Massage Therapist Job Description

Congratulations on your decision to become a massage therapist.  You have chosen a great career to embark upon, one that has a very promising job outlook, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (employment is expected to grow by twenty percent between now and 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations).  Becoming a licensed masseuse will allow you to work with individuals in a manner that relieves pain, reduces stress, and increases relaxation.  The art of touch can be extremely powerful.  Before you begin, it is important to first understand the job description of a massage therapist.

A massage therapist is an individual that treats patients by using touch to manipulate soft-tissue muscles of the body.  This type of therapy aides in healing, reducing stress, relieving pain, and helping to rehabilitate injuries.  As a masseuse, you will learn how to apply pressure in various ways, to include structured, vibration, and stationary massage techniques.  Patients can receive treatment lying down on a massage table, seated in a special chair, or by lying down on a mat on the floor.  As a result, you will want to make sure you are in good physical shape.

Choosing to enter into the field of massage therapy affords you the opportunity to work in a variety of settings.  You can choose to work in a private or public setting.  These can include offices, spas, hospitals, and fitness centers.  You can also choose to become your own boss and become self-employed.  In 2010, about sixty percent of licensed massage therapists were self-employed.  Depending on the type of therapy you are giving, your work environment can play a factor.  Clients in need of therapy to help relax may be better served in a setting that has dim lighting and uses candles, soothing music, and incense to create a calm atmosphere.  However, a patient who needs massage to help rehab an injury would require a therapist who works in a well-lit room.

There are different types of massage therapy a practitioner can specialize in.  These specialties are called modalities.  Some common specialties are Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage.  As a massage therapist, you can choose to specialize in more than one modality, opening up the door to more opportunities in the field.  In addition to learning about the different specialties of massage therapy, as a licensed masseuse, you will also be taught how to administer massage techniques based upon the client’s needs.  Elderly clients will require a technique and approach that differs from a pregnant woman in need of prenatal massage treatment.

The salary for a trained provider of massage therapy can come in the form of salary and tips.  In 2010, the median annual wage of a massage therapist was $34,900.  Your salary will be dependent upon a number of factors.  You will need to decide if you want to work part-time or full-time (keep in mind that many therapists work part-time).  Whether you work for yourself or an institution will also factor into your salary.  Your practice location and industry experience will also play a part in how much money you can expect to earn.  Not sure if you should go for that certification or not?  Well, keep in mind that certified candidates are preferred by spas and salons, and usually earn a higher wage than non-certified therapists.  In this case, more education and training result in opportunities to earn a higher salary.

As a massage therapist, it is possible that you will work alongside other professionals in the healthcare industry.  Some similar occupations are athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapist assistants and aides, and physical therapists.  It might seem obvious that the art of massage therapy should be related to those practitioners who also use the art of touch in a manner to provide treatment.  But, did you know that as a massage therapist, you can also work with estheticians to help restore moisture to the body?  Estheticians are limited to the upper body (think face, neck, hands, and forearms) whereas massage therapists can provide treatment and therapy to the entire body.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea about the job description of a massage therapist.  You will learn how to use the art of touch to facilitate healing from injury and helping to relieve the stress that can manifest in one’s body.  As a masseuse, you will be able to choose what type of environment you would like to work in, be it private or public or, maybe you have aspirations of self-employment.  As a trained provider of massage therapy, you will receive education and training in the various modalities of massage therapy, as well as how to apply the correct techniques to different types of patients.  Industry, practice location, and education will all factor into how much money you can expect to make as a massage therapist.  You will work with other healthcare providers in an effort to provide therapy and treatment to clients.