The American Massage Therapy Association estimates that there are more than 300,000 massage therapists and students in the US. Why are so many Americans attracted to a massage therapy career? Well, for one thing, it’s reliably in demand. The US Bureau of Labor statistics predicts a 23% increase in employment of massage therapists through 2022. Flexibility is another big attraction; many massage therapists are self-employed, so they get to set their own hours. The myriad applications of massage are also appealing.  In this blog we’re taking a look at the many areas where a massage therapist can work.

With a massage certification, you might end up working at a spa, hospital, gym, hotel, or even on a cruise ship!

Massage Careers: Applications of a Massage Therapy Certification

Sports Massage. Help athletes achieve by keeping their bodies in good working order. Sports massage therapists may work in gyms, at outdoor sporting events, in convention centers (for events such as the national track championship), training rooms, hotel rooms, and offices.

Self-Employed Contract Massage. Many massage therapists are independent contractors, meaning that they pick up work from a variety of sources. For instance, a “freelance” massage therapist may combine contract work at a spa with his or her own growing roster of massage clients. With enough persistence, massage therapists can build up full-time practices of their own, with personal office space and incredible flexibility. (“Full-time” is considered 17 massage appointments per week—the rest of a therapist’s time is taken up with booking appointments, tracking down payment, and other administrative work.)

Spa & Salon Massage. A luxurious, peaceful working environment with clients who appreciate the importance of self-care—this is what massage therapists can expect when working in spas and salons.

Prenatal, Postnatal, and Infant Massage. If you love being in contact with the miracle of life, perhaps working with pregnant women and their new babies would be a perfect career path for you!

Animal Massage. Animals get stiff muscles too! Equine, feline, and canine massage are gaining popularity, and animal lover massage therapists can find incredible satisfaction in keeping animals healthy.

Massage in Resorts and Hotels. The hospitality field is chock-full of opportunities for massage therapists. With different travelers from all over the world craving massages, resort massage therapy is rewarding for those who like to work with a rotating international clientele. There are also incredible travel opportunities for therapists working in the resort industry. You may be hired to travel with a cruise ship, for instance, and deliver massage to cruise ship passengers.

Hospital and Medical Office Massage. Working in hospitals affords therapists the opportunity to serve a wide variety of patients. Because you may be working with people who have quite serious illnesses, the emotional component of the job can be intense. However, the up side is that massage therapists working in hospitals can make an enormous difference by providing loving, healing touch exactly when it is needed most. Therapists can also work in medical offices, including chiropractic offices, holistic medicine groups, and medi-spas. In such settings, they will partner with other healing professionals to deliver well-rounded care.

Corporate Massage. Increasing numbers of employers recognize that stress is counterproductive. As such, they may hire massage therapists to deliver anti-stress massage periodically. Typically, the therapist brings a table or massage chair, and employees stay clothed for shorter mid-workday massage sessions.

In general, massage is an excellent career for anyone who loves helping others. Accredited massage schools such as East West College of the Healing Arts can help students learn about various types of massage, and how they can be applied in different settings. Once you become a massage therapist, your own interests and background can help you decide which arena best suits you.