It occurred to me that many people do not understand much about the massage profession or where massage therapists can work once they are certified and licensed.
I know many of you who visit this blog are frequent clients of FBSM and massage therapists.
However, being a client of massage therapy does not really qualify you for the ins and outs of what a massage therapist deals with in the massage industry.
Two of the most common businesses where massage therapists can work, is a day spa or some type of clinical setting.
Clinical settings can include physiotherapy and chiropractic offices, but they can also be gyms, wellness centers, medical offices, hair or nail salons, mobile chair massage in offices and even cruise ships.
Of course, there is always starting your own private practice as well.
According to national statistics, the personal care field, like day spas and hair salons are where massage therapists can work predominantly (especially if they are new to the industry) end up working.
The next biggest field are healthcare related. Which would be the physio and chiro office and the like.
This field though tends to demand a much higher knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, as well as, contraindications and indications of injury and disease. You’ll need to converse with medically trained staff to perform your job effectively.
Medical fields have their own language as well as, their own challenges. As a massage therapist, you need to be very knowledge about in these areas. Additionally, the places where massage therapists can work in the healthcare field tend to specialize with the TYPE of client/patient they work with.
Many Options – Which One Is For You?
The number of options for a certified and licensed massage therapist is quite a bit. Finding the right place for you is really the key for long term career enjoyment and stability.
Working in a Day Spa or Salon
Spas are among the most popular places to go for massage and as a massage therapist wondering where you can work, this is a great place to start. Especially if you are young and new to the field of massage.
Because although a day spa or salon can seem like a gentle and leisurely place to work the schedule can be fast-paced.
Spas make their money when clients are in a therapy room having a service performed by one of their professionals. Whether that’s a cosmetology service, hair cut and color or massage therapy.
So the booking arrangements offer very little time for rest in between clients. Sometimes all you can do is wash your hands and get to the next client.
I know this, as I worked as a massage therapist for over 20 years. I’ve been employed at spas, clinics and had my own practice as well.
So although the spa environment is very pleasing and geared toward serenity, you as the massage therapist will be working quite hard.
You’ll need to know how to protect your body and replenish your energy. If you don’t you will be on the road to injury and burn out very fast.
I read a statistic several years ago that said most massage therapist leaves the industry entirely within 5 YEARS of getting their license and certification.
That’s not a long time in a career to spend the kind of time and money you need to to become a massage therapist.
Massage Therapists As Sales People
Additionally, at a spa, you will probably be expected to do some up selling as well.
However, if you are someone who is a good talker and natural salesperson, this can add to your income.
Most spas and salons will give you some type of commission on whatever your massage client buys. This could be on the other services and/or the products the spa offers that you recommended.
Your experience may vary a good deal, depending on the type of spa you are employed at. Sometimes you will be an actual employee of the spa. Sometimes you may be brought on as a 1099 independent agent or freelancer.
This is most often due to insurance concerns. Some businesses have certain types of insurance that cover EITHER employees OR independent freelancers, but not both.
This is due to the fact that most insurance companies offer this as two different policies which is more expensive for the employer.
This is something to keep in mind when you are thinking about where massage therapists can work.
What About Franchises & Medical Spas?
Medical spas are the fastest growing segment of franchises, though they still account for less than 10% of spas overall.
A medical spa typically offers services that require medical supervision and licensing with a focus on cosmetic treatments.
The clientele at medical spas are looking for long-term results in their appearance and less so on short term relaxation and a soothing spa atmosphere. These businesses are more clinical in nature.
Take Into Consideration… Geography
You probably are not aware that some geographic areas employ far more massage therapists than others.
The states with the highest massage therapy employment per capita are;
Within states, too, there can be a lot of variation.
Government reports state that the metropolitan area with the most massage therapists per 1,000 — by far – is Napa, California.
Runners up include;
Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey
Frankly, I’m surprised New York isn’t in there. I worked in NYC as a sensual massage therapist for a number of years and it was all over the city.
Anyway, it’s true that big cities have more places where massage therapists can work, but they also have more potential clients and places that are hiring.
I hope this article has given you some insight as to where massage therapists can work and more about the industry as a whole.
Enjoy your next massage and if you are newly certified and licensed then all the best in your new career!
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