Job description

Massage therapists are trained professionals who manipulate the soft tissue and muscles of the human body to help people relax and to also relieve muscle tension. They do this by diagnosing and treating clients with various injuries, stress and chronic problems to help improve circulation and soften the muscles. They also offer relaxation treatments for the general wellbeing of their clients.


    • Greet clients and discuss their health
    • Talk about symptoms and treatment plans
    • Evaluate the client’s posture to identify tense areas in the body
    • Manipulate muscles and release tension in the body
    • Offer a relaxing service in a clean environment
    • Provide stretching and strengthening guidance
    • Answer telephone calls and schedule appointments
    • Provide advice on accompanying creams that can aid treated areas

Skills and qualities

Customer service
Manual dexterity
Attention to detail
Customer service
Active listening
Critical thinking
Computer software

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Many massage therapists choose to set up their own business. Others choose to move into education and teach aspiring massage therapists how to perform treatments. You could also specialise in certain types of massage such as sports massage and join a sports club where you can offer your services.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

Most massage therapists work in local spas and beauty parlours. Others work independently, either from home or on a freelance basis.

You may be required to travel to clients’ houses to offer private therapies. This can involve long car journeys, which can add a bigger strain on your muscles.

As the work can be physically demanding, injuries to the body can occur from repetitive motions. For this reason, it’s important to not work for longer than eight hours a day and to also allow your body to rest for a few days per week.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Specialist training

Study time

8–12 months

To become a massage therapist, you must complete a specialised diploma in massage therapy at an accredited postsecondary institution, which includes about 500 hours of practical experience. Although further education isn’t necessary, certain states require workers to be licensed or certified.

Your education will also include coursework in kinesiology, physiology and study of the organs, so a keen interest in human anatomy is essential.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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