A career as a Massage Therapist is VERY rewarding and it can lead to other progressive opportunities in the healthcare industry once you have GAIN enough experience over the years. As you WILL learn in this guide, you can upgrade your education and pivot into other relevant specialties leading to greater responsibilities, a higher salary, and benefits. Not to mention, it’s a career choice that’s HIGHLY in demand. In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the –

“Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

With that said,

To help you along in your journey, our Massage Therapist career guide explores areas such as educational requirements, roles, duties of a Massage Therapist, career paths to salaries, and a breakdown of the written and practical examinations.


Table of Contents

What Does A Massage Therapist Do?
Overview Of The Steps To Become A Massage Therapist (CHART)
Massage Therapist Educational Requirements And Prerequisites
Massage Therapist Continuing Education (CE) Requirements
Renewing Your Massage Therapist License
Understanding The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
How to Transfer Your Massage Therapist License to Another State
Massage Therapist Boards by State
Massage Therapist License Career Paths
Licensed Massage Therapist Salary
Massage Therapist Industry Statistics
Massage Therapist Industry Earning Potential by State
Massage Therapist Highest Paying US Cities
Choosing The BEST Massage Therapist Program For You
Search Massage Therapist Jobs In Your Area
Additional Resources


What Does A Massage Therapist Do?

As a Massage Therapist, you will have an ESSENTIAL role in treating clients for muscle pain and injuries by manipulating soft-tissue using your hands. For example, some clients MAY come to you to relieve pain, rehabilitate injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, and ask you to aid in their general wellness. A massage therapist will typically get paid for sessions lasting anywhere between thirty (30) minutes to one (1) hour. Not to mention, during the massage session, you MAY use lotions and oils and massage tables or chairs when treating a client. With that said,

Some of your duties MAY include:

Talking with clients and filling out detailed reports about their symptoms, medical history, and desired results.

Working with other massage therapists and doctors in a clinic

Evaluating clients to locate muscle injuries and areas of the body which MAY need additional medical evaluation

Manipulating muscles and other soft tissues of the body to heal injuries and provide relaxation

Educating clients on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve their posture

Documenting the client’s progress


Overview Of The Steps To Become A Massage Therapist (CHART)

 





Massage Therapist Educational Requirements And Prerequisites

Before you can become ELIGIBLE for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLex), you WILL need to SUCCESSFULLY meet the educational requirements. Currently, there are TWO (2) PATHWAYS for you to choose from’) to become licensed. With that said,

Let’s explore each PATHWAY below:

PATHWAY 1 – EDUCATION (ACCREDITED)

The candidate MUST SUCCESSFULLY graduate from an approved Massage Therapy education/training program. The program MUST be ACCREDITED or recognized by the STATE board/agency authorized to regulate Massage Therapy programs in the STATE where the school is located.

PLEASE NOTE: Each STATE does have a list of Massage Therapist programs that have been ACCREDITED and are acceptable. If the STATE massage therapy board/agency does not approve or recognize education programs, the candidate MUST have the educational program approval from the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).

You can find more information on how to become a Massage Therapist in your STATE here – STATE Board of Massage Therapy.

PATHWAY 2 – APPRENTICESHIP

A candidate can also qualify for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLex) by completing an apprenticeship. However, it is ESSENTIAL to check with your – STATE Board of Massage Therapy to verify that it will consider your apprenticeship training acceptable for licensing BEFORE you apply to take the MBLEx.

If the candidate wishes to APPLY for the MBLEx through apprenticeship training, they will be required to have their mentor submit training and education records, verifying that the applicant has MET sufficient requirements to write the MBLEx examination.


Massage Therapist Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

Once you have SUCCESSFULLY obtained your Massage and Bodywork license, you WILL need to complete the continuing education (CE) requirements to maintain your license. Some STATE’s do require Licensed Massage Therapists to complete in-class credits/courses, while some STATE’s accept on the job training sufficient enough for your license to be renewed. With that said,

Each STATE does have it’s own continuing education (CE) requirements, so please VISIT your STATE Board of Massage Therapy.


