Massage Jobs come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Just like any other career your ability to get a job in massage will depend on how well you are able to promote your skills and abilities to potential massage employers. Jobs are a fairly recent occurrence in the massage profession with the opening of many massage franchises. The thing is that these jobs are entry level positions and are low paying. They are geared toward people who are just looking for part time work and usually have some other means of support. Massage employers also are just learning about working with massage therapists as employees so they often do not understand what it takes to run a successful massage business.
To create or find a higher paying job you have to take the time to research the field and also discover your Ideal Job in Massage. Hopefully you have come into the massage profession because of your passion for doing massage and helping others. With that intention you will have a better chance of success. If you are just looking for a job where you can just get by and not have to do anything, you will be able to find jobs but you will most likely be unfulfilled and unchallenged.
Since jobs today are not about finding security because nothing is a sure thing these days, it is more important to choose a career and find a job in something that you are passionate about and can engage yourself in to find meaning and rewards including financial, spiritual, mental and emotional rewards.
Discovering your ideal job is a process of doing your research and being able to wait for your ideal job or if you need to – just take a low paying job until you can find or create your ideal massage job.
An ideal job will look something like this:
- Pays $45 an hour or more and pays you that whether or not you have a client or not
- Provides benefits in the way of vacation pay, profit sharing or other incentives, sick pay, pays for continuing education and training and holidays
- Considers you a part of the team and treats you as such working with you to build a massage client base and secure rebooking clients.
- Provides peer supervision groups or individual supervision sessions to help you deal with the every day goings on in dealing with clients and improving your communication skills and boundaries around transference and countertransference issues.
You can find or create your ideal massage job at some of the following types of businesses:
- Spa, Day Spas, Destination Spas, Medical Spas
- Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Physical Therapists, Doctors
- Cruise ships, yachts
- Hospitals, Hospice Care, Assisted Living Communities
- Airports, Convention Centers, Visitors Bureaus
- Truck Stops, Street Fairs,
- Corporate Chair Massage
- Health clubs, gyms, professional sports teams (sports massage therapist)
- Hotels and Resorts
- Equestrian Events, Dog shows, Horse Race tracks (for animal massage and people massage too!)
My Massage Job Guide will help you in finding or creating your dream job in massage. You don’t have to settle for low paying jobs when you know how to approach the job market with your skills as a massage therapist. Most massage therapists just randomly look for jobs wandering from place to place asking “do you have a job for me”. In today’s competitive world you will need to be clearer about what type of job you want and what you will do for the potential employer to make their business grow! Find out more in the Massage Job Guide which is Free!
Pros and cons of working as a massage therapist
Jobs in massage therapy are more available today than ever in history. When I first started in 1989, there weren’t many jobs at all even in Seattle where I started. Most massage therapists actually start their own business and that is still true today. Many of the massage schools will lure you in with the promise of the many jobs waiting for you at graduation. They don’t tell you that starting salaries for massage therapists are $12 an hour in many places. They don’t tell you that when you don’t have a client, you might just get paid minimum wage or may not be paid at all for that hour.
Your income is also limited by the number of massages you can do in one day. Most massage therapists can only do about 4-6 massages a day because of the physical demands of the work. Even if you start your own business, you are limited to working with one person at a time and for a limited amount each day/week. In that way, massage jobs/careers in massage are not really a good business model. You are better off buying a massage franchise or starting your own spa/clinic where you hire massage therapists to work for you.
On the plus side is the fact that there are more jobs and jobs are a good way to get experience and have an income while you save to start your own business. Many massage schools are connected with the massage franchises and teaching a program that is geared toward getting a job in one of these places. The massage profession is very conflicted about the many low cost massage franchises. They are often referred to as the Walmarts of the massage profession. The low pay and difficult working conditions are hard on your body. When you can’t make a living, it is hard to take care of yourself physically which is very important in this profession because of the high risk of injury and burnout.
Of course each place that hires massage therapists is different. Even the large massage franchises have different owners and they all have different views of how to treat their employees. You can also negotiate for things like salaries and benefits depending on your skill level and also your ability to get and keep clients coming in the door.
Even though you have a job in massage, you are still really who is responsible for keeping clients coming back. A repeat client is one of the biggest assets of a massage business.
Employee vs Independent Contractor Massage Jobs
One of the most confusing issues in the massage profession is around jobs and whether or not you are classified as a true employee or an independent contractor. Many massage businesses are not owned by massage therapists especially in the large franchises so owners are not really understanding what the needs of massage employees are. They also will try to take advantage of the situation and hire you as an independent contractor when you really should be a full employee. The employer is responsible for setting up the arrangement legally, but many don’t know the rules so that means you really need to be up on the rules and regulations and have your status clarified by an attorney.
In general, employees work for the company and are paid a flat hourly wage along with benefits. You will have set hours and days. You will need to show up when you are told and do what you are told. This includes them telling you who to work on and how to work on them.
As an independent contractor you will be able to select what days and hours you will work. If you don’t have a client, you should be able to leave if you want. (I actually don’t recommend that. You will want to be sticking around to build your practice.) You will be paid a flat fee per session or many will pay a percentage of the massage. This is where it gets very sticky. In WA State for example, it is illegal to pay independent contractors a percentage of the fee paid for the massage. It gets into what is viewed as a kickback in health care. You have to know the laws in your state and the legalities around what you should be paid as in independent contractor.