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New York Health Careers

Massage Therapists

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?

In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for massage therapists in the United States was $57,860. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, massage therapists in New York earned a median annual salary of $51,584 (massage therapists in the 25th percentile made approximately $37,527 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $87,288).

Supply and Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for massage therapists in the U.S. will increase by 20% between 2021 and 2031. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for massage therapists in the state will increase by 75% between 2020 and 2030.

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, 2018-2028, 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.

Financial Support

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
(518) 489-4026
Niagara County Community College
3111 Saunders Settlement Road
Sanborn, NY 14132
(716) 614-6410
Finger Lakes Community College
3325 Marvin Sands Drive
Canandaigua, NY 14424
(585) 394-3500
Finger Lakes School of Massage
215 E State St, Ste 203
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 272-9024
272 North Bedford Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
(914) 241-7363
Mildred Elley
855 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
(518) 786-0855 or (888) 290-3847
Morrisville State College- SUNY
80 Eaton Street
Morrisville, NY 13408
(315) 684-6000
Trocaire College
360 Choate Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14220-2094
(716) 826-1200
Swedish Institute
226 W 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 924-5900
New York College of Health Professions
6801 Jericho Tpke.
Syosset, NY 11791
New York Institute of Massage
4701 Transit Road
Williamsville, NY 14221
(716) 633-0355
Pacific College of Health and Science
110 William Street
New York, NY  10038
(212) 982-3456
Queensborough Community College- CUNY
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
(718) 631-6262
North Country Community College
23 Santanoni Ave
Saranac Lake, NY  12983
(888) TRY-NCCC


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.

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