If you’ve ever thought about a career in massage therapy, or adding it to your current health care practice, there has never been a better time to get a license to practice! In fact, employment in this field is expected to grow 26 percent by 2026—faster than the average for other occupations.
Millions of adults have gotten a massage at least once in the last year—which means there is a consistently high demand for skilled massage therapists. Interest in infant and children’s massage is also growing, and more hospitals and integrative medical practices are incorporating massage to support treatment plans, meaning more career opportunities!
Massage therapist jobs can be satisfying, lucrative, and beneficial to clients’ health. It also offers great benefits, including competitive compensation, flexibility and opportunities for job growth. The average wage per hour for massage-related work is $58.
Where Can Massage Therapists Work?
One of the biggest advantages of a career in massage therapy is the versatility and flexibility it can provide. When you think about massage therapist jobs, the first thing that comes to mind is probably working in a spa or fitness center. However, the wide variety of settings where massage therapists work might surprise you!
- Their own practice
- In client’s homes or offices
- Group practices
- Hospice care and nursing homes
- Integrative care clinics
- Medical offices
- Sports teams
- Cruise ships
- Mall and retail chair massages
- Corporate wellness events
What Kinds of Massage Therapist Specializations are There?
You may not know that massage therapists often specialize in certain areas of practice. A popular specialization is sports massage, which can help athletes improve performance while shortening recovery time from sports injuries. Working with a sports team can mean being on the sidelines during games and even traveling with the team, which can make for an exciting career.
Another growing specialty is fertility massage. If a woman is having trouble getting pregnant due to reasons such as blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or uterine fibroids, massage therapy is thought to help increase circulation to the reproductive organs and reduce inflammation that may be causing infertility. For women who are already pregnant, prenatal massages may reduce emotional and physical tension and promote relaxation.
If you love working with children, infant massage could be a fulfilling specialization. The benefits of infant massage include better sleep, reduced stress, improved motor development and enhanced parent-child bonding. You’ll be able to provide the massage to the infant, as well as educate the parents about basic massage techniques so they can help their babies stay calm and get a better night’s sleep.
Myofascial release, another specialized massage therapy technique, focuses on releasing muscular tightness. This can help relieve chronic pain conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia and menstrual pain in patients.
How to Start Your Career in Massage Therapy
The massage therapy program at NUHS provides a unique training environment in an integrative health care setting. You’ll study alongside other health care students, in some classes with professors from the advanced degree programs, and gain a solid grounding in anatomy and physiology, massage theory and history, clinical massage, and business practices and ethics.
You’ll learn massage therapy techniques such as Swedish massage, chair massage, sports massage, trigger point therapy, orthopedic massage and deep tissue work, as well as geriatric, cancer, pregnancy, infant and pediatric massage. Then you will have the opportunity to put these skills into practice as an intern at our on-campus integrative care clinic, working directly with doctors and medical interns from a variety of disciplines.
Once you complete the program, you'll be eligible to sit for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). You will also need to apply for licensure in the state where you plan to practice. You should become familiar with all state licensing and continuing education requirements. The board score performance for NUHS graduates is typically excellent, with a pass rate that exceeds state and national pass rates.