Inside Massage Therapist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Takes Time To Build A Client Base...
I was surprised by how many years it took to build up a respectable clientele that would keep me busy without having to constantly market myself. It can take two full years to build a solid reputation and to stay as busy as needed but once you establish a consistent clientele they will do your marketing for you." (Massage Therapist; 2013)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Vermont, female
School: Studied Massage Therapy at Venice School Of Massage Therapy in Florida; completed Certificate degree in 1999

"Opportunities For Networking And Advancement"...
The two things that I always find surprising are the networking opportunities that come with being a Massage Therapist(you will meet such a variety of personalities and people), also many people don't realize that there are so many options as a massage therapist, you can work for a big name brand spa company, or you can work for yourself, you can be a personal massage therapist and travel wherever your client goes (journalists, athletes etc...)." (Massage Therapist; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Massage Therapy at Cuny Queensborough in New York; completed Associate degree in 2010

"Good Work Really Can Improve People's Lives...
I was surprised how my massage services helped improve my clients health, well -being and spiritual mind. I was also surprised at how grateful people were to have received my services." (Licensed Massage Therapist; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Massage Therapy at ATI Massage Therapy School in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Knowledge Of The Body Is Key...
I was surprised by how much anatomical and physical knowledge is required to be a quality Massage Therapist. We had several classes in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology and more, and I find that I use a lot of that information even in basic services. It is also surprising how much misinformation people have about their bodies, so education is a bigger part of my job than I expected." (Clinical Massage Therapist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Clinical Massage Therapy at The SOMA Institute in Illinois; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Rewards Of Healing...
I was so completely surprised at the reactions from my clients when together we are able to heal them from an injury, or get rid of a chronic pain that they had. It is one of the most rewarding feelings I get in my life, and it makes me happy every single time." (LMT; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Neuromuscular Massage Therapy at Southeastern School Of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy in North Carolina; completed Certificate degree in 2001

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Massage Therapist: "The best parts about my career are that I love it and it pays very well. The worst part is that it takes a lot out of me. It is a physically draining job." (2011)

Massage Therapist: "The best part is facilitating positive change in my clients. Over time I have been able to reduce stress, decrease pain or sometimes help people who already feel good feel even better. I also love working for myself. I take pride in the fact that my success is all due to my hard work. I am able to make my own schedule and create a work week that suites my lifestyle. This has evolved over the years and will continue to change. I feel very lucky to have a career with such freedoms." (2010)

Massage Therapist: "The worst parts of my job are dealing with other massage therapist who I inherited with the business and who clearly resent my taking over as owner. The best parts of my job are when a client comes in suffering with pain or injury and I am able to relieve his pain and start down the path to recovery. Some clients, who have difficulty sleeping due to pain become so relaxed that they fall asleep on my table." (2009)

Career Background

Massage Therapist

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Career Video

Career Tips

"Go Above And Beyond In Your Schooling And Your Career...
If you want to be a successful LMT, then you must genuinely care about your clients, and thoroughly perform your services. The more you put into your schoolwork and training, the more you will get out of your career." (Licensed Massage Therapist; 2014)

"Must Be A People Person"...
You can't be shy or quiet, this is a very outgoing job so try your best to connect with your clients." (Massage Therapist; 2014)

"Need To Have Flexible Schedule...
You can make a good amount of money as a massage therapist but you must have a flexible schedule to accommodate the time a client is actually willing to receive a massage. Not every person can come in to receive a massage at 1 in the afternoon, be prepared to work evenings, especially when first getting started." (Massage Therapist; 2013)

"Choose The Best School...
If you want to be successful, pick a good quality school that prepares you for both your career and the testing required to become licensed/certified. Find a school that offers free tutoring, financial aid and has a track record of successful Massage Therapist graduates." (Clinical Massage Therapist; 2013)

"Keep Yourself Healthy...
If you decide to become a massage therapist, the most important thing I would say is proper body mechanics. If you don't use proper body mechanics you will hurt yourself and won't last long in the business. To help yourself with proper body mechanics I would highly recommend yoga and tai chi. Both of these help with your breathing and posture, and the tai chi is very helpful for proper stances when massaging." (Massage Therapist; 2011)

"Search Your Soul Before Pursuing...
Body work is physically demanding, at times emotionally challenging and it can also be solitary. I think it is paramount to do some soul-searching before embarking on this professional path. If you are not ready to give 100% to your clients success will be difficult and career satisfaction will be hard to achieve. Take advantage of internships. Massage experience can vary greatly. Working in a chiropractor's office is very different from working in a spa." (Massage Therapist; 2010)

"Market Yourself Beyond Word-Of-Mouth...
I would advise anyone who wants to take up a career in massage therapy to ensure they have a large network of friends, family and businesses acquaintances before or soon after becoming a professional. Many time you hear that word of mouth is the only way to get clients but hoping that your clients will spread the word is not enough. You need to get out there and do it yourself. Networking organizations, service organizations and Chamber of Commerce memberships are all good places to start." (Massage Therapist; 2009)