Renewing Your Massage Therapist License

As just mentioned above, you can RENEW your license by completing your STATE’s Massage Therapists continuing education (CE) requirements.

Please read section – Massage Therapist Continuing Education (CE) Requirements





Understanding The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)

After you have fulfilled the Massage Therapist Educational Requirements And Prerequisites, you will NOW be ELIGIBLE to sit the MBLEx examination. To become FULLY licensed, you will have to SUCCESSFULLY PASS the exam as per the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards scoring requirements.

In this section, we will explore the examination structure, registration, scoring, etc

STRUCTURE

The MBLEX examination consists of 100 questions and candidates will have 110 minutes to complete the examination. Candidates who DO NOT COMPLETE ALL 100 ITEMS will fail the exam.

The examination will be administered using Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). View video here – Computer Adaptive Testing Explainer

You can view the outline of the MBLEx examination here – Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam Content.

REGISTRATION

Start by creating an FSMTB Account.

Once the FSMTB receives the application, payment, and education verification, the completed application will be processed within five (5) business days.

Once the application has been approved, the FSMTB will issue an Authorization to Test (ATT) number so that the candidate can schedule their exam. Exam MUST be written within ninety (90) days.

The candidate may schedule online or call toll-free, selecting the date, time, and test center location. The MBLEX examination is administered through Pearson VUE.

SCORING

Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards scoring policy –

“Examination results are reported as PASS or FAIL to indicate a candidate has demonstrated the knowledge required to meet entry-level standards of competence as defined by the profession.” – fsmtb.org

With that said,

The criteria in which the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) determines if a candidate PASSES or FAILS the licensing examination is based on the number of questions answered correctly. This examination results MUST show that the candidate has an acceptable level of competence required for the safe and effective practice of massage/bodywork.

PLEASE NOTE: The candidate will receive their unofficial examination results immediately after completing the examination.

PREPARATORY MATERIALS



How to Transfer Your Massage Therapist License to Another State

You MAY BE eligible to transfer your out-of-state Massage Therapist license through Reciprocity. Each STATE will have different requirements when accepting out-of-state Massage Therapist license. Therefore, we recommend that you visit your STATE Board of Massage Therapy to find out more about the “Reciprocity” option.


Massage Therapist Boards by State

Alaska | Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | KentuckyLouisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana |
| NebraskaNevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming |


Massage Therapist License Career Paths

Once you have become a Licensed Massage Therapist and have GAINED relevant experience, you WILL have the opportunity to transition into SPECIFIC specialties. Each one of these specialties come with GREATER responsibilities and a more diverse skillset. Not to mention, the upside to transitioning into a specialty is that you WILL be rewarded with HIGHER SALARY and more comprehensive benefits. With that said,

Let’s EXPLORE some of the CAREER paths available to you as a Massage Therapist –

Athletic Trainers: Once you have GAINED enough experience as a Massage Therapist, you can upgrade your education to become an “athletic trainer. Your training as a Massage Therapist provides you the skills and knowledge required to treat injuries that occurred on a sports field. You will be required to OBTAIN your BACHELOR’S degree; however, your EXPERIENCE as a Massage Therapist will be an asset when applying to training programs and job opportunities afterward. As an Athletic Trainer, you will enjoy a BASE salary of approx. $47,046 per year, depending on experience.

Physical Therapists: As a Massage Therapist, you can transition into becoming a Physical Therapist. You will need to OBTAIN your Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, and this EDUCATIONAL training program does take three (3) years to complete. Not to mention, graduates must also pass their state’s licensing examination before they’re permitted to practice. The experience and knowledge you have GAINED working as a Massage Therapist will be an asset when applying for Physical Therapy (DPT) degree training programs. The EXPERIENCE will also be valuable when applying for job opportunities afterward. As a Physical Therapist, you will enjoy a BASE salary of approx—$82,918 per year, depending on experience.

