Are you considering a career as a massage therapist? There are many massage practitioners who work at a spa, go to client’s homes, or rent a small office. Regardless of their location, they have one goal: to build up a local clientele and earn their living as independent business owners. Getting a diploma is the first and most crucial step.
However, several dynamic business models are altering the landscape of the profession. Fifty years from now, it’s possible that massage therapists will look back on this era as the golden age of massage therapy. Today is one in which the profession has blossomed and now embodies the full potential of bodywork therapy.
What Do Massage Therapists Do?
First of all, the basic description of what massage professionals do remains the same. It’s the way in which practitioners set up their businesses that is changing the most. The operating definition of massage therapy still includes the manipulation and massage of the body’s soft muscle tissue. Furthermore, massage therapists assist with injury rehabilitation.
How Has Massage Therapy Changed?
In contrast to 20 years ago, today’s massage professional is as likely to work in a casino or on a cruise ship rather than an office. The modern massage therapist might work for a number of health or wellness employers. This includes chiropractors, surgeons, physical therapy clinics, resorts, gyms or many other employers. Freelance massage therapists choose the sole practitioner business model and offer personalized services.
The bottom line for today’s massage therapists is they have choice. Whether they opt to go solo or hire on with an employer, there are plenty of options for anyone with a massage therapist diploma.
Careers for Massage Therapists
As noted above, there are multiple places that massage therapists can work. Because of this variety, never before have there been so many choices for massage therapists. What can licensed massage therapists do with a diploma?
Choose a Specialty
After a few months of learning the business and gaining general experience, many massage therapists choose to specialize their skills. Some areas of massage are more geared towards specific clientele, like elder massage, infant massage, and prenatal massage. Other service include sports therapy massage, chair massage, Eastern techniques, and event services.
Become a General Massage Practitioner
After experimenting with a dozen different types of massage therapy, many massage therapists gravitate to general services. One reason for this is because they offer a full range of massage styles to their clientele. For this reason, the massage therapist’s versatility is an asset. If someone asks for hot stone, an injury rehab, or a deep tissue massage, they are generally able to assist.
Focus on Rehab Therapy
Massage professionals who enjoy helping injured and recovering patients often choose to work as rehabilitation therapists. For this reason, rehabilitation therapists can expect to get most of their referrals from physicians. For this reason, a typical arrangement for rehabilitation therapists may be near a major hospital or long-term care facility.
Although it may be over looked, teaching massage is also a pathway. In most cases, massage therapists who receive further training in education can find opportunities with local massage therapy or nursing schools. There is also a niche for massage therapists who teach bodywork routines.
Additionally, some massage therapists who teach maintain a private practice on the side. In fact, one of the most effective ways to attract new clients is to become a massage teacher. Instructors are privy to job openings and are viewed as being among the elite of the massage profession.
Many new massage therapists start out with part-time schedules. In contrast, some massage therapists choose to work part-time as massage therapists a few days a week to earn extra income. There are many different reasons for this arrangement, but massage can fit around nearly anyone’s schedule.
Cruise Ship Massage Therapist
With experience and your diploma in massage therapy, you may choose to work on cruise ships. Time commitments are typically short-term, ranging from a few days to a few months. For this reason, cruise ship massage therapy jobs can be a great opportunity. This is especially true for those who like to travel, have few at-home obligations and like the idea of working on the open sea.
Work for an On-Call Agency
Additionally, licensed professionals in urban areas often decide that on-call agency work is a good way to build experience. For example, some bigger agencies give massage therapists a certain number of hours each week or month. In contrast, some strictly work on an as-needed basis. Massage therapists can choose to work for more than one agency at a time.
Why Work for an Agency?
It’s common for on-call massage agencies to procure jobs with major corporations and then send a dozen massage therapists to an event. For example, this includes conventions, stakeholder meetings or other company events. Massage professionals who work this way usually need to have their own tables and chairs so they can be ready for any situation.
Furthermore, working with an agency is an effective way for new massage therapists to expand their skills. It’s also ideal for learning how to adapt to different kinds of clients on a day-to-day basis. In today’s new business environment, on-call massage therapists are in demand and are versatile.
Why Get a Massage Therapy Diploma?
A massage therapy diploma opens up a wide choice of career options for those willing to put in the time and effort to attend school and obtain a diploma. Once licensed, massage therapists maintain their credentials by obeying state rules for massage therapists. For example, this includes earning several continuing educational credits.
Job Trends in Massage Therapy
Regardless of what kind of practice a new massage therapist chooses, it’s smart to keep an eye on industry trends by reading massage publications, books, and general news about the profession. Right now, there are several transformations taking place that will have significant effects on the industry.
Casino Massage Therapist
Casinos and gaming
complexes are popping up everywhere, particularly in cities and states that
have enacted new laws to allow for gaming. Las Vegas used to be the lone player
in this market, but other cities are newer entrants to the gaming industry.
What does the gaming industry have to do with massage?
Wherever there are casinos, massage therapists can find lots of clients. Year-round professional poker tournaments employ hundreds of freelance massage therapists as well as groups of massage practitioners who work for private companies. It’s a great place for new massage school grads to acquire experience and earn money. For more experienced massage therapists who want something new, working the big Las Vegas poker tournaments brings in seasonal income that can supplement a more traditional practice.
Resort Massage Therapist
The entire set-up of resort massage offerings has been changing for the past decade. Hotel and resort guests used to go to a central location for a massage, the facility’s in-house shop whose massage therapists were hotel employees. That monopoly is slowly giving way to freelance massage practitioners that work the hotels on a regular basis and offer a full menu of services to vacationers.
Chair/Corporate Massage Therapist
Seated massage has been around, and thriving, for over 20 years. Now the clothes-on, no oil modality is really taking off. It’s becoming commonplace to see chair massage kiosks in airports, mega-malls, light-rail stations, hotels, casinos, big-box stores and health food shops. The advantage of chair massage, from the massage therapists’ point of view is ease of set-up, fast turnover, and the ability to go where the crowds are.
Opportunities in Corporate Massage
A few of the more creative places that massage therapists find chair business include marathon races, business conventions, auto shows, music concerts, DMV offices, lobbies of tax preparation firms, baby/wedding showers, wedding receptions and basically anyplace where there are stressed people.
Eastern/Thai Massage Therapist
Among the many Eastern modalities, Thai massage is catching on in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Thai massage is done on a floor mat with the client fully clothed. No oils or lotions are used, and the technique resembles a cross between yoga and assisted stretching.
Once a side-line for most
office-based massage therapists, outcall services are growing rapidly as a
stand-alone type of business practice for massage professionals. An outcall
provider has little office expenses, no leases, no need to wonder where to set
up shop and minimal overhead expenses. More new massage therapists are choosing
to travel to their clients’ homes, offices and event locations to perform table
and/or chair massage.
There’s some overlap between mobile and outcall massage, but most massage therapists who own mobile businesses tend to work major events rather than cater to individuals. Outcall massage practitioners usually build up a clientele of regular clients and deliver services in private homes and business offices.
Want to Learn More?
Are you interested in learning more about the opportunities for massage therapists? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.
*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.