Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions

Massage and related therapeutic professions are fields within health care that are designed to improve circulation, reduce stress and relieve pain. Continue reading to determine if an education and career in massage and/or related therapeutic professions is right for you.

Inside Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions

Massage therapists manipulate the soft-tissue muscles throughout the body to reduce stress, treat injuries and promote general health in a patient. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 80 types of massage techniques used, including Swedish, sports, neuromuscular, reflexology and deep-tissue ( Therapists may specialize in multiple types of techniques and treatments to meet a client's needs.

Most massage therapists work part time or are self-employed. They usually work by appointment. These therapists may work in a variety of settings, including sports centers, hospitals and nursing homes. If self-employed, therapists must provide their own equipment such as massage tables, oils and pillows. The work of a massage therapist is physically demanding, and most therapists do not work more than 40 hours per week.

There are many areas of specialization within the field of massage. provides relevant information and resources that can help you choose a career that fits your needs.

Education Options

Many states require formal training and licensure to work as a massage therapist. Massage therapy programs can be found at several public and private colleges. Coursework for these programs may include anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and business administration. Proper technique is important because poor form can cause injury to the therapist making the individual unable to do this type of work.

There are various educational programs available to become a massage therapist. They range from certificates and associate degrees to advanced training for more challenging specialties and techniques. Check out the links below learn more about education options in the field.

There are also distance learning options available for aspiring massage therapists whose schedules don't allow the attendance of a traditional school program. However, due to the hands-on nature of the field, many of these distance learning options have certain in-person requirements. The articles below describe these opportunities in further detail.


Industry associations such as the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) or the Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) offer certification for massage therapists. State licensing boards decide which certifications and examinations to accept.

Certification and licensing requirements vary by state. The following pages can tell you more about the requirements for massage therapists.

Career Information

Career opportunities for massage therapists will vary depending on the type of practice, experience and skill level. Location and client type also contribute to career options. The links below provide more information about careers in massage therapy.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reported that employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by roughly 23% from 2012-2022, significantly faster than the average for all jobs. This growth is attributed to a growing overall demand for massage services. Also, demand for such services from older age groups will increase because this growing population segment is enjoying longer, more active lives, says the BLS.

In May 2013, massage therapists earned an average wage of $40,400 per year, according to the BLS. Those working for other ambulatory health care services, however, earned a higher average annual wage of $55,700 (BLS). The personal care industry employed the highest number of massage therapists in 2013, according to the BLS.

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