If you're already considering a career in massage therapy, there's probably a reason you're attracted to the field. Maybe you are seeking a new professional challenge that will give you financial security in an exciting area. Perhaps helping people is one of your career goals. Maybe you yearn to get out from behind a desk or pursue work that has more personal meaning to you.
But if you're still asking, "Is massage therapy a good career for me?" then continue reading. We'll explore more about what makes massage an appealing job for so many people.
The qualities that make a great massage therapist
You probably already possess some of the qualities that make a successful massage therapist if you're looking at the field as a potential new career. But what specifically are the qualities that make a practitioner successful? Let's look at them in more detail.
Check out the following list and see how your traits and goals match up. Do these statements describe you:
- Working with and helping people is a professional goal of yours.
- You have a caring and empathetic personality and enjoy listening to others.
- You thrive on close contact with other people.
- You care about your own health and wellness, as well as that of others.
- You would prefer to work part of the day on your feet.
- Having a flexible work schedule appeals to you.
- You picture yourself working in a setting like a spa, hospital, fitness center or private practice.
- You have an entrepreneurial spirit and would love to market yourself or a business.
If the above statements align with your personality or your professional goals, becoming a massage therapist might be the right career.
The lifestyle of a massage therapist
Do you want to go to work every day and help people? Having that drive is probably the first requirement for becoming a massage therapist. But you can help people in many careers, such as social work, nursing, customer service, childcare and more. Massage has some unique qualities, though. Unlike professions like nursing or social work, you can often obtain a degree in less than twelve months. Imagine yourself in an exciting new profession at this time next year!
If you like flexibility and being in control of your own schedule, massage has a lot to offer. Sixty-seven percent of practicing therapists are sole practitioners, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. That means massage therapy is a great career for people with an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy all aspects of running a business
If the responsibility of owning your own businesses doesn't appeal to you, many other employment options exist. There are lots of different massage therapy jobs to explore! Some places you can work as a massage therapist include: hospitals and medical centers, spas and resorts, sports and fitness franchises, and many more. The demand for massage is growing.
Talk to any massage therapists you know about the pros and cons of their experiences in the field.
The cons of working in massage
While working as a massage therapist has numerous attractive qualities, the profession can pose some challenges for some people. Massage therapy can be physically demanding, requiring considerable upper body strength, repetitive hand movements and hours on your feet.
You may also need to spend considerable time marketing yourself and educating people about the health benefits of massage therapy. Depending on where you work, you might also need to keep a flexible and irregular schedule, especially if you have your own practice.
Working in the evenings and on weekends — when other people are off work and have time to book a massage — might be required. If you thrive in a 9 to 5 job environment, massage might be a poor fit for you.
A massage therapy salary can vary, depending on where you live, how much you can work, what environment you work in and more.
How to further explore massage
The first — and most relaxing — way to learn more about massage is by booking an appointment! Trying out a few different modalities, or types, of massage is another way to learn about the range and variety of techniques within the practice. Some types of massage to try:
When you get a professional massage, ask your therapist: "What do you love the most about your career?" See if their answers appeal to you. Also, notice the environment in which the practitioner works. Is it a place you'd want to come on a daily basis?
Finally, if you have a massage therapy school in your area, talk to the admissions department. See if you can drop in on a class or speak to graduates of their program to find out more about being in school for massage therapy.
The Acupuncture & Massage College offers a program in Massage Therapy with a specialization in Shiatsu massage. Degree programs start multiple times each year and can take as little as 11 and a half months to complete. If you're ready to explore how to pursue massage training and massage certification, call our admissions office at (305) 595-9500.