How Much Does a Massage Therapist Make?
Factors That Affect Massage Therapist Salary
The salary of a massage therapist can vary based on a number of factors, including their level of experience, location, and type of employer. Here are some of the most important factors that can influence a massage therapist’s earnings:
Experience and Training
As with many professions, massage therapists generally earn more as they gain experience and expertise. Those with advanced training, such as certifications in specific types of massage or additional education in related fields like physical therapy, may also be able to command higher salaries.
The location of a massage therapist can also impact their salary. In general, massage therapists who work in large cities or affluent areas tend to earn more than those in smaller towns or rural areas. This is because there is often greater demand for massage therapy in these areas, and clients are often willing to pay more for services.
Type of Employer
Massage therapists can work in a variety of settings, including spas, clinics, hospitals, and fitness centers. The type of employer can impact salary, with those working in medical settings like hospitals or physical therapy offices often earning more than those in more traditional spa or wellness settings.
Some massage therapists specialize in particular types of massage, such as sports massage, prenatal massage, or neuromuscular therapy. Those with specialized skills may be able to command higher salaries due to their expertise.
Finally, the clientele that a massage therapist attracts can impact their earnings. Massage therapists who are able to attract high-paying clients, such as professional athletes or celebrities, may be able to earn more than those who primarily work with the general public.
Highest Paying Industries for Massage Therapists
While massage therapists can work in a variety of industries, some tend to offer higher salaries than others. Here are some of the highest paying industries for massage therapists:
Medical and Health Services
Massage therapists who work in medical and health services, such as hospitals, physical therapy offices, and chiropractic clinics, often earn higher salaries than those in other industries. This is because these settings may require specialized skills or training, and clients may be willing to pay more for therapeutic massage services.
Personal Care Services
The personal care services industry, which includes spas, salons, and wellness centers, is another high-paying industry for massage therapists. In these settings, massage therapists may have the opportunity to work with high-end clientele and provide specialized services such as aromatherapy or hot stone massage.
Sports and Fitness
Massage therapists who work in the sports and fitness industry, such as with professional sports teams or in fitness centers, may also earn higher salaries due to the specialized nature of the work. These massage therapists may need to have specialized training in sports massage or other therapeutic techniques that can help athletes recover from injuries or improve their performance.
Travel and Tourism
Massage therapists who work in the travel and tourism industry, such as with cruise lines or luxury resorts, may also earn higher salaries due to the specialized nature of the work and the clientele they serve. These massage therapists may have the opportunity to work with high-end clients and provide services in exotic or luxurious settings.
Finally, some massage therapists choose to work for themselves as independent contractors or business owners. While the earnings potential can vary widely based on factors such as location and clientele, self-employed massage therapists have the opportunity to set their own rates and build their own businesses over time.
Career Growth Opportunities for Massage Therapists
Massage therapy can be a fulfilling career with many opportunities for growth and advancement. Here are some of the career growth opportunities that massage therapists can pursue:
Advanced Training and Certifications
One way to advance as a massage therapist is to pursue advanced training and certifications in specialized areas such as sports massage, prenatal massage, or medical massage. This can help massage therapists develop new skills and expertise, which can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities.
Some massage therapists may choose to move into supervisory or management roles, such as spa or clinic managers, where they can oversee other massage therapists and coordinate client services. This can be a good opportunity for those who enjoy leadership and management and want to take on more responsibility in their careers.
Teaching and Education
Massage therapists with advanced training and experience may also choose to pursue teaching or education roles, such as teaching at massage therapy schools or leading workshops and continuing education courses for other massage therapists. This can be a rewarding way to share knowledge and expertise and give back to the massage therapy community.
Finally, some massage therapists may choose to start their own businesses as independent contractors or business owners. This can be a challenging but rewarding way to build a successful massage therapy practice and take control of one’s career. With the rise of online booking and marketing tools, it’s easier than ever for massage therapists to start and grow their own businesses.
Tips for Increasing a Massage Therapist’s Earnings
While the salary of a massage therapist can depend on many factors, there are some steps that massage therapists can take to increase their earnings. Here are some tips:
Specialize in a Particular Area
One way to increase earnings as a massage therapist is to specialize in a particular area, such as sports massage or prenatal massage. This can help massage therapists attract clients who need specialized services and are willing to pay more for them.
Build a Client Base
Another way to increase earnings as a massage therapist is to build a loyal and consistent client base. This can be done through effective marketing, exceptional customer service, and creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere in the massage therapy practice.
Offer Packages and Specials
Offering packages or specials, such as discounts for repeat clients or bundled services, can also help increase a massage therapist’s earnings. This can help attract new clients and encourage existing clients to book more frequent appointments.
Network with Other Professionals
Networking with other professionals in related fields, such as physical therapists, chiropractors, or fitness trainers, can also help massage therapists attract new clients and build their businesses. These professionals may be able to refer clients to massage therapists and vice versa.
Continuing Education and Professional Development
Finally, continuing education and professional development can help massage therapists stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and industry trends, which can help them attract new clients and increase their earnings. Pursuing certifications in specialized areas or attending industry conferences and workshops can be valuable for career advancement and growth.
Average Salary for Massage Therapists
The salary of a massage therapist can vary depending on several factors, including experience, location, and industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for massage therapists in the United States was $44,840 as of May 2020. Here are some additional details about massage therapist salaries:
Massage therapists who are just starting out in their careers can expect to earn entry-level salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest 10% of massage therapists earned less than $21,340 per year, while the highest 10% earned more than $80,630 per year.
As mentioned earlier, massage therapists who work in certain industries may earn higher salaries than those in other industries. For example, massage therapists who work in medical and health services earned a median annual salary of $52,420 in May 2020, while those who worked in personal care services earned a median annual salary of $37,880.
The location of a massage therapist can also impact their earnings. For example, massage therapists who work in metropolitan areas or in states with higher costs of living may earn more than those in rural areas or states with lower costs of living. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying states for massage therapists as of May 2020 were Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.
Massage therapists who are self-employed may have the potential to earn higher salaries than those who work for employers. However, self-employed massage therapists also have to cover their own business expenses, such as marketing, supplies, and equipment, which can impact their earnings.
Overall, the demand for massage therapists is expected to grow in the coming years, which may lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities. Additionally, as massage therapy becomes more accepted as a form of medical treatment, more insurance companies may start covering massage therapy services, which could further increase demand and salaries.