A Look at You: Massage Therapy the Profession

Since we spend most of our time serving the needs of members of the massage therapist profession, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the state of the industry. So we dug through some statistics to see how things are going and learn a little more about you. Below we’ve shared a few of the highlights from what we found. We hope you’ll read it and enjoy finding out a little more about your peers in the profession.


Who are Your Peers?
According to the American Massage Therapy Association Fact Sheet, the average American massage therapist is likely to be a woman who has entered the profession as a second career. Canada’s professionals share similar characteristics. Most reports indicate that men make up less than 20% of the industry’s population. The majority of massage therapists are independent contractors, operating as sole practitioners. The median age for this group of professionals is 46. As business owners, most massage therapists split their time between management and direct client services.


Above all, they are dedicated professionals who earn a living, take care of business, and care about their clients.


What Does the Average Massage Therapist Earn?
Income for massage therapists varies. In 2017, AMAT reported an average of over $72.13 per massage hour and an average of $58 per hour for all massage and related work -- client communicate, paperwork, etc.-- for its survey respondents. Yet the AMTA study also indicated that the average annual income for massage therapists was approximately $26,216. Thus, AMTA’s numbers may not be comparable to those reported by individuals working full-time. Nearly half of those surveyed reported working in related bodywork or teaching fields to earn additional income.


In comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) placed the 2016 median salary for massage therapists at just under $39,000. The BLS also indicated an average hourly rate of just over $19. Meanwhile, the Partnership for HealthCare Excellence indicated an average annual salary of $43,170 for massage therapists in 2015. This annual salary equals a rate of around $20 per hour.


A look at Payscale.com reveals a median salary for Registered Massage Therapists in Canada of C$48,145 or C$39.31 per hour (approximately US$37,000 or US$30.50 per hour). These averages are slightly lower than the numbers published by the province of Alberta which reports an average hourly rate of C$42.52 for massage therapists and an average annual salary of just over C$62,000.


Where are Massage Therapists Working?
Because so many massage therapists are self-employed, they have the freedom to provide services in more than one location. Nearly half of the professionals surveyed by AMTA reported providing massage therapy in their clients’ homes. A combined 70% offered services in either their own office or home. Other venues included at a spa or salon, or at the client’s workplace. Hotels, health clubs, franchised massage businesses and medical care facilities were also reported as worksites for some of the respondents.


It is expected that the number of places where massage therapists can be found working will expand as more consumers become aware of massage therapy’s health benefits. Additionally, individual businesses are increasingly adding massage and other wellbeing services and benefits to attract and retain employees.


What is the Employment Outlook for Massage Therapists?
Business intelligence reports on the spa industry as a whole indicate an upturn in global demand for spa services. The number of resorts providing wellbeing services on-site is growing. Massage clinics report difficulty in finding qualified massage therapists to staff their practices. This is true despite the fact that more credentialed massage therapists enter the job force each year.


In the U.S. market, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate demand for new massage therapists is above average and predicts that employment rates will continue to climb through 2024. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada recorded a doubling of the number of job vacancies for massage therapists between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016.


Why this seeming contrast between available professionals and jobs filled? One possibility is that supply and demand have not yet reached a meeting place when it comes to compensation. According to some experienced massage therapists, many of the jobs available for newly-minted massage therapists are found in businesses that rely on discounted services and a high volume of customers to succeed. This business model is only possible when massage therapists are paid low hourly rates or asked to reduce their fees in order to facilitate various discount programs offered.


A reckoning of this supply and demand imbalance is inevitable. We expect to see shifts in current industry models as more massage therapists challenge the status quo.


Opportunities for Growth and Innovation
Being a small business owner means that you are responsible for all the facets of your business, from customer service to paying the utility bills. But being on your own also gives you amazing flexibility.


Consumer acceptance of massage as a supplemental healthcare service and access to more information about the various forms of massage is opening the field. You have access to more potential clients than ever before.


Plus, with an online booking service and cloud-based patient record keeping, you can perform your work anywhere and everywhere. You can go where your clients want you to be and bring the data from your office with you. Your cloud-based records also allow you to maintain a smaller physical office or no office at all! ClinicSense users also spend significantly less time managing paperwork, giving them more time to pursue new opportunities.


So we invite you to savor the freedom that you and your peers enjoy and make the most of each new opportunity. If you’d like to find out how an online management system can help you embrace the possibilities, just visit our website and sign up for a free trial. At ClinicSense your success is our goal.