How to Become a Massage Therapist

The field of massage therapy is developing rapidly, and there are many opportunities for career advancement. Massage therapists use specialist techniques to help improve the health of their clients. Massages consist of relieving pain and relaxing muscles by manipulating soft tissues in certain areas of the body. This treatment is effective for a variety of conditions, including sleep disturbances and high blood pressure.

What is Involved in The Role

Massage therapists work in a variety of settings, including hotels, clinics, and sports centers. Their role is to help relieve pain and promote relaxation by using pressurised physical touch and specific movements, achieved with various techniques. Techniques can include the use of their hands, feet, forearms, or elbows. Massage therapists will often work with clients who are suffering from different types of chronic pain to provide relief, reduce stress and improve circulation. They can also carry out sessions strictly for relaxation where a client may approach them on a spa day for a bit of pampering.

What Skills Are Required

As with any job there are specific skills that are needed in order to be successful in this career. These include:
  • Physical strength and endurance - this type of work requires you to be on your feet all day working for up to several hours per session using varied levels of pressure.
  • The ability to work well with your hands
  • Active listening skills
  • A good knowledge of human anatomy
  • The ability to work well with your hands
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Excellent verbal communication skills

Massage Therapist Salary

The salary of a massage therapist will vary depending on the specific role you undertake and the state you are working in. The average for the industry is estimated to sit around $​​39,990, with the highest earners grossing in the ballpark of $77,470. This broad span is largely due to the diverse range of job titles that fall under the massage therapy category.

How to Become a Massage Therapist

To begin your career, one of the best starting points is to enroll in a formal education program in the form of a degree or a certificate. Here you will be taught how to perform different types of massage and provide the perfect experience for your clientele. Education should include both practical and theory lessons so you can gain on-the-job experience while studying.
Building up your practical hours
There are requirements in each state for the minimum number of hours of practical massaging experience needed to become a licensed therapist. You may have already built up hours in your school’s massage clinic, and if not, you can complete an internship to increase your number of hands-on hours.
Some schools will include a licensing test as part of their graduation requirements. If this isn’t an option at your place of study, you will need to complete the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). This two-hour, 100-question assessment is conducted by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).
State Licensing Application
Before you can get your first job as a massage therapist, you need to become licensed in your state. Look up the specific licensing requirements for your area using the American Massage Therapy Association’s website, compile your proof that you hold all valid qualifications, and submit an application for state licensing.
Additional Qualifications
Licensed massage therapists must take a certain number of continuing education courses for them to remain authorised to practice. Compulsory courses cover a range of topics, including business, research, and ethics. The American Massage Therapy Association website provides access to online studies along with information about in-person classes.


Massage therapy is a rewarding career that offers many career path options. From sports massage to reflexology, all will enable you to improve the lives of your patients in the form of pain relief, relaxation, and other aspects. Professionals trained in Massage therapy are in high demand, and if you don't fancy working for somebody else, there is also the option to set up your own business, which you could run from your own home or salon.


How do you become a massage therapist?
To be successful on your path to becoming a massage therapist, you must first complete your formal education (degree or certificate). Once you have graduated, you will need to build up your hours of practical experience by either volunteering in a school clinic or doing an internship. After building up enough hours, you will sit for an exam (if you haven't done so during your degree). When all of these steps have been completed, you will then be able to apply for your license.
Is becoming a massage therapist worth it?
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences and career goals. The massage therapy industry is currently seeing rapid growth as more and more people seek alternative remedies to treat their ailments rather than using prescription drugs. The industry has a wide range of different fields, each of which offers significant benefits and numerous opportunities for advancement. Another great benefit of being a massage therapist is that you have the option to create your own business, which you can run from your own home or salon, giving you control over your work/ life balance. All-in-all there are many great benefits to this occupation. So, if you enjoy the idea of a role where you can form long-term relationships with clients while helping them live a healthy and relaxed life, then becoming a massage therapist will be worth it for you.
How long is massage therapy school?
The duration of study depends entirely on the course you are enrolled on. Courses can vary from 300 to 1000 hours (including practical and theoretical work). Depending on the intensity of the education, the time frame will vary. Some institutions offer courses that can be completed in a matter of weeks, while others may require several years of study.