Self Employment: As a Massage Therapist, you will have the opportunity to go into private practice for yourself. You can contract your services to private companies, SPA’s, nursing homes, gyms, chiropractor offices, and more. As a self-employed Massage Therapist, you will have the opportunity to set your hourly rate depending on your demand with clients.





Licensed Massage Therapist Salary

The average annual Massage Therapist salary is $44,256, with the average hourly pay being $30.07.

Figures are reflective as of January 2021 (Indeed.com)


Massage Therapist Industry Statistics

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Massage Therapist Industry Earning Potential by State

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Massage Therapist Highest Paying US Cities

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Choosing The BEST Massage Therapist Program For You

When you have decided to become a Licensed Massage Therapist, it’s time to choose an ACCREDITED training program that WILL prepare you for the CERTIFICATION exam. Massage Therapist programs that have been ACCREDITED by the FSMTB have a curriculum that will NOT only provide you with the right foundation to PASS the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLex), but excel in your career also. With that said, here are a few factors to consider when choosing a training program:

1) Has the Massage Therapist program been VERIFIED/ACCREDITED by the FSMTB?

To be ELIGIBLE to write the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLex), it’s ESSENTIAL to graduate from an approved training program. Hence, before attending any Massage Therapist program, you should do your research to ensure that it meets the FSMTB requirements and standards. Attending a NON-ACCREDITED Massage Therapist program will NOT provide you with the foundation, skills, and knowledge you need to successfully perform your job and WILL make you INELIGIBLE for the written/practical examinations.

2) Are there any applicable student reviews/ratings about the Massage Therapist Program Offered?

Before accepting an offer to any Massage Therapist training program, it’s IMPORTANT to do your due diligence about the school’s quality of education. You are investing in your future, so you should only attend those programs that you feel will be an asset in your success as a Massage Therapist. Doing a quick search in Google will provide comprehensive reviews from previous and current students. There are also online communities available where you may find some useful reviews too. Next,

Once you have narrowed down your list of Massage Therapist programs that align with your future GOALs, we recommend visiting each one to speak directly with current students enrolled in the program. They will be able to provide you additional feedback about the pros and cons of the program. At the same time, you CAN speak to the Massage Therapist program director so they can answer any questions you have.

3) Where is the Massage Therapist program located?

Some quality Massage Therapist programs may be located out of STATE, so consider your priorities before deciding. For example, if you have a local job, a family that needs care, or other responsibilities at home, an out-of-STATE training program will NOT be advisable. Not to mention, the added cost of attending an out-of-STATE program will be higher too. With that said, we encourage you to consider your responsibilities/flexibility before accepting out-of-STATE Massage Therapy program.. Even though these programs MAYBE offer a higher quality of education than some local schools, they will also COST more too, and MAY NOT give you the same flexibility you have as attending a local program.

4) Will the Massage Therapist training program offer opportunities to transition into other progressive roles or further education?

Some Massage Therapist training schools offer you a bridge option so you can transition into other jobs within your niche. Bridge programs provide you an opportunity to transition from one job to another within the same industry. So, before deciding on a Massage Therapist training program, it’s ESSENTIAL to think about your long-term CAREER GOALS, and if you are planning on upgrading your license/education in the future. With that said, select a Massage Therapist school that will also allow you to upgrade your education by offering you a bridge training program after receiving your initial license/certification. You MAY also want to attend a Massage Therapist program/school that will help you find job opportunities after you graduate.


Search Massage Therapist Jobs In Your Area



Additional Resources

How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician – A Complete Guide
How to Become A Security Guard – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Phlebotomist – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant – A Complete Guide
How To Become A Respiratory Therapist – A Complete Guide

 



Author: careercrawlers

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