Masseur Career Information and Requirements

Masseurs require some formal education. Learn about masseur courses, licensing requirements and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.

If you enjoy working with people, and have a desire to help patients relax and relieve muscle stress, than a career as a masseur may be for you. Masseurs specialize in one or more massage techniques like Swedish, full-body, or focused massage. Masseurs work in a variety of environments including spas, salons and hotels as well as in their own offices or homes if they have a private practice.

Essential Information

Masseurs, who may also be called massage therapists, use varying levels of tactile pressure to administer soft tissue massages for injury rehab, stress reduction and promotion of general joint and muscle health. Masseurs must complete a formal certificate or associate's degree program, and they often must hold state licensure for massage therapy.

Required Education Certificate, associate's degree or postsecondary non-degree program is typical
Other Requirements State license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 22%
Average Salary (2015)* $43,170

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Masseur Career Information

As massage therapists, masseurs employ forms of touch to soft tissues to alleviate muscular stress, rehabilitate athletic injuries or relax muscle tension from awkward sleeping positions or stressful life circumstances. Masseurs use techniques such as deep-tissue and Swedish massage for full-body or focused treatments according to a client's physical needs, specific injuries or requests.

Masseurs may work in spas, salons, hotels, health clubs or chiropractic or physical therapy offices. They may also work for firms solely devoted to massage or out of their homes or rented office space as self-employed massage therapists, maintaining a base of regular clients who get treatments by appointment. Some masseurs are trained in many massage techniques, while others specialize in one or two areas.

Prior to a first massage, masseurs meet with clients to develop a formal or informal, near-term or long-term treatment plan with specific massage types, targeted muscle groups, physical goals and appointment length or frequency. Masseurs make these decisions based on clients' medical or injury history coupled with lifestyle factors like stress and activity levels. To earn repeat business from clients, many massage therapists emphasize customer service to supplement effective massage therapy.

Education Requirements

Although specific educational requirements for massage therapists differ from one state to the next, almost all masseurs are required to complete either a postsecondary degree or career training program to prepare for certification, licensure or proficiency examinations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2014, all but five states required licensure of massage therapists. Some states issue their own licensure examinations and others use exams developed by such national governing bodies as the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (www.fsmtb.org).

Certificates in massage therapy are available through career training or massage therapy institutes. Certificate programs train students in types of massage and provide instruction in relevant health sciences like anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, pathology and orthopedics. Students must complete clinical practicum hours before receiving their diplomas. Most certificate programs can be completed in a year or less of full-time study. Associate in Applied Science in Massage Therapy programs educate students in all areas covered in certificate programs, as well as teaching them about business management, facial massage, Eastern medicine modalities and stress reduction techniques.

Most states require masseurs to be licensed. Candidates must complete an accredited program as well as passing an examination in order to be licensed. Job growth for masseurs is well above the average job growth of the market as a whole according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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