Career Profile: Massage Therapist
There aren’t too many workplace environments quite as relaxing as the massage parlour or spa, with small running waterfalls, candles lit around the room, and a smiling Buddha. When people think of an ideal work environment and a perfect picture of relaxation, they often think of a space closely resembling a massage clinic. Being a massage therapist puts you in this environment every day – but it is not a pleasure cruise all the way through. The journey it takes to become a massage therapist and the work you have to put into your day-to-day work. This line of work requires that you have an in-depth understanding of the musculoskeletal system (the system in the body made of the muscles and the skeleton) to help tease out muscular knots, consult with patients to diagnose issues with their body so that you can begin to treat that pain, keep up with the latest research within the massage therapy industry, help patients understand what their ailments are and guide them on how they should and should not be stretching, as well as documenting the patient’s progress.
As a massage therapist, you can form relationships with clients through repeated appointments that can last a few minutes up to an hour. Most work part-time, though there are a handful of massage therapists that either work full-time or they begin their own practice in a clinic. As far as education goes, a student would need to complete a post-secondary school program that abides by the provincial guidelines established by the registered massage therapy organization. This program can range from 500 hours to 1,000 hours to complete depending on the program.
What are the perks of the job?
If you are passionate about helping people work out their bodily pains and issues, then the perks to a career in massage therapy can be obvious. As well, it can be a slow-stress occupation with a minimal amount of educational requirements before landing a position. The average $47,168 yearly salary (according to PayScale) is also somewhat close to the average Canadian salary of about $51,000 (according to Workopolis).
What are some of the setbacks?
The biggest setback is the fact that most massage therapist jobs are part-time and securing a full-time position can be difficult. Some massage therapists decide to start their own clinics, however, that requires business-building prowess and even then, it can still be difficult to get your own location off the ground.
How can I grow with this career?
Most massage therapists start out as a part-time practitioner, so there are a few paths to take in this career, whether it is through going full-time, developing your own business, or if you choose a specialization. Massage therapists can also take on certain specializations, such as a deep tissue massage therapist or become an expert in a certain style of physical therapy.
That’s all great, but could I be hired for other careers?
People trained in massage therapy can be eligible for other careers related to the musculoskeletal system, like taking on a career as an athletic trainer (as long as they received other job training), a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist. With an understanding in physical therapy and leading a healthy lifestyle, massage therapists can also transition to other careers within the health industry if they fulfill other educational and training program requirements.
CollegeGrad, “Massage Therapists”:
PayScale, “Average Registered Massage Therapist Hourly Pay”: https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Registered_Massage_Therapist/Hourly_Rate
MyPlan.com, “Massage Therapist: Job Description”: https://www.myplan.com/careers/massage-therapists/description-31-9011.00.html
Truity, “Massage Therapist Career Profile”: