Therapeutic Massage Technician: Salary, Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a therapeutic massage technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Therapeutic massage technicians work in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, providing massage and relaxation techniques to clients with injuries or diseases. This career requires a high school diploma and completion of a specialized training program. Some states also require licensing and certification.

Required Education Certificate, associate's degree or training program
Licensing and Certification Mandatory in most states; certification exam proctored by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) used by many states
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 23% for massage therapists
Median Salary (2013)* $35,920 for massage therapists

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for Therapeutic Massage Technicians

Salaries for massage technicians vary a great deal depending on the amount of training and the certification and licensing the technician has obtained. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary earned by massage therapists was $35,920 in May 2013, although the top 10% of earners in the profession earned $71,020 or more a year. Additionally, the BLS projected employment growth for massage therapists will be faster than average at 23% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).

Therapeutic Massage Technicians Job Description

Therapeutic massage technicians use their hands to manipulate the body's soft tissues and muscles, especially for those with chronic complaints or injuries. Therapeutic massage technicians work with clients to relieve pain, rehabilitate a sports injury, or reduce stress. They also interview clients to evaluate and determine a set course of massage treatment including beneficial techniques and desired results.

Common work settings include hospitals, chiropractic offices, rehabilitation centers, gyms, and sports medicine centers. A therapeutic massage technician might have a private office, work from home, or meet his or her clients at their homes or offices. Massage is a physically demanding job, which often requires the technician to stand for long periods. Because it can be tiring, many massage technicians work less than forty hours a week.

Job Requirements for Therapeutic Massage Technicians

Education Requirements

Certificate, training, and associate's degree programs are available for therapeutic massage technician. They often require a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. In addition to hands-on instruction, massage therapy programs offer instruction in the following:

  • Human anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Ethics
  • Business management

Certification and Licensing

The certification authority for massage technicians is the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). To be certified by the NCMTMB, applicants must complete 500 hours of instruction, pass an exam, and take a pledge to uphold the NCBTMB's code of ethics.

Licensing laws affecting therapeutic massage technicians vary by state, but at least 44 states had laws regulating massage therapy in some way as of 2013 (www.bls.gov). Completing a massage therapy program is a prerequisite for earning a license in some states. State regulations may require a therapeutic massage technician's license to be renewed annually, sometimes with the additional requirement of continuing education courses.

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