How to Advance as a Professional Massage Therapist

A massage therapy career is different from other careers, in that there really isn’t a corporate latter to climb for career advancement. Rather, career growth depends on the professional path a massage therapist wishes to take.

At the broadest level, massage therapists can either work for an employer, become self-employed, or even split time between both kinds of employment.

Regardless of which path a massage therapists takes, there some common practices that can help improve job advancement.

Advancing Your Massage Therapy Career

In the last article, we discussed some of the cons of being a professional massage therapist. One of these drawbacks is inconsistent income. This is because your earnings depend on how many clients you treat per week, which can vary depending on your industry, location, and yourself (sick, etc.).

While it maybe difficult to fully end the inconsistency, massage therapists that focus on advancing their careers and skill set may do better during periods of down time.

Building a Pipeline of Regular Massage Clients

Building a regular pipeline of clients and patients is the best way to grow your income. If you work for an employer, having this pipeline will ensure that you’re maximizing your earnings through chagrining more people and getting more tips. If you’re self-employed, having a regular pipeline will ensure a more steady income, while also giving you the ability to charge more for as demand for your service increase.


Specializing as a Massage Therapist

Specialization is great for marketing yourself, whether it’s to potential clients or potential employers. As such, it’s a great way to increase your earning potential.

For example, a self-employed massage therapist that tends to work with elderly patients can specialize in massage modalities that useful for treating ailments common in that population, such as neuromuscular therapy, which is good for treating back pain.


Specialization is also good for massage therapists that wish to work for a specific employer. For example, a massage therapist that wants to get hired at a Chiropractor’s office may want to specialize in massage modalities that are commonly used there, such as Shiatsu massage.

Becoming a Manager at a Massage Clinic or Spa

While many massage therapists are self-employed, the majority of them begin their careers working for an employer. For those massage therapists working at a massage clinic or larger spa, getting promoted to a management role is a great career booster, not just for the increase in pay, but for the invaluable work experience.


For massage therapists that want to eventually run their own business, working as a manager will them exposure into the business aspects of the massage therapy profession, and well as valuable networking opportunities with industry experts, and an established pipeline of patients that may want to continue seeing you after your own into business for yourself.

For massage therapists that wish to remain working for an established employer, having work experience in management will boost your resume credentials and will open more doors if and when you wish to move onto a different employer.

Starting Your Own Massage Practice

The pinnacle of the massage therapy industry is running your own, successful business. Massage Therapists that run their own business have the freedom to set their own work schedules and charge their own prices. However, keep in mind that there are other responsibilities that you will have to take on, including bookkeeping (taxes, etc.), marketing, and maintenance of your work space.


To ease into self-employment, it is recommend that you start to branch-out slowly while you're employed at a spa or similar location. This is especially easy to do if you're an independent contractor.

Begin by branding yourself as a specialist and promoting your services to current clients. You can scale your business as you see fit, such as working fewer hours with an employer while your business is good, or working more while it is slow.

Become a Massage Therapist in Miami, FL

If you're ready to leave the rat race behind and begin a meaningful career as a massage therapist, take the first step by downloading our free career guide below.

Our massage school in Miami, Florida has been training massage therapist for over 30-years. If you're in the area, feel free to stop by for a visit. Acupuncture and Massage College is located at 10506 North Kendall Drive, Miami, Florida 33176.Career In Massage

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