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What Jobs Are Available with a Massage Therapy Certification?

Imagine your life ten years from now. What are you doing for work? Where are you living? What in your life makes you happy?

And what, if anything, are you doing right now to reach that lifestyle?

Many people have big dreams that they don’t take a chance on and then later wish that they had. Becoming a certified massage therapist will open the door to whatever lifestyle suits you.

The best part is that you won’t have to wait 10 years to make that dream come true! You can graduate as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) in just two years and then you can choose what comes next.

Here are a few of the ways massage therapists make a living on their own terms after graduating from massage therapy school.

Self-Employment versus Employee

Self-employed massage therapists can:

  • Work in various capacities, including sports therapy, on cruise ships, private spas, and in client homes
  • Incur expenses like rent, liability insurance, and laundry services
  • Take about three weeks of (unpaid) vacations, holidays, and sick days
  • Earn an average of $80 per hour
  • Work between 15 to 30 hours per week

Average self-employed massage therapist annual salary: $60,000-$100,000

As an employee of a massage therapy business, you will:

  • Work with a team of massage therapists
  • Earn a flat rate per hours worked, plus tips
  • Typically receive paid time off and medical benefits

Average massage therapist salary for employees: $45,000

Registered Massage Therapist Jobs

Massage therapists can work in many different capacities, from spas and massage therapy businesses to traveling on a cruise ship or with a sports team. Once you’ve decided whether you want to be self-employed or an employee, you can let your values and goals determine what massage therapist job fits you.

The most popular jobs for registered massage therapists are typically hospitals, spas, and sports therapy.


When you work as a massage therapist in a hospital, you will help patients with pain management, mobility, stress and anxiety, sleep issues, and relieve a feeling of isolation for those with longer stays. As a massage therapist in a hospital setting, you’ll be part of the patient care team, collaborating with nurses and other medical professionals to ensure optimum patient health.

As this AAMTA article points out, massage therapists who work in hospitals should have a high degree of patience and empathy for their clients as most people in the hospital are experiencing a low point. Many massage therapists are a source of relief and hope for patients experiencing pain and difficulty and that can be extremely rewarding.

Sports Therapy

Massage with athletes can be incredibly powerful work. You’ll ensure that top performers continue their careers as long as they can, and get people to get back on their feet after injuries. Olympian Scott Hamilton went so far as to say that his massage therapist added three years to his career as a figure skater!

Working as a massage therapist for sports teams can mean travel and often works well for people who want to be on the go and explore different places. You can also do sports therapy from one location and see athletes when they are in town.

Private Spas and Resorts

If you want to build your experience and hours quickly, hospitals and spas are great places to start just out of massage therapy school. Sometimes massage therapists have access to the spa or resort amenities, and you will usually build rapport with clients who may come back again and again for your services. You can often have the option of being hired as a subcontractor or an employee and choose what fits your lifestyle and needs.

Cruise Ships

Working on a cruise ship gives you the chance to travel the world and get paid to do it. Certified massage therapists can hike through the Dolomites on the weekend and earn a living as a massage therapist during their on days. Unlike many staff on a cruise ship, massage therapists usually have more flexibility in determining their schedules and therefore more autonomy, although you should be prepared to perform at least four sessions back-to-back, as a seasoned cruise ship massage therapist.

Self-Employment or Owning a Business

The possibility of working for yourself as a contractor or business owner may be the biggest draw if you wish to travel, maintain hobbies or existing careers, or raise a family while earning an income as a massage therapist. Most massage therapists who work for themselves need to develop a client base after massage therapy school and build slowly while working part-time in another massage therapy role or another job, so keep that in mind if you choose this route.

What’s Next?

You may be living quietly in beach house on Vancouver Island. You may be traveling the world and not settling in one spot for more than a month. You may be living in a blossoming suburban town, spending half your day with your children or grandchildren and only working when you need to.

Whatever your dream is, picture it in all of its specifics and fullness. Now, take that dream and give yourself a way to make it a reality!

If you’re ready to take a step toward your dream life, book a tour at MaKami College today.

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