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What are the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Massage Therapist?

Two MaKami College students beginning their massage therapy careers with hands-on massage training

Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) are in growing demand and people from nurses to other various backgrounds are finding success in massage therapy careers. You may be asking yourself questions, such as: Is massage therapy a good career? How much do massage therapists make? or Is there a demand for massage therapists in Alberta? We’ll answer all those questions and more to help you decide if a massage therapy career is the right fit for you. Discover the reasons certified massage therapists are excited to show up to work every day as well as the challenges RMTs can expect.

What is a Massage Therapist?

In provinces where massage therapy is not regulated, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, therapists are more commonly referred to as Licensed Massage Therapists or Certified Massage Therapists. 

However, in some Canadian provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, the massage therapy industry is regulated by the province. In these provinces, massage therapists must meet certain criteria and be registered with their regulatory body in order to work in the industry. These therapists are professionally referred to as Registered Massage Therapists. 

Massage therapists help improve the well-being of clients by providing massage therapy services to clients in a variety of job settings. Popular places where massage therapists work are spas and resorts, sports therapy, and hospitals. Other massage therapists work on cruise ships or start there own massage business where they can travel to others. Massage therapists may specialize in a particular massage technique such as sports massage or they may provide a variety of massage services tailored for each client.

The Pros of Becoming a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists get into the profession for a variety of reasons. From earnings potential to flexibility to working with people, there are many pros of becoming of a massage therapist. Many find helping others feel better makes massage therapy a rewarding career. Let’s dive into the many reasons why many have chosen massage therapy as a career.

Earn what you’re worth

When you work your way through a massage therapy school and earn a massage therapy certification, you deserve to be compensated for your skills. Like many people who enter the field of massage therapy, you are probably a naturally helpful person who has gone above and beyond in your current lifestyle as a nurse, personal trainer, parent, or friend.

Depending on your choice to become an entrepreneur and work for yourself, or to start your career working with an existing massage business as a certified massage therapist, your kindness, patience, empathy, and intuitiveness in will be reflected in your tips, referrals, or bonuses.

So, how much does a massage therapist make?

Massage therapy salaries vary widely depending on location, type of business, and hours worked. Self-employed massage therapists typically earn up to $80 per hour, or between $60,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on how many hours they choose to work. Massage therapists who earn an hourly wage as an employee tend to earn around $32 per hour, according to PayScale.com. Learn more about what massage therapists make in Alberta and nationwide.

Many men and women have successful careers in massage therapy in a variety of settings. Regardless of where you end up seeing clients, earning more for your natural attributes is an attractive aspect of massage therapy for many RMTs.

Work right away

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for massage therapists is expected to grow about 26 percent by 2026 and we expect to see similar growth here in Canada, particularly in Alberta. As an RMT, you will be able to work for yourself or as an employee immediately after graduating from massage therapy school.

Enjoy a flexible schedule

A massage therapy career provides a flexible schedule to accommodate your existing roles as a parent or caregiver or maintain your current career in nursing, the service industry, or balance your family and education. If you are a younger person or in a life transition period, your career in massage therapy will support you to attend school, train for another career, or simply take time to pursue your hobbies.

Choose your work environment

Imagine hand-picking the people you work with all day so you have an environment that fits your personality and values, plus clients who are drawn to you and your colleagues. As a certified massage therapist, you can have your dream job. By earning your massage therapist certification, you get to pick whether stability and paid time off are more valuable to you right now or if you’d rather take a risk for a higher reward in potential earnings as a self-employed massage therapist. You can also have hybrid options, such as subcontracting with a chiropractic office.

Travel

Imagine as a massage therapist that you could travel the world for free while working! Float down the River Seine and eat dinner in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower without spending a dime on travel. Book weekend a tour of Chiang Mai or hike Macchu Picchu on a whim. This is the benefit of working on a cruise ship or contracting with spas all over the world as a Registered Massage Therapist.

The Cons of Becoming a Massage Therapist

Any downsides of becoming a certified massage therapist are usually far outweighed by the incredible benefits that you have in scheduling flexibility, travel, and earning potential. However, massage therapy isn’t for everybody.

Here are the main considerations you should know about when deciding if becoming a massage therapist is right for you.

It can be hard on your body

Working with your hands day in and day out along with constant physical demands of massage can lead to some negative health consequences, especially if you haven’t received adequate training in caring for your own body as a massage therapist.

Your hours are limited

There are only so many hours in a day and you might not want to work overtime in this physically-demanding line of work. Most massage therapists work between 15 to 30 hours per week and recognize that hours are limited to what each person is physically and mentally capable of handling.

You may encounter a difficult work environment

As in any work environment where you are an employee, the work environment may prove stressful by way of difficult coworkers and bosses whose personalities clash with their own. Thankfully, certified massage therapists have the option to find work elsewhere, to interview with different kinds of companies, and to work for themselves as contractors or self-employed massage therapists.

You can find an environment that fits you because massage therapists are in high demand, particularly if you have a degree from a well-known and respected massage school.

You might work with challenging clients

Every now and then clients who choose you as a massage therapist will prove to be challenging, demanding, or otherwise unsavory. All massage therapy schools should train you on how to set boundaries and create a safe and enjoyable environment for you and your clients.

The good news is that most massage therapists find a way to manage any challenges with clients or otherwise and create a career that they love.

Choosing to Become a Certified Massage Therapist

You will have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and determine when you want to start a massage therapy career that gives you flexibility, a high earning potential, and perks like travel and choosing your coworkers.

If you want to find out how to become a massage therapist today, click here to learn more and book a tour of MaKami College!

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