Massage Therapist Career Information

The following information is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Massage Therapists. Please visit the website for a more comprehensive breakdown of the data.



Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Therapists relieve pain, help heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients.

Job Duties

  • Talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history, and desired results
  • Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
  • Manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body
  • Provide clients with guidance on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve their posture
  • Document clients’ conditions and progress


National Average Annual Pay (2019): $47,180

Top 5 States

1. Alaska


2. Washington


3. Oregon


4. Hawaiʻi


5. Massachusetts


Bottom 5 States

50. Louisiana


49. Mississippi


48. South Dakota


47. Georgia


46. Alabama



To become a massage therapist, you first need to enroll in a massage therapy program. Programs are usually at least 500 hours long but can be more than 1,000 hours. Programs cover anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, business management, and ethics.

The next step is to get certified and get a massage therapy license in your state. Most states require massage therapists to graduate from an approved massage therapy program and take an exam. The massage therapy exam may be unique to your state or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) licensure exam, offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

  • 1. Attend a Massage Therapy Program

    Programs usually require at least 500 hours of study and training. Others require 1,000 or more hours.

  • 2. Get Certified

    Most states require massage therapists to get licensed and certified. The exam may vary by state, or be the national MBLEx licensure exam.

  • 3. Get a Job as a Massage Therapist

    This can take 1 month to 1 year.


Physical Stamina

Massage therapists may give several treatments during a workday and have to stay on their feet throughout massage appointments.

Communication Skills

PV installers often must work on roofs, ladders, or lifts that are far above the ground.

Decision-Making Skills

Massage therapists must evaluate each client’s needs and recommend the best treatment on the basis of that person’s needs.

Physical Strength & Dexterity

Massage therapists must be strong and able to exert pressure through a variety of movements of the arms and hands when manipulating a client’s muscles.


Massage therapists must give clients a positive experience, which requires building trust between therapist and client. Making clients feel comfortable is necessary for therapists to expand their client base.


Massage therapists often have access to client information such as medical histories. Therefore, they must be trustworthy and protect the privacy of their clients.

Time- Management Skills

Massage therapists must tailor an appointment to a client’s specific needs. They must use their appointment time wisely to help each client accomplish his or her goals.

Please click to geolocate button to change this value.