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Massage Therapy Technician: Employment and Career Information

Massage therapy technicians provide relief from pain and injuries, and they use a variety of massage techniques to heal their clients. Read on to learn about the training and skills requirements, in addition to the salary and employment expectations, to see if this occupation is for you.

Career Definition for a Massage Therapy Technician

Massage therapy technicians stimulate the body by kneading and rubbing muscles, which relieves pain in the body. Therapy technicians use all sorts of different methods to help their clients. These include acupressure, steam, dry heat, infrared light and water treatments. Massage therapy technicians will identify muscle ailments and treat them with oils and different styles of massage.

Education Training program of 500 hours or more
Job Skills Understanding of physiology and human anatomy, customer service and interpersonal skills
Median Salary (May 2015)* $38,040 (massage therapists)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 22% (massage therapists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education Required

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require that massage therapy technicians have a license or certification. Most programs require at least 500 hours of training and successful completion of a state test or a national exam, such as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination. Courses that are part of this program include massage technique, muscle pathology, anatomy and massage practices and techniques.

Skills Required

A massage therapy technician will need to know how the body's muscle groups interact with one another. Technicians need to understand the physiology and the anatomy of the body. Excellent customer service and people skills are needed for massage therapy technicians to work well with their clients.

Career and Economic Outlook

Massage therapy technicians can find work and opportunities in spas, fitness centers, hospitals or sports clinics, or they can run their own practice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for professionals in this career is expected to rise at a much faster than average rate of 22% from 2014 through the year 2024, and the median annual wage was $38,040 in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Other therapeutic careers include the following:

Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide

Working with physical therapists, these professionals observe patients and help them with certain aspects of exercise routines, using equipment and devices when necessary. Assistants normally have associate's degrees, while aides usually need a high school diploma and on-the-job training. In 2015, assistants earned a median annual salary of $55,170, while aides earned $25,120, according to the BLS. The outlook for job growth during the 2014-2024 decade was much faster than the average for both occupations, at 41% for assistants and 39% for aides, per the BLS.

Recreational Therapist

These therapists normally need a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy or a related field, and they're often required to earn a certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation. Their work involves planning and directing programs for people with physical challenges, illnesses or injuries, in which recreational activities such as drama, dance and sports are used to improve patients' physical and emotional conditions. Average employment growth of 12% was forecast by the BLS from 2014-2024, and median earnings of $45,890 per year were reported in 2015.

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