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Duties Of Massage Therapists

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Massage therapists typically do the following:

  • Talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history, and desired results
  • Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
  • Manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body
  • Provide clients with guidance on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve their posture
  • Document clients’ conditions and progress

Massage therapists use touch to treat clients’ injuries and to promote the clients’ general wellness. They use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissues of the body.

Massage therapists may use lotions and oils, and massage tables or chairs, when treating a client. A massage can be as short as 510 minutes or could last more than an hour.

Massage therapists talk with clients about what they hope to achieve through massage. They may suggest personalized treatment plans for their clients, including information about additional relaxation techniques to practice between sessions.

Massage therapists can specialize in many different types of massage or modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage are just a few of the many modalities of massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques.

The Upside: Some Advantages To Working In A Spa Environment

Diversity is at the top of Sneddens list of advantages of working in a spa environment. I think diversity is a huge advantage of spas, he says. You have day spas, resorts, hotels and medical-based spas, for example, all of which are going to offer different work environments and expectations.

Benefits packages can also be a draw for massage therapists. More and more spas are offering their fulltime employees benefits packages, Snedden says. These might include health insurance, sick days, vacation time and options for retirement planning.

Support staff that book appointments, process payment and assist with treatment room turnover can give massage therapists more time to focus on the services they are providing. When you have support staff that is responsible for laundry services and general cleaning, Snedden explains, youll have more time to focus on providing services.

Working with other massage therapists can provide a sense of community that might be missing from some other employment opportunities. The opportunity to interact with and learn from other massage therapists can help you feel less isolated, Snedden says. For some massage therapists, this interaction will help them feel less out of touch with the massage community at large.

Gratuities are often a part of the spa environment. To this point, the 2009 AMTA Industry Survey indicates massage therapists working in the spa/salon setting continue to receive the most generous gratuity.

What Education Or Certification Will I Need To Become A Massage Therapist

Most massage therapy programs award a diploma, certificate, or similar technical degree upon completion, which typically meets the education requirements for state board licensing when its required, though you can pursue an associates or bachelors degree in massage. No matter which type of program you choose, McNeil says it should have a solid focus on anatomy and physiology, especially if you want to focus on modalities that are more medicinal and therapeutic.

With the right training, massage students can position themselves as medical providers and build a reputation within the medical community.

If you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 46 states that regulate massage therapy professionals, youll have to meet your states requirements for licensing. This typically includes completing a minimum number of education hours and passing a national exam like the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination .

Once licensed, you can earn board certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage& Bodywork , a designation that indicates youve achieved a level of professional knowledge and expertise beyond basic competencies. You can also prove that youve mastered an area of specialization by earning a certificate in one of boards eight specialty areas of massage. Keeping up to date on industry trends is also an important part of your ongoing education.

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Injuries And Illnesses For Massage Therapists

Because giving a massage is physically demanding, massage therapists can injure themselves if they do not use the proper techniques. Repetitive-motion problems and fatigue from standing for extended periods are most common.

Therapists can limit these risks by using good body mechanics, spacing sessions properly, exercising, and, in many cases, receiving a massage themselves regularly.

Best Practices For Training New Staff

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The training period for new massage therapists will differ depending on the position and the persons level of experience, but 4-5 weeks is the typical timeframe. This should cover areas including but not limited to:

  • Etiquette for welcoming clients
  • Teaching new massage techniques or treatments that are unique to your spa
  • Codes of conduct

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Resources For Job Seekers

AMTA has the resources you need to start your career in massage therapy or find the next great opportunity. Find resume and interview tips for massage therapists, resources for selecting the right massage therapy work setting and more.

Choosing an EmployerHelp for when you’re making decisions about where to work, from identifying and comparing potential employers, to determining the best match for you. Read more

Setting Long-Term GoalsLong-term goals help you stay focused on where you are and where you want to be in your massage therapy career.Read more

Writing a Massage Therapy Cover LetterLearn how to write a cover letter that will stand out to prospective massage therapy employers, and download a sample cover letter.

