Massage is a strong and growing industry, as shown by recent numbers from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). If you’re considering working toward your massage certification or license (according to state requirements), it may behoove you to read the following facts about the average massage therapist, according to the AMTA’s Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet.

Massage Therapy: A Strong Industry

The massage therapy trade took in $18 billion in 2018. Between 19% and 28% of the American adult population had at least one massage from July 2017 to July 2018. Growth in the massage therapy industry is expected to grow 1.9% per year through the year 2024.

This robust industry provides wages to thousands of massage therapists. Let’s look at the average LMT’s income and weekly workload.

Earnings in the Massage Therapy Profession

Licensed massage therapists charge an average of $72.23 for one hour of massage, up from $71.64 in 2015. When all massage-related work is factored in, LMTs earn an average of $58 per hour. (This figure includes time spent on changing sheets, charging insurance, marketing services, and so forth.) Of course, these figure represent an average of all LMTs across the country, and include both self-employed LMTs and those who are employees.  Depending on the specific geographic location and the type of employment setting, earnings could be higher or lower.

Given that massage therapy is a second career for the vast majority of LMTs (80%), it’s not surprising that most don’t work a full 40-hour work week. On average, LMTs work 26.6 hours per week, an increase over 24.2 hours in 2017. Many therapists (45%) earn additional income in another profession.

Portrait of Massage Therapists

Massage therapists are not easy to pigeon-hole. However, the AMTA has provided a portrait of the average therapist. Today’s LMT tends to be:

  • A total of 88% of therapists are women.
  • Sole practitioners who are heavily reliant on repeat clients.
  • Mid-aged. The median age across all LMTs is 44. Still, there are plenty of spring chickens in the profession—22% were younger than 35 years of age in 2018.

Finally, modern LMTs working in a multitude of settings, from cruise lines to stadium sidelines, and from hospice facilities to corporate settings. To break down where LMTs work, 59% work in clients’ homes/offices, 42% work from their own therapy office, 29% provide massage out of their homes, 23% work in a health care setting, and 23% work in spas. Health clubs/athletic facilities and massage franchises and are other locations where today’s LMTs work.

While these figures indicate an average across the massage profession, keep in mind that each therapist has a unique life story of how they arrived at their current career. Self-knowledge is invaluable when embarking on a new profession. Before applying to accredited massage schools and earning your massage therapist license, it’s a good idea to envision your future. The more dreaming and planning you do now, the better your aim toward a successful future in massage therapy. While selecting classes, learning techniques, and working with clients in clinic, your own preferences will be your rudder. The East West College admissions website is a great resource.

The key shared characteristic among all LMTs is that they are passionate about helping others. Here at East West College, our passion is helping tomorrow’s massage therapists prepare for rewarding careers in the healing arts. As one of the leading accredited massage schools on the west coast, we have been empowering students in the art and science of massage since 1972. To learn more about our campus, facilities, curriculum, and faculty, call us at 503-233-6500 and schedule an appointment with our friendly admissions team.