How to Become a Massage Therapist

If you’re passionate about helping others, enjoy working with your hands and consider yourself a good listener, then a massage therapy career might be for you. Like physical therapy, massage therapy involves a variety of bodywork techniques designed to reduce stress, improve circulation and help clients heal from injuries. It’s a well-established career path and one that’s currently experiencing a lot of growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent employment growth rate for massage therapists between 2014 and 2024. To find out more about massage therapy and get some expert tips on becoming a therapist, we sat down with the team at Massage Envy Franchising, LLC.

Here’s what you need to know about becoming a massage therapist.

1. Figure out what appeals to you about massage therapy

Like any career, becoming a massage therapist begins with deciding what you’re passionate about and aligning your passions with the position. “I have always been passionate about helping people,” says Chrissy C., a therapist at a Massage Envy franchised location.* When thinking through her career options, she initially considered a position in healthcare before deciding to focus on massage. “I chose massage therapy because it helps people feel better, without being invasive,” she explains. Letting her desire to help others guide her career path turned out to be the right decision for Chrissy, who found her dream job when she joined the team at a Massage Envy franchised location.

Pro Tip: Although there are a variety of reasons why people choose to go into massage therapy (including perks like flexible hours and professional growth opportunities), what all massage therapists have in common is that they’re dedicated to helping others and comfortable working with their hands. If you share those qualities, then chances are that massage therapy could be a rewarding career for you.

2. Find an accredited program that meets your needs

Part of becoming a massage therapist means getting licensed to practice. This involves attending an accredited massage therapy program usually lasting between six to 12 months, where you’ll receive hands-on training and learn a variety of therapeutic modalities including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and sports massage. You’ll also develop a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology, learning how the different muscles and body systems interact with each other. Depending on your program and the massage therapy school you pick, you might also learn about kinesiology (the study of human movement) and pathology (the study of diseases).

Pro Tip: Since different states have different licensing requirements, a good place to start is by learning the requirements for your state. Once you know what credentials you need, you can look for an accredited program in your area.

3. Pick a massage therapy career setting that’s right for you

After finishing massage therapy school and getting your license, you’ll need to decide what type of massage therapy setting works best for you. Do you have a brain for business and want to be your own boss? Building your own practice or opening up your own studio allows you to experience the business side as well as the therapeutic side of massage. Do you prefer to work alongside others in your field and dedicate your time to performing massage instead of running a business? A spa, salon or franchise massage setting like you’ll find in a Massage Envy franchised location may be for you. There are several potential benefits to working in this setting: You’ll get on-the-job training by working with more experienced colleagues, you’ll have access to loyal clientele and you’ll be able to focus primarily on massage therapy as opposed to things like scheduling, marketing and billing.

Added bonus: You’ll be able to enjoy working in a dynamic environment. “We work within a team environment,” explains Johanna O., a therapist at a Massage Envy franchised location. “Everyone has their own strengths, and working with a diverse group of people really helps develop my personal skills. As a massage therapist, the more modalities I know, the better I will be with every client I have on the table.”

Becoming a massage therapist is an opportunity to be a part of a rewarding field while working on your professional and personal growth. By knowing what to expect and what you need to do to get started, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and getting one step closer to landing the job.

*Massage Envy Franchising, LLC (“MEF”) is a national franchisor of independently owned and operated franchised locations. Each individual franchised location, not MEF or any of its affiliates, is the sole employer for all positions posted by a franchised location, and each individual franchised location is not acting as an agent for MEF or any of its affiliates. Hiring criteria, benefits and compensation are set by each individually owned and operated franchised location and may vary from location to location.

What Does a Day in the Life of a Massage Therapist Look Like?

Massage therapy is an exciting and rewarding career that offers therapists the opportunity to work closely with clients, helping them to achieve their health goals and improve their well-being. If you’re considering a career in massage therapy, then you might be wondering what a day in the life of a massage therapist looks like and what you can expect from the job. To find out, we sat down with the team at Massage Envy Franchising, LLC and got the inside scoop on some of the key things massage therapists do every day.

