As a therapeutic relaxing technique, massage therapy is the act of rubbing and kneading the skin with oil. Throughout the history of humankind, massaging has been practiced as one of the earliest methods to relieve muscle pain and stress. This is a delicate profession that calls for qualified individuals whose massaging skills align with a client’s needs.

Massage therapy comes in various forms, with the most prominent being known as Swedish massage therapy, which is primarily popular in Western countries. In addition, there is sports massage, which is used in conventional medicine, also called clinical massage.

Opting for a career in massage therapy is a challenging decision to make. Individuals should thoughtfully weigh the pros and cons of being a massage therapist before taking over this highly demanding occupation.

This article offers valuable insights on the advantages of choosing a career as a massage therapist, the challenges you may encounter, and additional advice to help you determine if this is the ideal choice for your professional path.

What Training and Education Are Essential to Become a Massage Therapist?

To become a licensed massage therapist, you don’t need to obtain a college degree. However, a diploma or certificate is required from alternative education programs, such as career training schools, community colleges, or nonprofit programs, to prove you have been trained and have expertise in massage therapy.

Such programs differ from one state to another and typically take six months to a full year to complete, including academic and professional training. To attain board certification, massage therapists must pass the licensure exam, monitored by the National Certification Board in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). While the specific exam type can vary by state, most states utilize the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) to evaluate candidates.

With a score of 630 or higher, candidates who pass the MBLEx exam become board-certified and only then are fully competent to practice massage therapy.

What are the Pros and Cons of Being a Massage Therapist?

Being a massage therapist is satisfactory for those who value professional healthcare and helping others alleviate physical discomfort. However, just like any other occupation, massage therapy comes with its own set of pros and cons. Come along to discover the rewards and challenges of a career in massage therapy.

The Pros of  Being a Massage Therapist

If you’re thinking of becoming a massage therapist, here are some of the pros that make this career worth it:

Flexible Work Schedule

In the field of massage therapy, you often have the freedom to tailor your work schedule to your preferences, whether it is part-time or full-time. This flexibility is desirable to individuals who are looking to seek a balance between their personal and professional lives.

High Demand and Job Security

A qualified massage therapist will never run out of job opportunities. In our fast-paced modern life, the wellness industry has seen significant growth, with people increasingly turning to massage therapy for pain and stress relief. In addition, massage therapists can enjoy job security, particularly those who are adaptable, highly professional, and provide high-quality services.

Personal Satisfaction

A career in massage therapy is incredibly fulfilling. Many massage therapists find their job fulfilling as they directly influence their clients’ lives by improving their well-being and making them feel better. There is beauty in receiving immediate client feedback and realizing how much impact a massage therapist can have.

Personal and Professional Growth

Massage therapists are constantly learning. Their work, involving direct interaction with people, enables them to gain skills and knowledge in effective communication, body mechanics, and human anatomy, which enhances their professional growth. On the other hand, maintaining professional ethics and boundaries can lead to personal growth in areas of integrity and responsibility.

The Cons of Being a Massage Therapist

Despite the benefits, massage therapy is also challenging. Here is what you need to know:

Physical Demands

Massage therapy involves constant movement that requires strength and dexterity; thus, it can be physically demanding. Massage therapists stand on their feet during therapy sessions and work with their hands the entire time. As such, they must have stamina to maintain high energy throughout the day.

Education and Licensing Requirements

Getting a license in massage therapy is not simple. Candidates must first complete a year-long training program to gain proficiency in the field, including a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, and ethical conduct on the job. The licensing process requires applying for and passing the licensing exam, which can be draining.

Financial Investment

Investing in massage therapy for a career is costly. From the initial stage of education and training to the licensing stage of practicing the job legally, a massage therapist has to invest in tuition fees, training materials, exam fees, and renewal costs. Spending money is further needed for equipment, supplies, and business setup for those who plan to operate independently.

Continuous education and practice are also required if a massage therapist wants to remain competitive and relevant among clients; for the latter, one must allocate additional funds for marketing and advertising. Hence, it is essential to remember that financial investment in a massage therapy career is a crucial aspect of building a successful brand.


Now that you know what this job entails, a critical approach to evaluating the benefits and challenges can help you decide whether you foresee massage therapy as a career path. To succeed in this realm, one has to be willing to endure long periods of standing up, listening to clients daily, and quickly adapting to their needs. However, from alleviating clients’ pain to enhancing their quality of life, being a massage therapist is just as spiritually rewarding and offers financial stability.