Becoming a massage therapist is a very secure and fulfilling career. Many people choose this career path because it allows them to work with people and to help people in a meaningful way. It’s a great opportunity to care for others and improve the lives and well-being of patients. Because it is such a rewarding and enriching career, it has become increasingly popular in the United States, and more and more people are choosing to complete training in massage therapy every year.

The Path to a Career in Massage Therapy

Unlike many other careers that require years of schooling and training, the path to becoming a massage therapist is fairly quick. You have to complete a training program at a massage therapy school that qualifies you to practice in the location of your choice. Our program requires a total of 750 program hours and takes 12 months to complete. Once you have completed the massage therapy program, you will be prepared to pass the MBLEX certification exam in order to become a Licensed Massage therapist.

This is great because it means that you can embark upon a new career path and be working in just over a year. You don’t have to take off an extensive period of work in order to go back to school.

In order to enroll in AIAM, you can come to the school to receive a personal tour and interview with an admissions representative. You’ll need to submit proof of earned HS diploma or GED recognized by the Department of Education or a foreign equivalent. We require an application and $100 enrollment fee, a complete physical health exam form and a meeting with financial aid office to discuss payment options. For more information on tuition costs and optional fees, check here.

Working As a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists work in a variety of environments ranging from hospitals and health clinics to private practices. Most have a wide range of duties that include:

  • Creating a peaceful environment for clients
  • Determining the clients’ needs, whether it is pain relief, symptom management, stress relief, etc.
  • Providing a massage that addresses the client’s issues
  • Respecting each client’s privacy and comfort levels
  • Monitoring the progress of clients over time
  • Managing appointments and other duties associated with the particular environment you are working in.

What Kind of Environment Will I Work In?

There are many options when it comes to working as a massage therapist and you could choose from one of the following:


Spas a places where people go to have a soothing massage experience in a comfortable and relaxing space. The goal here is to make the client completely relaxed and create a pleasing experience.

Rehab clinics and hospitals

In a rehabilitation setting, you will be focused on injuries that need healing and pain relief. Massage techniques can help to relieve pain and restore mobility.


Many hotels and resorts have on-site massage therapists who are available to book for appointments during someone’s stay. This means you will have a wide variety of clients but rarely any long-term patients.

Wellness Centers

Health and wellness centers are becoming more and more popular and massage therapists play a big role in these. They can help aid in anything from muscle injuries to headaches to stress and mental health issues.

Private Practice

About 67 percent of all massage therapists work in private practice. This means setting up your own business and working to acquire a regular set of clients. You get to set your own hours and keep all of the profits.

Benefits of a Massage Therapy Career

If you’re considering a career in massage therapy, you should know that it can be an incredibly rewarding field. Not only do you get the satisfaction of helping people feel better, but you also have the opportunity to learn and expand your expertise continually. 

As the field of holistic health continues to evolve, massage therapists can specialize in sports massage, prenatal care, or oncology massage, allowing them to serve a broader range of clients. Additionally, this profession’s flexible nature means you can set your own hours, work part-time, or even work independently and have your own business

As the demand for massage therapists continues to grow, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement, including becoming an instructor, supervisor, or even owning your own practice.

Challenges and Considerations

While immensely fulfilling, a career in massage therapy isn’t devoid of challenges. Establishing a private practice demands business understanding and marketing skills beyond therapeutic expertise. 

Moreover, physical strain is an inherent part of the job, requiring therapists to prioritize self-care to prevent burnout or repetitive strain injuries. Building a solid client base may take time, especially in competitive markets, necessitating patience and perseverance. 

Additionally, navigating varying state regulations or obtaining additional certifications for specialized techniques can require ongoing dedication to staying updated with industry standards and regulations. Despite these challenges, the career’s intrinsic rewards often outweigh the hurdles, making it a gratifying profession for many.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualities make a successful massage therapist?

A successful massage therapist typically possesses strong communication skills, empathy, physical stamina, and a genuine desire to help others. Additionally, a good understanding of anatomy and various massage techniques is crucial.

What are the typical working hours for a massage therapist?

Working hours can vary depending on the setting. In spas or wellness centers, it might include evenings and weekends to accommodate client schedules. Those in private practice have more flexibility but may work irregular hours to suit client needs.

Is it necessary to pursue continuing education in massage therapy?

Yes, continuing education is often required to maintain licensure. It helps therapists stay updated on new techniques, advancements, and changes in the field. Additionally, it allows for specialization in specific modalities.

What are the potential career advancement opportunities for massage therapists?

Advanced certifications in specialized areas like sports massage, prenatal massage, or reflexology can open doors to working with specific clientele. Some massage therapists also progress to teaching, management positions in spas or wellness centers, or even holistic health coaching.

How physically demanding is a career in massage therapy?

It can be physically demanding as it involves standing for extended periods and applying pressure during massages. Proper body mechanics and self-care routines are essential to prevent strain or injury.

What is the earning potential for a massage therapist?

Earnings can vary widely based on factors like location, experience, and specialization. On average, massage therapists in the US earn a median annual wage that goes up to $49,860, but this can be higher for those in private practice with an established clientele.

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