If you're eyeing a career in massage therapy, then you're probably going to want to know how much you can make before you invest money and time into a massage therapy education. Fortunately, you won't need to go to a four-year school to become a professional massage therapist - there are many vocational and trade schools that offer programs that are as short as seven months. And when you look at the potential earnings that you could make, the investment may very well be worth it.
The Average Massage Therapist Salary
The median salary for massage therapists according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2016-2017 is $37,180. Compare this number to the average per capita income for 2014, which was $28,889 and the median household income for that same year, which was $53,657, and that number doesn't look too bad.
Of course, this is just the median salary. According to the same Occupational Outlook Handbook, the top 10 percent of the massage therapists earning the most money in the U.S. were earning over $71,950 a year. But this doesn't necessarily cap your potential yearly earnings if you choose massage therapy as a career either - even though that's certainly a more than livable wage. There are many factors involved in what you could earn as well that you should consider.
Factors That Determine A Massage Therapist's Salary
There are several factors that can affect the salary of a massage therapist. Some of these factors include:
- Extent of training - While basic massage therapy training can be received within a seven-month period, the more training you have, the more likely you are to earn more. This is especially true if you've trained in specializations within the massage therapy field. For example, if you've been trained in medical massage or Asian bodywork in addition to basic massage therapy, you'll have a much better chance at earning a higher salary.
- Location - You're bound to make more money in areas where the cost of living is higher, where there are more people and where there are more stressful jobs. For example, opening up a massage therapy clinic in a small rural farming town may not lead to a very large income, but working at a clinic in a city where the level of income is higher will most likely result in more demand for your services, and therefore a larger salary.
- Experience - The longer you work in the field of massage therapy, the more likely you are to earn more money. This is especially true if you have a wealth of experience from working at different institutions, such as at hotels, the offices of other health practitioners or personal care services.
- Business ability - While you can always work as a massage therapist for another business, opening up your own massage therapy practice may result in a higher income - especially if you have some business skill. Finding an affordable workplace that provides a safe and comforting atmosphere, marketing your business properly and building your client base are all essential to success.
Demand for Massage Therapists
Another thing to consider is the future growing demand for massage therapy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy employment is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2014 to 2022. This is well above the 7 percent average predicted growth rate of other careers.
As you can see, there's a lot of earning potential when it comes to a career in massage therapy - especially when considering the expected growth in demand for massage therapists. However, earning potential does depend on numerous factors.