2016 Massage Therapist Salary and Career Advice

2016 Massage Therapist Salary and Career Advice

The average income earned by the massage therapists is very close to the lowest wages paid in the healthcare field, regardless of the country (USA, UK, Canada, Australia), state or region of employment.

In order to clarify the things, here are the mean annual values of the massage therapist salary corresponding to each of the above mentioned countries: in the USA it was $40,400 (in May 2016, as stated in www.bls.gov – US Bureau of Labor Statistics official website); in May 2016, according to www.payscale.com, in the UK it is £17,000 (i.e. about 20,000 USD), in Canada the average annual wage is 56,000 CAD (that is around 36,000 USD); according to www.open.edu.au, in Australia it is 47,000 AUD (approx. 31,000 USD).

Massage Therapist Salary Info

Despite the low level of this job’s income, there are some advantages of this occupation, which make it pretty attractive, if we take into account the job outlook (in the USA, it is 23%, which is much faster than the average for all jobs). In spite of the low level of the average salary, the persons practicing this job can get to earn a pretty satisfactory pay after many years of practice and after attracting a pretty rich and loyal clientele.

However, it’s almost impossible (especially if you are not self-employed) to earn a six-figure salary by working as a massage therapist. Anyway, since the demand for massage services is steadily increasing, this is a sign that the people begin to respect this occupation and to increasingly appreciate it and, as a consequence, the price paid for this type of services will increase; as a result, the salary will increase.

When discussing about the earnings of the massage therapists, it’s important to be aware of the fact that it’s very difficult to talk about an average value for their income, since many of them are self-employed. Moreover, most of them are paid per hour, and, since the number of clients usually varies pretty much from one month to another, it’s really difficult to make an estimation of the average massage therapist salary.

Anyway, here is what you will find if you read this article. First of all, you will discover a brief description of this occupation. Then, you will find what are the factors that affect the income earned by these healthcare workers and how they influence it (about some of these factors I talked in the previous paragraphs of this post).

When thinking about any type of salary, its value is meaningful only when comparing it with salaries of other occupations, especially those that are similar or related with the job that is being analyzed.

That’s why I decided to include in this article the average or the median wages of other medical occupations. In the final part of this article you will discover more details about this job’s wages paid in the USA.

Description of the Massage Therapist Job

Below you have an interview with a massage therapist, talking about this job and how he got here.


First of all, let’s see for what this healthcare worker receives his or her salary. Well, the main purpose of the massage therapists is to treat their clients by massaging them. More precisely, they use touch to manipulate the body’s muscles, soft tissues and joints.

Here is what they try to achieve by their massages: relieve pain and stress, promote relaxation and general wellness, improve circulation, etc. They typically use lotions and massage tables.

Despite the low level of the massage therapist income, this occupation’s outlook is very optimist (according to www.bls.gov, employment in this job is projected to grow 23% from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations), inclusively because the work environment is very calm and relaxed.

These therapists work in both private and public facilities, like hospitals, fitness centers, spas, clients’ homes or offices and even their own offices, when they are self-employed. In the great majority of states, these healthcare workers need to have a license or certification and also they must complete a post-secondary education program (through an accredited massage school) of more than 500 hours of study and practice; high school diploma is required for entering such a program.

What influences the Massage Therapist Salaries

The geographical location is an essential determinant for this type of salary, because some countries, states and regions offer higher incomes than others. The low level of education that is required for both entering the massage therapy programs and earning the right to practice this job might be one of the causes for the low level of average income.

The specialty is another influential element for this job’s pay; there are dozens of types and methods of massaging (e.g. Balinese massage, foot massage, medical massage, prostate massage, Traditional Chinese massage, etc.) and the prices for each type vary, depending on demand.

The type of employment sector also affects the income of the massage therapists – the wages paid in the private sector are greater than those offered in the public one. The employment industry is another element that may determine the level of this salary.

For example, in the USA, in May 2013, as mentioned on www.bls.gov, the specialty hospitals provided, for this occupation, an average annual massage therapist salary ($52,670) that is greater than the one provided in the offices of physicians ($50,610) and inferior to the one offered by the management of companies and enterprises ($53,130).

It seems that the experience level doesn’t influence these therapists’ wages so much. Instead, the number of loyal clients and their richness are essential factors of influence for the income earned by the massage therapists.

Average Massage Therapist Pay Compared with Other Jobs’ Wages

From www.bls.gov we find out that:

  • the average physical therapist salary was, in May 2013, in the United States, $82,180 per year, which is two times higher than the mean annual pay of the massage therapist;
  • the occupational therapist salary – $77,890 per year, on average – is another wage almost double than the pay analyzed in this article;
  • a similar income is the speech therapist salary: $73,970 per year, on average, in May 2013, in the USA;
  • the median personal trainer salary is around $55,000 per year, which is superior to the income of the massage therapist;
  • another superior pay is represented by the respiratory therapist salary, which was $57,880 per year, on average, in May 2013.

Massage Therapist Wages in USA

In the USA, in May 2013, as mentioned on www.bls.gov, the median massage therapist salary was $35,920 per year, which means $17.27 per hour. The annual wage for the top 10% of this occupation is greater than $71,020, while the yearly salary for the lowest 10% of this profession is lower than $18,280.

The “other ambulatory health care services” is the top paying industry for the massage therapy (in the USA, in May 2013), offering a mean annual wage of $55,700 for these medical workers. Alaska is the top paying state for this occupation: $88,500 per year, on average, for this healthcare job. Anchorage (AK) is the top paying metropolitan area for the massage therapists: $88,100 per year, on average.