How to Become a Massage Therapist in 2023: Schools, Program Costs, and Salary Outlook

How to Become a Massage Therapist in 2023: Schools, Program Costs, and Salary Outlook

If you are a lover of sensual and coordinated massage, you will love this article perfectly well. Who doesn’t love to get a subtle massage from time to time? Given that massages are pretty intimate treats to receive, the services of massage therapists have gone on the increase. In this article, I’m going to show you how to become a massage therapist and all the necessary requirements.

Honestly, I tell you, there is no better way to unwind and ease off the sickening stress of a hectic day than to have a perfect stranger, a masseuse particularly, prod and poke you at your limp body.

Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. During a massage, a massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to ease pain and tension.

Massage therapy is a rewarding career path that offers the opportunity to promote relaxation, alleviate pain, and improve overall well-being for clients. If you aspire to become a massage therapist in 2023, this guide will provide valuable insights into the steps involved, available schools and programs, associated costs, and the salary outlook in this fulfilling profession.

What does a massage therapist do?

Part of the massage therapist’s job is to use his hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissue of the body to help treat injuries and promote the patient’s general wellness.

On the job, most massage therapists generally have a variety of duties:

  • Create a comfortable environment for the client
  • Discuss the needs of the client which may revolve around pain relief, stress relief, etc.
  • Provide the necessary massage therapies to relieve client’s problems
  • Contact the client regularly to guarantee comfort and be sure they are doing well
  • Respect for the privacy and comfort levels of each client
  • Follow the regular progress of the client
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Types of Massage therapies

There are so many areas a massage therapist can specialize in. They are usually called modalities. Below are a few examples of modalities.

  • Swedish massage
  • deep-tissue massage
  • sports massage
  • Asian bodywork
  • medical massage

Most massage specialists specialize in different methods that require different techniques. Usually, the type of massage depends on the needs of the client and their physical condition.

For example, therapists can use special technology for older clients. Some forms of massage are only given to certain types of clients. For example, prenatal massage is given to pregnant women.

A massage therapist may specialize in Asian bodywork massage which focuses on using hand and finger pressure to influence the body’s energy channels, while medical massage is based on specific, outcome-driven treatments.

When treating a client, massage therapists may use lotions and oils, massage tables or chairs, and medical heat lamps. They may also have the duty of offering clients information about additional relaxation techniques or exercises to practice between sessions.

Usually, a massage session can be as short as fifteen minutes or could last for more than an hour depending on the needs of the client.

Education and Training:

Becoming a massage therapist typically requires completing a formal education program. Here are the key steps to get started:

High School Education: While not mandatory, having a high school diploma or equivalent is beneficial for gaining admission to massage therapy programs.

Choose an Accredited Program: Look for accredited massage therapy schools or programs recognized by professional organizations. These programs ensure you receive quality education and meet the necessary standards.

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Program Length: Massage therapy programs can vary in length, with many offering certificates, diplomas, or associate’s degrees. Certificate programs may take as little as a few months, while degree programs could extend up to two years.


Massage therapy programs cover a range of topics, including anatomy, physiology, massage techniques, and ethics. Students learn various massage modalities, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and sports massage.

Licensing and Certification:

Most states in the U.S. require massage therapists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but often include completing an accredited program, passing a state examination, and meeting a minimum number of practice hours. Obtaining national certification through organizations like the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is also a common requirement.

Cost of Education:

The cost of a massage therapy program can vary widely depending on factors like program length, location, and whether it is offered by a community college, vocational school, or private institution. Tuition for certificate programs can range from $6,000 to $12,000, while associate’s degree programs may cost between $10,000 and $20,000.

Job Prospects and Salary:

The employment outlook for massage therapists is promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is projected to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As for potential earnings, the median annual wage for massage therapists in the United States was $43,620 in 2020. However, income can vary widely based on factors like location, experience, specialization, and whether therapists work independently or for an employer. Some massage therapists earn additional income through tips and commissions.

Professional Development:

Continuing education is essential for massage therapists to stay updated on the latest techniques, health trends, and industry advancements. Many states require massage therapists to complete a certain number of continuing education hours to renew their licenses.

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In conclusion, pursuing a career as a massage therapist in 2023 involves obtaining the necessary education and licensing. With favorable job prospects and a growing demand for holistic health services, the path to becoming a massage therapist offers the potential for a fulfilling and financially rewarding career. By selecting an accredited program, gaining hands-on experience, and continuously enhancing your skills, you can embark on a successful journey in the field of massage therapy.

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