Here’s what a day in the life of a massage therapist looks like.

Massage therapy sessions

One of the perks of being a massage therapist is the flexibility to set your own hours and design a schedule that works for you. This is true whether you’re running your own massage therapy practice or working in another setting such as a Massage Envy franchised location.* Regardless of whether you choose to work mornings or evenings, the majority of your day will be dedicated to massage appointments. How many appointments you have in a day depends on your availability and scheduling preferences, but most full-time therapists will see around five clients a day with massage appointments typically lasting between 60 and 90 minutes.

During these sessions, you’ll be working with clients to assess their needs and address concerns such as back and muscle pain. Since massage therapy is a holistic practice, determining what you need to accomplish during the session is an essential part of providing a great massage. After assessing the client’s needs, you’ll be able to tailor their massage session specifically to them, ensuring that you are using the right type of technique and the appropriate amount of pressure.

Once the massage is over, you’ll wrap up the session by asking the client how they’re feeling and giving them instructions on what to do after the session.

Recommending follow-up massage appointments

Outlining a treatment plan and recommending follow-up massage appointments is another common component of being a massage therapist. This is especially important if the client is dealing with a specific health issue or healing from an injury, but it’s also important for clients who are pursuing massage therapy for stress relief and relaxation. Since the long-term benefits of massage therapy are well-documented, explaining those benefits to clients will go a long way towards ensuring that they are able to make the most of their massage therapy sessions.

Learning new techniques and testing new products

One of the keys to being successful in any career is learning new skills and massage therapy is no exception. From learning new massage techniques to improving your existing skills and knowledge, becoming a great massage therapist relies on consistent learning and professional development. This can be done by attending workshops or by working closely with a more experienced colleague on your team. In addition to learning more advanced skills, massage therapists will also explore ways to enhance the massage experience through additional elements like aromatherapy, warming and cooling treatments, exfoliation and more.

Being a massage therapist is a great opportunity to connect with others while providing an important health service. By having a clear idea of what to expect from the role, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success and land a job at a Massage Envy franchised location.

*Massage Envy Franchising, LLC (“MEF”) is a national franchisor of independently owned and operated franchised locations. Each individual franchised location, not MEF or any of its affiliates, is the sole employer for all positions posted by a franchised location, and each individual franchised location is not acting as an agent for MEF or any of its affiliates. Hiring criteria, benefits and compensation are set by each individually owned and operated franchised location and may vary from location to location.

Types of Internships for Health and Medicine Majors

Pursuing a health and medicine major is a great way to develop your knowledge of the healthcare industry and learn the skills you’ll need to succeed in the field. The best way to put those skills and knowledge to use is by taking on an internship in a healthcare-related field and figure out what career path really fits your interests. From a healthcare-focused education internship to an internship at a public policy organization, there are a lot of options you can explore to determine what works best for you.

Some of the most common internships for health and medicine majors include:

Clinical lab intern

As a clinical lab intern, you’ll work at a lab where you’ll be involved in a number of administrative and research-related tasks. It’s a great opportunity to keep up with the latest research trends and methodologies while learning how to test, analyze and discuss your results with the world at large.

Pre-med summer intern

Another great option is to apply for pre-med summer internship programs in hospitals and universities. This can be especially helpful if you’re a pre-med student who is interested in going to medical school since it’s the perfect opportunity to get a handle on the medical environment and the responsibilities that come along with it. This type of internship involves hands-on experience with the functioning of different departments as well as the potential to shadow a doctor in their everyday duties.

Policy intern

If your passion for healthcare extends to facilitating change through healthcare and mental health policies, a policy or advocacy internship with a prominent healthcare organization could be a great choice. From keeping up with legislative changes to attending conferences and drafting and researching topics related to specific healthcare policies, you’ll get hands-on experience into the procedures required to facilitate policy reform.

Education intern

If you’re looking to put your healthcare major to use in an educational setting, interning at a school, a university or an ed-tech company can give you the exposure you need. In this role, you could be coordinating training programs in a school or writing content for adaptive learning apps. This type of internship will give you hands-on experience with the learning methods and technologies you’ll need to make learning interesting and engaging to students.

