What Do Massage Therapists Do?
Massage therapists use their hands to manipulate and work a client’s muscles and soft body tissues. There are many different types of massage therapies, called modalities, such as Swedish massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage, reiki, and neuromuscular massage. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques.
Massage therapy can offer medical benefits by helping to rehabilitate injuries and be part of a healing process by relieving pain, body aches, and soreness. It may also help reduce stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of a client. Massage therapy that aims to improve physical health typically differs in duration and technique from massage that is intended to simply relax or rejuvenate clients. The training background of those who perform the two types of massage therapy may differ as well.
To learn more about this profession, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm.
Where Do Massage Therapists Work?
This occupation includes a large percentage of part-time and self-employed workers. Massage therapists work in an array of settings both public and private, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private practitioner offices, health spas, resorts, sports venues, fitness centers, and corporate offices. Frequently massage therapists work out of their homes or travel to their clients’ homes or offices to provide massages. It is not uncommon for full-time massage therapists to divide their time among several different settings, depending on the clients and locations scheduled.
Due to the physically strenuous nature of the job, massage therapists typically give massages for less than 40 hours a week. Most therapists who work 15 to 30 hours per week consider themselves to be full-time workers, because when time for travel, equipment set-up, and business functions such as billing are added in, a massage therapist’s hours per week may very well be more than 40 hours. Massage therapists may work evenings and weekends based on the availability of their clients or the scheduling of a setting where they work.
What Do Massage Therapists Earn?
According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time, massage therapists nationwide was $47,180, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that massage therapists in New York earned an average annual salary of $52,700, (entry level-$25,510, experienced- $92,830).
Supply and Demand
The number of massage therapist jobs is projected to increase in the United States by 26.3% between 2016 and 2026 and increase by 28.1% in New York during the same period.
Employment is expected to grow faster than average as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy. Massage also offers specific benefits to particular groups of people, such as athletes or older adults, whose continued demand for massage services will lead to overall growth for the occupation.
For more information on projections of massage therapists by New York State labor regions, 2014-2024, click here.
Educational Program Requirements
Licensed massage therapists have at least a high school education or G.E.D and they must complete an approved massage therapy education program. Many programs have additional admitting requirements such essays or basic proficiency in English or science. Non-credit diploma or certificate programs as well as associate and bachelor’s degree programs are currently approved in New York.
Approved massage therapy education programs require coursework in human anatomy, physiology, neurology, hygiene, massage techniques, and other elements of general health care. All approved programs require clinical training, too, with a minimum of 150 hours of practice on people.
With the self-employed nature of the massage therapy profession, many programs also offer courses in basic business and business ethics. Programs conferring associate or bachelor’s degrees may require additional elective coursework in English, writing, and other liberal arts.
New York Licensure Requirements
A massage therapist must be licensed in New York. To be licensed in New York, a massage therapist must complete an approved massage therapist training program and pass a state-approved licensing exam. For more information on New York licensure requirements, go to: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mt/mtlic.htm.
For general information about state and federal scholarship programs and opportunities, go to: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/scholarships.
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
|Center for Natural Wellness
School of Massage Therapy
3 Cerone Commercial Drive
Albany, NY 12205
|Niagara County Community College
3111 Saunders Settlement Road
Sanborn, NY 14132
|Finger Lakes Community College
3325 Marvin Sands Drive
Canandaigua, NY 14424
|Finger Lakes School of Massage
215 E State St, Ste 203
Ithaca, NY 14850
272 North Bedford Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
855 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
(518) 786-0855 or (888) 290-3847
|Morrisville State College- SUNY
80 Eaton Street
Morrisville, NY 13408
360 Choate Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220-2094
|North Country Community College
23 Santanoni Ave
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
|New York College of Health Professions
6801 Jericho Tpke.
Syosset, NY 11791
|New York Institute of Massage
4701 Transit Road
Williamsville, NY 14221
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
110 William Street
New York, NY 10038
|Queensborough Community College- CUNY
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
226 W 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
Additional Web Links
For more information on massage therapists, go to:
American Massage Therapy Association: www.amtamassage.org
Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals: http://www.abmp.com
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: http:// www.ncbtmb.org
New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists: www.nysmassage.org.