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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new openings for massage therapists.


As an increasing number of states adopt licensing requirements and standards for therapists, the practice of massage is likely to be respected and accepted by more people as a way to treat pain and to improve overall wellness. Similarly, as more healthcare providers understand the benefits of massage, demand will increase as these services become part of treatment plans.


Massage also offers specific benefits to particular groups of people whose continued demand for massage services will lead to overall growth for the occupation. For example, some sports teams hire massage therapists to help give their athletes relief from pain and to rehabilitate clients with injuries.


Demand for massage services will grow as the baby-boom generation seeks these services as a way to help maintain their health as they age. Older people in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities also are finding benefits from massage, such as increased energy levels and reduced health problems. Demand for massage therapy should grow among older age groups because they increasingly are enjoying longer, more active lives.


In addition, the number of massage clinic franchises has increased in recent years. Many franchised clinics offer more affordable massages than those provided at spas and resorts, making massage services available to a wider range of customers.


Massage therapists held about 132,800 jobs in 2012. About 46 percent of massage therapists were self-employed in 2012.


Massage therapists work in an array of settings, both private and public, such as:

  • Private Offices

  • Spas

  • Hospitals

  • Fitness Centers

  • Self-Employed (travel to clients’ homes).

The median annual wage for massage therapists was $35,970 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,420, and the top 10 percent earned more than $70,140.


Most massage therapists earn a combination of wages and tips.


Many massage therapists work part time; only about 1 out of 3 worked full time in 2012. Because therapists work by appointment in most cases, their schedules and the number of hours worked each week vary considerably. In addition to devoting hours giving massages, therapists may spend time recording client notes, marketing, booking clients, washing linens, and conducting other general business tasks.

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