If you like helping people, enjoy using your hands, and want a career with flexibility, consider the field of massage therapy. Massage therapists manipulate the body's soft tissues and muscles, helping clients with everything from relaxation to injury recovery. As a masseuse, you could work anywhere from a private office to a hospital to a mall. Massage therapists need good people and communication skills, as well as stamina, since masseuses spend hours on their feet using their hands and arms to promote healing and relaxation for clients. Many massage therapists work part-time or own their own businesses, allowing for flexible hours.
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The Basics of a Massage Therapy Career
Most states require formal massage therapy training for aspiring masseuses. Some schools offer associate massage therapy degrees, and other schools offer massage therapy programs that lead to certification. In most states, massage therapy certification is required and is granted once the applicant passes either a state exam or one of following two national exams: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination. Massage therapy classes include anatomy, physiology, business management, and hands-on courses in massage techniques. Massage therapists can also earn a massage therapy certificate in a variety of sub-specialties, including lymphatic drainage, Swedish massage, reflexology, and Shiatsu.
Your salary will depend in part on whether you work full- or part-time, but the average salary for a massage therapist is $39,850. The field is expected to grow faster than the average between 2008 and 2018, meaning a very promising job outlook for those with the right training, drive, and business acumen.