Massage Therapy Career
Your Guide to Becoming a Message Therapist.

How to Become a Massage Therapist

1) Start by researching your state and local requirements for massage therapist certification and massage therapy school accreditation. Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia regulate massage therapists and require at least 500 hours of state recognized training program hours.

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2) Choose an accredited massage therapy school that will prepare you for licensing and/or certification. (The massage therapy schools you’ll find on this website are accredited in most states and will give you the preparation you need to pass the certification and licensing exams.)

3) Graduate from an accredited massage therapy training program recognized in your state and take your state’s licensing exam to become a certified massage therapist. There are two certification exams, the NCETM and the NCETMB, you will need to find out which one your state requires. According to the NCBTMB website (, in order to sit for one of the National Certification Examinations you must have completed at least 125 hours of Anatomy and Physiology, 200 hours of massage and/or bodywork theory and application, 40 hours of pathology, 10 hours of business and ethics and at least 125 hours of related coursework. These requirements will have been met by the time you have completed your massage therapy training at an accredited massage therapy school.

What to Expect from a Career in Massage Therapy

The number of massages given over the last ten years has tripled and because of this, massage therapy has become one of the fastest growing careers in health care. Massage therapists practice in a wide variety of settings including, spas, doctor’s offices, hospitals, resorts, cruise ships, sports teams, airports and many other locations. A new trend is for large corporations to hire massage therapists to come in -house and provide massages to their employees. Another popular trend is for entrepreneurial massage therapists to set up their own practice or become independent contractors, which can be very lucrative.

Becoming a massage therapist involves dedication to your training as well as the science and art of alternative and natural health. Science based studies have confirmed the benefits massage has had on stress, pain, circulation and many other ailments plaguing the population. Massage provides an overall sense of well-being. As a massage therapist you will continually be advancing your career by applying and practicing your techniques as well as by learning new techniques. Some massage therapists end up specializing in one particular type of massage and can earn a very good living.

Massage therapy can be a physically as well as mentally demanding occupation and for this reason most massage therapists report that they work a 25-30 hour week versus a 40 hour week. A one hour massage appointment usually requires at least a 30 minute preparation time.

Massage Therapist Salary

Massage therapists can be salaried employees or work on an hourly rate. According to the average annual salary for a massage therapist is $47,000 and for a certified massage therapist, $54,000. Hourly rates can range from $60 to over $100 an hour plus gratuity in metropolitan areas. In other areas hourly rates range from $30 to $75 an hour plus gratuity. Massage therapists don’t have a typical career ladder, so to make more money rates can be increased or salaries can be increased for exceptional services, experience and advanced credentials. By promoting the health and wellness benefits of regular massage therapies, massage therapists can build a loyal and constant cliental. Many spas require this type of selling/marketing interaction with clients. For the independent contractor and sole proprietor, promoting regular massages is a must to create a successful business.

Explore the schools we have listed below. These programs can help adequately prepare you for any licensing and or certification exams which various states now require.

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