Common Reasons Why People Are Starting Massage Therapy Careers.

Updated: May 19

Author: Ngametua Varu

Date: 5/13/2022


Finding a job that you can genuinely enjoy is hard. Sometimes we need to try a few different paths before we arrive somewhere we feel comfortable. Becoming a massage therapist isn't something most people know about or even consider but there are many reasons why it may be worth looking into for you.


Massage therapy is currently one of the fastest-growing career fields, with employment projected to grow 32 percent from 2020-to 2030. Aside from job security, there are many different personal reasons people choose this career path.


Don't Like Working 9am - 5pm?


LMTs typically have flexible work schedules and many work part-time. The majority of LMTs are self-employed so they can plan their schedule as it works best for their life. Due to the physical demands of the work, most do not work 8-hour days. The field allows the flexibility to design your workflow as you need it to be.


Of course, how much and where you work translates into your total earnings which can vary greatly depending on many factors such as the state you live in, and what kind of facility you are working in. (Luxury spa, franchise spa, chiropractic office, etc.)

One article on the healthcare graduate website states: "Across the industry as a whole the bottom 10% earned as low as $18,860 and the top 10% earned $74,860 on average – representing a massive range in earnings." As an example, a therapist working part-time at a franchise will be closer to the low end while a therapist working full time for themself or at a luxury resort spa would be closer to the high end. It's all about balance and finding your niche.


The increasingly high demand for LMTs means that as a new therapist, you can truly take your pick of where you want to work and be choosier when it comes to new employers.



Working in Healthcare Without Years of College


Massage therapy isn't just about luxury or relaxation, it is an ever-growing part of the healthcare field and is used to aid in the treatment of numerous medical conditions. Therapeutic massage is becoming more popular than ever, and many new therapists talk about their desire to be in healthcare of some kind, but how they were not interested in the high-stress situations of daily hospital life, or years of college debt.


The hourly requirements for an LMT licensure program vary by state. In Washington State, the required number of education hours is 625 which equates to roughly 8-10 months of schooling compared to 2+ years needed for other healthcare jobs.

Our school, for example, has a course of 725 hours to meet the requirements for both Oregon and Washington, as they differ, and the school is close to the state border.


Due to the shorter completion time, the cost of schooling is typically lower than traditional college as well.


Soothing touch, whether it be applied to a ruffled cat, a crying infant, or a frightened child, has a universally recognized power to ameliorate the signs of distress. How can it be that we overlook its usefulness on the jangled adult as well?
What is it that leads us to assume that the stressed child merely needs “comforting,” while the stressed adult needs “medicine”? — from Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork by Deane Juhan

Ability to Travel


Massage therapy jobs are everywhere, not just in the US but globally. Some decide to move to places like Hawaii, Mexico or other vacation spots to work for a while. Some move to Thailand, India or Japan for a few years to take continued studies in Eastern modalities. The options are endless for an LMT and if you get tired of something, you can switch it up without having to start from scratch in a new field.


It is typically easy to transfer your license to another state or be licensed in multiple if that is what you prefer to do. Transferring to another country is more complicated, but doable.


Some people travel to different corporate retreats, sporting events, and even concerts for work.

You can even take continuing education courses for yourself in these same destination spots, on a cruise or retreat, and vacation while you learn.


Making a Positive Impact on Others


Massage can have a strong positive effect on your client physically, but also mentally, and spiritually. As a therapist, you provide pain relief, assist in increasing the movement of joints, give a sense of safety or calm, and help with connecting the mind and the body.


These are just a few examples of the positive change you can be bringing to your clients. The list goes on and gets more in-depth as you learn more about the magic of positive touch.


Some clients with chronic pain rely on bodywork for that brief sensation of relief and you could be that person to provide it. You can see LMTs working in hospitals and assisted living centers, even caring for hospice patients during end-of-life care. You truly have a way to connect with your community and leave a positive impact. Even just volunteering your services once a month is a good way to spread that positivity.


Becoming Knowledgeable About the Body


I know for me; the things were we learning in school made walking around in some meat suit so much more interesting. If we are to treat the body, we must first understand the body.


Anatomy & Physiology is one of the first classes taught at PNW Massage Academy and was an eye-opener for how complex the human body is and why massage therapy is so much more than just rubbing someone's back. We explore each organ system and in what ways it can benefit from different types of massage techniques. We learn how muscles work with each other to provide movement (and you would be surprised by the number of different muscles activating just to do simple things like picking up your phone). We learn things that feel like life hacks, like good acupressure points for headaches or vertigo.


Having this knowledge makes you a better therapist and helps you stay in tune with your own body as well.


Anyone Can Become an LMT


Consider starting a lucrative career in massage therapy. It is a wonderful option for those just out of school or those looking for a 2nd career that is less stressful. If you're looking to take the next step in your journey, read through our program details and consider applying for our upcoming class. Fellow therapists, leave a comment with your story and the "why" behind your decision to join the field.