ailments, there are just as many massage techniques to address every patient’s unique needs. Some of these techniques include water treatments (aquatic therapy), acupressure, dry heat, steam and sauna massage, and infrared light. These are usually accompanied by different types of oils, lotions, and sometimes aromatherapy products like candles and incense.

Job Outlook

Massage therapy technicians are usually self-employed, but they can also be found in sports clinics, spas and resorts, chiropractic offices, hotels, cruise ships, and injury rehabilitation centers. As of 2010, there were 153,700 licensed massage therapists in the US, with an estimated growth rate of 20 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Salary Trends

A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010 found that the average salary nationwide for massage therapists and technicians was around $35,000 per year. Actual salaries depend largely on the technician’s experience, education, and employer.

Educational Requirements

To become a massage therapist, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED. From there, you must obtain at least 500 hours of training. The necessary education typically includes coursework and training in massage techniques and practices, anatomy, physiology, and muscle pathology. Upon completion of your training and before entering professional work, you must be certified as a massage therapist by a state board-administered test or through one of the two national exams: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB). Requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with the health board of the state in which you wish to work.

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