Writing Your Massage Therapy ResumeGet resume writing tips and a sample massage therapy resume.

Massage Therapist Job Description Template

We are looking to recruit a professional, courteous massage therapist to provide our guests with a wide range of massage services. The message therapist will consult with guests to screen them for underlying conditions, and to assist with selecting appropriate services. You will perform massages in a manner that prevents injuries to your wrists and other parts of your body. You will assist guests with inquiries, and explain treatments and packages in a courteous manner.

To ensure success you need to assist guests with selecting the most appropriate services for their needs, be skilled at performing massages, and ensure guest retention. Preferred candidates are friendly, guest-oriented, and dexterous.

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Where Might You Work

Massage therapists work in a variety of environments including retail spaces, medical offices, long-term care facilities, independent offices, spas, and private resorts. As a new massage therapist, you might start out working for a massage company in a retail space where you are offered an hourly rate plus tips. These jobs are often low-paid, but they offer a good starting point.

While working in a retail massage shop, massage therapists could find work with a chiropractic office, medical clinic, or long-term care facility. These settings allow massage therapists to work with patients who are in dire need of help and healing. Many massage therapists feel that a strictly clinical or medical setting is their calling and even springboard from these clinics to work as a physical therapist or elsewhere in the medical community.

On the other hand, massage therapists can decide to set up a private practice. Many massage therapists are attracted to the profession for this reason. Massage therapists love being able to make their own schedule, find their own clients, and build a totally unique, individual practice.

Finally, massage therapists can also seek work in a spa or resort. Many new massage therapists find this alluring and so take their licenses to exotic locales such as the Bahamas, find work on cruise ships, or seek work in a Hawaiian resort.

Employers That Recruited In The Last 2 Years

Preparation Phase for Massage Therapy & Myofascial Work w/ Til Luchau
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Interest in analyzing information obtained from tests and health care professionals to develop treatment plans in providing courses of treatment for medical conditions, injuries and for maintenance of wellness and in maintaining records of patients’ treatments


Interest in assisting patients by providing treatment, prescribing remedial exercises and discussing follow-up care may work with other health care professionals when appropriate


Interest in operating equipment to administer treatments in conducting range of motion and muscle testing and in providing massage therapy to treat medical conditions and injuries

The interest code helps you figure out if youd like to work in a particular occupation. Its based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory , which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means its a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Massage therapists may be trained in various massage techniques but, in general, they:

The work can be physically demanding. It requires standing for long periods of time. Hours of work depend on each work setting and therapist. Some massage therapists work evenings and weekends. Others work part time in several locations.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

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Massage Therapist Job Description: What Youll Do

Its an exciting time to begin a career in massage therapy. Not only have the job opportunities for massage therapists rapidly expanded, but the types of workplaces have as well. Massage therapy jobs are available in franchises, fitness centers, spas, resorts, and with self-employment, but careers are also growing in a variety of healthcare settings.

Ive seen an explosion in the field, says Taffie Lewis, director of membership outreach at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals , a national massage therapy association. Massage has become mainstream. More and more consumers are using massage through franchise memberships on a regular basis and making massage a part of their lifestyle.

In the last decade, massage therapy has gained traction as a legitimate adjunct to traditional medical services.

In the last decade, massage therapy has also gained traction as a legitimate adjunct to traditional medical services, adds Lisa McNeil, M. Ed, CFSS-M, a licensed massage therapist at the Wisconsin-based Momentum Movement Clinic, who also provides manual therapy for U.S. Olympic team athletes and consults for wellness clinics and massage programs.

As a result, massage therapy training programs attract a variety ofstudents from all different backgrounds.

But the core reason people most often choose this career isbecause they want to make a difference, Lewis explains.There are so many studies showing that massagecan help our human condition far beyond relaxation.

Licenses Certifications And Registrations

In 2016, 45 states and the District of Columbia regulated massage therapy. Although not all states license massage therapy, they may have regulations at the local level.

