Is a career in Massage Therapy right for You?
Step 1 of our guide take a hard look at massage therapy careers with the goal of determining if massage is a good career choice for you. We discuss everything you need to know from how much money you can make to the physical demands of the job. See if you have the attributes of a successful massage therapist or if running your own massage business is a good choice for you.
The Popularity of Massage
Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing areas in America. As of 2005, the number of massage therapists had jumped to over 100,000. This is a substantial increase from the 24,000 that worked in America back in 1999.
This new interest in massage and the growing awareness of its effectiveness as a healing technique has many of us wondering if we should pursue a massage therapy job. With so much growth in the industry, lots of diverse options for massage therapy careers has opened up.
What Massage Therapy Careers are Available?
Sports players need to be relaxed before and after a big game. Some people have come out of hospital, and require outpatient therapy. Others require an alternative therapy to help them overcome a problem, or make the symptoms of an illness more bearable. The list goes on. The demand for massage therapists doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.There is a huge variety of massage therapy careers available, and your options are growing all the time. People are leading far more hectic lives, and need the services of a massage therapist to help them relax, and forget about the stresses and strains of their everyday lives.
If you are looking at the different types of massage careers available, then you will probably be surprised by the number of different places that massage therapists practice. You can find them almost everywhere! Here are just some of the places that some massage therapy careers have taken people, and could take you:
- Cruise Ship
- Geriatric Massage
- Massage Clinic
- Medical Setting
- On-site Massage
- Pregnancy Massage
- Private Practice
- Sports Massage
- Wellness Center
This has got to be the most perfect of all massage therapy careers for anyone who loves variety, meeting new people, and travel. A lot of cruise ship companies have onboard massage therapists available for their passengers. Of course, there are also the added benefits of being given your own accommodation, and food, for the duration of the cruise, and maritime law also requires that you be given medical insurance. You could also find that you are given generous staff discounts on cruises for you and your family.
The hours that you work, do tend to be long. Twelve hour shifts, with back to back appointments is not unusual. However, you are going to have a wide variety of clients, which gives you great experience to build on.
This is one of the more specialist areas among the range of massage therapy careers. As its name suggests, you would be dealing with elderly patients. This often means that you need to have a good understanding of their individual needs, and medical conditions. The hours are often sporadic; especially if you consider that many elderly patients will not be able to undertake a full treatment session in one go.
Many people, who are just starting out in their massage therapy careers, find their first job, after qualifying, at a massage clinic. All clinics focus on massage, but that is where their similarities end. You could find that some specialize in particular areas of massage. Some employ massage therapists, as regular employees. Others offer a place in their clinic on a lease basis. You pay a percentage towards the costs involved in running the clinic. As such, the hours can be very erratic. You can choose to work part-time, and only have clients in the mornings, or the evenings, but you need to bear in mind that you have to be able to cover your costs.
This can cover a multitude of settings, and opportunities for people to start their massage therapy careers. They include hospitals, chiropractors’ offices, hospices, physical therapy centers and rehabilitation centers. Many of these work on an as-needed basis, which is therefore part-time. You may have days when you are in demand and others when you have no clients at all.
This is one of the more unusual aspects of the massage therapy careers that are available. It is, however, one of the most flexible, as you can work part-time, or full-time, whichever suits you best. You can perform on-site massage therapy in any number of locations. Quite often it is a seated massage, for people’s necks and shoulders, or Indian head massage, for example. The main point is that the client remains fully clothed.
Some places where you might consider offering on-site massage include malls, company premises, airports, and special events such as sponsored walks or other charity sporting events. You can offer massage sessions of any length of time that you prefer, and that fits in with the environment that you are working in. Shorter ones would suit business people, or travelers, while longer ones could be offered after a person has completed their charity walk, for example.
This is another specialist area of massage therapy careers. Quite simply, you offer massages to women who are suffering from the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Also, you may specialize in post-pregnancy and infant massages. The hours may vary, but you can choose to work full or part-time. However, a fair amount of traveling may be involved to clients’ homes.
Private practices tend to be something that most people set up later in their massage therapy careers. The main benefit is that you are completely self-employed, so that you can set your own hours. However, you do need to be able to bring in enough clients to make the venture a success. This can mean that you need to perform a lot more tasks than simple massage therapy; bookkeeping, public relations, sale and promotion being just a few of them.
Spa or Resort
This is probably where most people imagine that their massage therapy careers will take them. Spas normally offer a wide variety of treatments; therefore a massage therapist can expect to be required to have knowledge of more than one. The majority of massage therapists who work in spas, especially larger ones, are expected to work full-time hours. However, there is often plenty of scope for advancement, particularly into the spa management. It is also one of the best types of massage therapy careers to gain exposure to other forms of wellness treatments.
This is another popular aim for those embarking on massage therapy careers. You might be involved with a college basketball team, or even a major league baseball team. Wherever a massage therapist is needed to help sports players relax before, and recover after a sporting event.
As you can see, there are a huge number of different massage therapy careers that you can choose from. You can also decide whether you want to work part-time, or become a full-time massage therapist.