Massage Therapist Salary

This article will address all of the aspects relating to a massage therapist salary.  You will get a look into the current environment of the profession as well as the future outlook and everything that will relate to the typical massage therapist income.

If you are just looking for a simple answer to the basic question “how much do massage therapists make?“,  here it is: the average annual salary of a massage therapist in 2011 was $39,920.  If you want to learn more about what might affect this number for you then please read on.

Massage Therapists Hours

One of the benefits of being a Massage Therapist is the freedom you get from the job.  Your schedule is only limited by your client’s availability and how much you want to work.  What this means is that you can work as much, or as little as you would like.

In 2010, approximately 3 out of 4 massage therapists worked part time (under 40 hours a week).  One thing to keep in mind, that if you practice on your own and do not have a secretary, which is probable, then you need to spend a few hours doing general things like talking to clients, organizing notes/information, getting new clients, and cleaning equipment among other things, which will obviously cut into your time massaging, thereby potentially reducing your massage therapy salary.

Being a Massage Therapist in the Future

I know that one thing you’re probably concerned about is the future of the field and how bright the career looks down the road.  There are two things that are considered most important: massage therapy salary and job availability.

Job AvailabilityMassage Therapy salary prediction

This is the most important aspect of any field when looking into the future and making predictions.  The demand for massage therapy is expected to grow substantially over the next 10 years.  From 2010 to 2012 the demand is expected to increase 20%! The average growth for all jobs is only 14%, and while 6% seems like a small difference, think of how many people there are in North America and you’ll quickly see why the field of massage therapy is considered so hot right now.

Massage Therapy Jobs Available:


  • 52,000


  • 55,920


  • 63,810

We can break down the reason for this predicted increase and it makes perfect sense.  First of all, the population is aging rapidly as the ‘baby boomers’ begin to reach old age.  Massage therapy is a great service to these people, which can help them with the increased body troubles that people face in old age.  If you are interested in this you might even be able to secure a position at a large retirement home, which would cut out any marketing you would have to do.

Secondly, the practice is becoming more regulated as more states adopt licensing rules.  What this does is add to the legitimacy of the profession and more people will realize that it is a very beneficial practice and can help them.

The third factor relates in part to the second, which is that massage therapy is becoming more popular, which means people are investing effort and money into making it more accessible to the general public.  Through spas and massage clinics, there are more outlets than ever that are being put into place which will make it easier for people to get treatment.

Massage Therapist Salary in the Future

If you have ever studied or heard about economics you have probably heard about supply and demand.  The principle is simple: when the demand increase outpaces supply increase, prices will rise.  This is the situation that is happening right now because of that enormous growth noted above.  Looking at the average salary of a massage therapist’s graph, you can see that there is an upward trend, which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Massage therapist salary

Keep in mind that this still includes massage therapists working part time!  Not only are the massage therapist salaries here are only just below the average American salary (41,673.83 in 2010), but if we converted to hourly rates a massage therapist salary would make far more in comparison to most professions.   So in response to how much do massage therapists make it will vary depending on the hours worked, and if you work a lot you will make much more than the average salary.

Types of Jobs for a Massage Therapist

I briefly mentioned before that spas are very popular places for massage therapists to work.  As of 2008, 42% of massage therapists worked in salons or spas, 25% somewhere in the healthcare industry (this covers a wide variety of places), and 33% are self-employed.  This should make it clear that there are several options open to a massage therapist, but which one is best for you?


  • Offers the highest massage therapist salary on average
  • Lots of clients provided
  • Not as flexible as self-employment

Healthcare Industry:

  • More job variety available: You wouldn’t necessarily just be a massage therapist, you could get into physical therapy or rehab work, using massage as your main tool or a variety of other related jobs
  • You will get to work with a lot of very intelligent people which will benefit your growth, especially if you are new to working
  • The average massage therapist salary in this industry is among the lowest, for reasons discussed later


  • The most risky option, but possibly the greatest reward.  If you are extremely motivated and good at what you do you can make a lot of money and have a lot of freedom, however, there is substantially more work you must do
  • Must get clients, do bookwork, rent space

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to pick one avenue for your whole career, you can switch your place or type of employment multiple times.

How Much Will YOU Earn As a Massage Therapist

These statistics are nice and all, but they are going to vary depending on a lot of factors, so let’s get into some numbers that will be more applicable to your situation.

While we deal with annual amounts, it is important to make the distinction that most massage therapists will be working on an hourly basis, in reality there isn’t really a salary for massage therapists per say.  Currently the rate that is charged varies anywhere from 30 to 90 dollars, but averages nicely on $60/hour.  Now of this amount a part will be allocated to take care of the miscellaneous tasks, or your employer will take a cut for supplying equipment and clients.  All in all expect to take home approximately $40 an hour while you are working.

The great thing about massage therapy as noted before is the flexibility; in most cases you can work as much or little as you want.  Say you made $40 an hour and only worked 20 hours a week, this would be $40,000 in the year, working roughly half of what most people work for a smaller amount.

Remember that these are average amounts for the most part, if you live in an area that has a higher than usually demand, or your skills are highly developed or specialized, these rates can be even higher, especially if you are self-employed.  A typical plan many massage therapists follow is to start off with an employer to meet people and make contacts while gaining experience and skill, so that when you transition to self-employment you will have clients and can potentially charge more.  In the end though, it’s up to you and what you want to do with your life.

Tips and your Massage Therapist Salary?

The numbers that have been presented thus far have included tips in them.  Depending on where you work however you may or may not get tipped often.  For example, when working in a hospital you are very unlikely to get tipped, but in a spa where people go for vacations or just special occasions tips are much more likely, and are often up to 30% of the billed rate.  The average annual income noted before was an average of all places of employment, so tips help explain why some places pay more as discussed earlier.

So there you have it, all the information you should need to know about a massage therapist salary.  Please refer to the homepage or other articles for more information, or leave a comment below if you still have questions on how much do massage therapists make.

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