In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must get a license or certification before practicing massage therapy. State regulations typically require graduation from an approved massage therapy program and passing an exam.

The exam may be a state-specific exam or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination licensure exam, offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

Massage therapists also may need to pass a background check, have liability insurance, and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation . Many states require massage therapists to complete continuing education credits and to renew their license periodically. Those wishing to practice massage therapy should look into legal requirements for the state and locality in which they intend to practice.

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Copy Job Description Template Text

Education, Experience, and Licensing Requirements:

  • Minimum of 500 hours of massage therapy school and a certificate of completion
  • Adherence to all applicable local and state licensing laws and regulations related to the massage therapy services provided, including following any applicable law pertaining to maintaining current Massage License
  • Knowledge of and experience in performing Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage required, as well as knowledge of and experience in performing other modalities
  • Understands and believes in the healing benefits of massage therapy and bodywork
  • Satisfactory results of background and reference check is a condition of employment in this position

Here is where the best massage therapist job postings turn potential applicants into actual applicants, by letting them know exactly how to apply with a well-crafted . Provide details on application, resume, and supporting documents submission and include any other requirements.

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Massage Therapist

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The road to becoming a massage therapist includes formal training, a licensure process, optional certifications, and a commitment to career-long continuing education.

In the U.S, legal minimum hours for obtaining a massage therapy license differ from state to state and range from 330 to 1,000 hours. Because the structure of education programs varies, students can fulfill requirements and obtain their license in a matter of weeks or may need up to two years to do so.

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Managers & Spa Associates

  • Great earning potential: Busy spa environment provides opportunity for advancement and bonus
  • Awesome personal growth opportunities: A culture that helps you develop interpersonal skills, confidence and provides recognition for reaching company sales goals
  • Expand skin care and massage therapy knowledge with one of the leading companies in the industry
  • Enjoy the benefits of a family-run business atmosphere coupled with the perks of being part of a strong, established brand
  • Flexible hours for full or part time positions

Use A Variety Of Methods

Remember that people have different learning styles and preferences, so be sure to cover all your bases when training new massage therapist hires. Implement job specific training using written manuals, videos, checklists, and demonstrations. Its also a good idea to have new therapists shadow other employees so they can get a feel of the day-day-day practices in your spa. In todays day and age of social media, it is also worth educating your staff on social media if you wish to focus them on your social media pages.

Heres an example of how Endotaspa in Australia uses social media to showcase their employees ever so often.

A post shared by endota on Nov 7, 2019 at 12:25am PST

Combined, these training methods will give your new therapists a well-rounded experience of what its like to work at your company.

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Job Outlook For Massage Therapists

Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 32 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 23,300 openings for massage therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Snapshot Of The Spa Environment

UPDATE: Massage Therapy 2yrs Later | Where to work? Forgotten Tax Deductions.

Diane Magnuson made a beeline for the Elms Resort and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, when she graduated from massage therapy school, returning every week to remind them of her interest until they hired her when they had an opening.

While a few of her classmates went on to work in health care offices, Magnuson knew right away that she was more interested in a career at a spa. I wasnt really ever interested in working on people who were in pain, she explains. I was much more interested in the resort/spa atmosphere, where clients come for enjoyment and relaxation.

She agreed to answer some questions for us to give massage therapists who are interested in working in a spa a better idea of what to expect.

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Work Environment For Massage Therapists

Massage therapists hold about 144,600 jobs. The largest employers of massage therapists are as follows:

Self-employed workers
Accommodation 5%

Some massage therapists travel to clients’ homes or offices to give a massage. Others work out of their own homes. Many massage therapists, especially those who are self-employed, provide their own table or chair, sheets, pillows, and body lotions or oils.

A massage therapist’s working conditions depend heavily on the venue in which the massage is performed and on what the client wants. For example, when giving a massage to help clients relax, massage therapists generally work in dimly lit settings and use candles, incense, and calm, soothing music. In contrast, a massage meant to help rehabilitate a client with an injury may be conducted in a well-lit setting with several other people receiving treatment in the same room.

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