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Oswego Career Ladders - Massage Therapist

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Massage Therapist

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Rehabilitation

The American Massage Therapy Association defines massage therapy as "a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques and may apply adjunctive therapies with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client."Therapeutic massage is often used for aid in recovery from injury, stress relief and relaxation, and as treatment for illness or pain. Techniques can be varied and specialized, but most commonly fall into several basic categories, such as Swedish, trigger point, neuromuscular, deep tissue and sports massage.

Work Settings

Massage therapists work in hospitals, chiropractic offices, health clubs, nursing homes, cruise ships, on site (in airports, at public events, etc.) and spas, among other places.


Since certification standards vary from state to state, people interested in becoming a qualified or licensed massage therapist should inquire about the requirements of the state in which they plan to practice. Passing the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks exam may be part of the qualifications, as well as others set by individual states licensing boards. To be eligible to take the NCBTMB test, therapists must complete 500 hours of formal training at an accredited school of massage or bodywork, or have an equivalent combination of academic courses and work experience.

Job Outlook

Analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2000 numbers projects that the massage therapy industry will grow faster than average through 2010.A September 2002 press release from the NCBTMB says the organization has seen a 25 percent rise in certifications every year since 1996.


According to the BLS, massage therapists' mean wages in 2001 were $15.93 per hour and $33,130 per year.

Work Schedule

Varies with the facility and with whether they are full- or part-time employees.

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