How many massage therapists are there?
Estimates are that there are between 300,000 and 350,000 massage therapists and massage therapy students living in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massage therapy is indeed a growing profession–in 2015, it was a $12.1 billion industry.
Who is the typical massage therapist?
86% of massage therapists are women, and the average age of a massage therapist is 45. People often go to massage school in search of a second career.
What about massage therapy as a career?
The median pay for a massage therapist is about $38.040 a year. About half of all massage therapists would like more hours of work, and about half of all massage therapists have another career. The majority of massage therapists have solo practices, but many LMTs work in health care or spa settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average growth rate for all occupations is 7% for 2014-2024. However, massage therapy is growing at a faster rate: 22%.
What about massage school?
The first choice to make is between going to an accredited or non-accredited school. While non-accredited schools can be cheaper, no federal financial aid will be available, and you may have problems getting licensed depending on the state you want to practice in. There are more than 300 accredited programs in the US, and on average expect to spend about 600-700 hours on training.
Will I need a massage therapy license?
44 states (and the District of Columbia) regulate the practice of massage therapy, and requirements vary from state to state. Make sure that when you’re doing this research that you also find out whether your state will give a license if you go to a non-accredited massage school. While some states don’t seem to care, others do, and you don’t want any bad surprises after graduation.
With a promising outlook for growth in the massage therapy occupation, it’s worthwhile considering going to massage school. Many massage therapists have their own practices, which has some up- and downsides. A solo practice means great flexibility, but it also means you are relying on yourself. If you’re not working, you’re not making an income. There are around 1300 massage schools in the US (some are listed here), and many of them offer business classes that will teach you how to handle bookkeeping, health insurance, marketing and other business skills.