Nonprofit intern

If you’re interested in working in the nonprofit sector, you might consider interning at a nonprofit healthcare organization, a role that can offer you a great all-around experience while also giving you a sense of what it takes to fund and sustain such an organization. Whether you’re assisting with grant writing, organizing training sessions or coordinating outreach programs, you’ll get a broad range of experience in the healthcare field and beyond.

Healthcare administration intern

As an administrative intern in a healthcare setting, you’ll gain familiarity with the operations of a hospital or a healthcare organization. You might be assigned to a specific department or gain experience across multiple departments in areas such as data gathering and report writing.

Whether you’re on your way to medical school or looking to branch out into a healthcare-related occupation that does not directly focus medical care, an internship will give you the hands-on experience you need to develop your skills and find out what type of career is right for you.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Health and Medicine Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as the Top 10 Skills Employers Want in an Intern.

Types of Entry-Level Jobs for Health and Medicine Majors

A health and medicine major is a great opportunity to learn about the many different aspects of the healthcare industry while also developing the skills that will make you marketable in the field. And because knowledge of health and medicine is in demand even beyond the healthcare industry, you’ll have your pick of entry-level jobs.

Some of the most popular types of entry-level jobs for health and medicine majors include:

Health educator

As a health educator, you’ll brief people on behaviors that prevent diseases and promote wellbeing. From assisting with the development of health education programs to analyzing data, identifying the needs of a particular community and designing and implementing programs to increase awareness of existing healthcare policies, this role will give you the opportunity to educate people on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Registered nurse

As a registered nurse, you’ll work directly with physicians to assist with patient care and treatment. In this hands-on role, you’ll be responsible for everything from drawing blood for lab tests to administering medications and ensuring that patient records are accurate and up to date.

Assistant researcher

Healthcare research is always relevant and because of changing research methods, it’s a constantly-evolving field. If you decide to become a research assistant, you could work at a university, a healthcare organization, for a pharmaceutical company or even a nonprofit.

Physician assistant

A job as a physician assistant gives you training and insight into medicine-based professions. In this role, you’ll record patient histories, assist physicians in various capacities, prepare blood samples and enter patient information.

Medical transcriptionist

As a medical transcriptionist, you’ll transcribe medical records that are reported by physicians or other healthcare professionals. You’ll also develop relevant knowledge of medicine and medical terms. It’s an entry-level job that can prepare you for medical school or other healthcare-related opportunities.

Massage therapist

A certified massage therapist treats clients using massage modalities designed to relieve pain due to injury or stress. In this role, you’ll be responsible for helping clients achieve an overall sense of wellbeing and you’ll be able to work in a variety of settings including spas, clinics, at a physician’s office or a fitness center.

Occupational therapy assistant

For health and medicine majors looking to become occupational therapists, a good place to start out is as an occupational therapy assistant. In this position, you’ll provide therapy to patients and support therapists as they help those patients develop the skills required for daily functioning.

Dental assistant

As a dental assistant, you’ll assist dentists with dental procedures such as cleanings, X-rays and oral surgery. You’ll also contribute to the efficiency of the clinic and its procedures, and help patients feel at ease throughout the duration of their appointment.

School counselor

As a school counselor, you’ll help students navigate various challenges while also guiding them through their personal and social development. As a middle school counselor, you may offer academic guidance on which subjects to study while as a high school counselor you’ll be responsible for helping students apply to college.

Social worker

Social workers specializing in psychiatric treatment and mental health are often employed by nonprofits and hospitals. In this role, you’ll be responsible for assisting patients and their families with rehabilitation, helping them refine their interpersonal dynamics and work on achieving personal goals.

A health and medicine major is a wonderful way to build your skills and it can open the doors to a variety of entry-level opportunities. For those who are interested in going to medical school, these opportunities can also give you a sense of what a career in medicine truly entails.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Health and Medicine Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as the Top 10 Things You Should Look For In An Internship.