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Professional Masseur: Job Description & Career Requirements

A masseur, or massage therapist, performs specialized techniques that help relax and manipulate muscles. Masseurs work in a variety of fields, and they include sports medicine, reflexology and aromatherapy. Read on to find out more about this occupation.

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Career Definition

Masseurs help clients with pain, stress and physical ailments by massaging and kneading muscles and soft tissues, in order to help their clients relax their bodies. Masseurs will also advise clients on relaxation techniques to help prevent muscle problems and relieve stress. Masseurs study a client's physical history and prepare and apply oils to the client's skin in order to improve the massage experience.

How to Become a Masseur

Education Required

Training and certification are required if you want to have a career as a masseur. Training programs are available at some technical schools and many community colleges. Certification programs take about one year to complete. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, you need to pass either the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage to become certified and practice.

Skills Required

A masseur must understand how the body's muscles interact with one another and know how to treat specific body parts. A masseur works on a one-on-one basis with clients, so interpersonal skills and professionalism are essential. Many masseurs are self-employed and need to understand money management and have business skills.

Economic and Career Outlook

Masseurs can find employment opportunities in spas, hotels and fitness centers. The BLS predicted much faster than average employment growth of 23% for massage therapists from 2012-2022. Many masseurs are self-employed and need to have the ability to build a client base for consistent success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, the median hourly wage for a massage therapist in May 2012 was $17.29.

Alternate Career Options

Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide

While assistants normally earn associate's degrees in physical therapy, aides usually enter the profession with a high school diploma and gain their training while on the job. Working under the supervision of physical therapists, these professionals work with patients recovering from surgeries, illnesses or injuries. Many job opportunities were anticipated from 2012-2022, with much faster than average growth of 41% predicted by the BLS. In 2012, physical therapist assistants earned an average hourly salary of $25.15, while aides took home $12.22 per hour, on average, per the BLS.

Athletic Trainer

Needing at least a bachelor's degree in athletic training, in addition to a certification or license in most states, these trainers work with people of all ages in the prevention and treatment of muscle or bone illnesses or injuries. Faster than average employment growth of 19% was projected by the BLS for the 2012-2022 decade. These trainers, according to the BLS in 2012, earned an average yearly wage of $44,010.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics