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Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is growing rapidly in clients and recognition. As the baby boom generation ages and massage therapy gains approval among health care professionals, more clients are seeking out trained, certified massage therapists. The first step to a career in massage therapy is to enroll in a training program that meets the requirements of the state and city in which you practice.

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Pursuing a Career in Massage Therapy

There's little doubt that the health care industry is one to watch in an economy rife with lay-off. In fact, it is looking to buck the trend. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the health care industry should generate 3 million new jobs through 2016--that's more than any other industry. Massage therapy, in particular, should represent a substantial part of that growth.

So What's the Rub? Career Profile
Perhaps the biggest benefit to this medical-based career is the diversity. As opposed to being funneled into a common role, message therapy professionals often shape their career over time. Personal choices with respect to work hours, independence, and choice of practice locations and types open up the career to endless possibilities.

Potential earnings for massage therapists are also an attraction. The BLS lists the 2007 median annual salary of massage therapy specialists at $34,870. The top ten percent earned $70,840 and the bottom earned $16,000. Geographic location and years of experience also may play a substantial role in determining salary level.

Beyond the Technique: Educational Requirements
Another benefit is the sensible preparation periods, particularly for those candidates reluctant to spend several years and several tens of thousands of dollars on a traditional healthcare degree program. Many programs can be completed within two years of part-time study at a fraction of the bachelor-degree price tag.

The BLS also reports that there are roughly 1,500 massage therapy postsecondary schools, college programs and massage therapist training programs throughout the country. So just who becomes a massage therapist? The American Massage Therapy Association reveals that of its membership, 85 percent of AMTA members are female and 15 percent are male. Over half of AMTA members are ages 35 to 54, with the median age at 44.

Bring on the Masseur! Industry Future
The demand for massage therapists is projected to grow by 20 percent over the coming decade, which is faster than the national average for all occupations through 2016. The natural population growth, an aging society, and the interest in holistic healthcare are all factors that should drive career opportunities. 

Time Saving Tips
The following to-do list represents a collection of suggestions for the AMTA on earning certification and finding work in the massage therapy career:


  • Complete a Program. Earn certification from a school that's accredited in your area. Call a program representative from any program you're considering to confirm accreditation.
  • Pass the NCETMB. That's the exam that earns you national certification in the practice of massage therapy. Complete it and you can earn instant nationwide recognition.
  • Meet Locality Requirements. Again, every state and municipality has its own additional certification requirements. Know them and meet them.

Imagine getting paid to promote relaxation, relieve pain, and increase flexibility. Today's massage therapists are doing it every day.