How to Become a Massage Therapist in 3 Simple Steps


What is a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists treat their clients injuries, aches and pains, and provide a relaxing and enjoyable hands-on treatment. They use the mode of touch to work on the soft-tissues and muscle in the client’s body. Below we analyze all the necessary actions you need to take and learn how to become a massage therapist.

Through a series of techniques a massage therapist can relieve pain, reduce physical and mental stress, help rehabilitate injuries, and most importantly – provide an extremely relaxing and beneficial experience.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Massage therapists main objective is to offer relief from pain and to help rehabilitate injuries. They do this by using their hands, arms, and elbows to work on the tissues and muscles around the client’s body to help resolve their health issues.

A typical massage session takes between 30-45 minutes. The session starts with a brief consultation to establish the needs of the client. This allows the therapist to tailor the session to their needs. There are various different modalities, which are types of massage therapy. The most common types of massage are:

A therapist will often specialize in one modality. Although there are a lot of similar stroke and techniques across several of the modalities, so they can often perform a few different types of massage.

Some massage therapists will travel to their clients. This is made possible as the equipment needed for a typical massage is a table, some blankets, and massage oil. Performing a massage also involves setting a relaxing and calm environment. There are mental and spiritual benefits to a massage, not just the physical. A lot of clients have treatments for the mentally relaxing benefits only.

They key duties of a Massage Therapist include:

  • Keep their studio space clean and prepared for the next client
  • Consult with clients to find out their therapy requirements and current health
  • Perform massage techniques to resolve the client’s’ issues
  • Provide advice and discuss aftercare for clients

There is a mix of self-employed massage therapists and those who are employed in spa’s and health and fitness centers. Health centers will often have a massage therapist in-house as they complement other health treatments attend to sporting injuries.

Massage therapists’ average salary is $38,040.

Desirable Skills of a Massage Therapist

In such a personal and intimate profession as a massage therapist there are some desirable skills that help people to enter the industry, and to be successful. Possessing the following skills are certainly an advantage:

Good at Using Hands

Some people are naturally better than other at using their hands for practical work. Using your hands is certainly a skill that can be improved on with practice, but having a natural touch and fluidity to hand movements will help you be a better masseuse.


Massage therapists work on people and work with people. You are going to be using your hands to work all over their body, so being able to make your client feel comfortable is incredibly important.


Massage therapists are left to work with clients on their own. You need to be self-motivated to do the best possible job and secure repeat business. Self-employed therapists are responsible for booking all their own clients and managing their own schedule.

Reliable and Timely

You absolutely have to always be on time. This is vital if you’re self-employed, but just as important if you work for a company. Most companies will not have someone available to stand-in, so all the appointments will be canceled if the therapist doesn’t show up.
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what is a massage therapist

Becoming a Massage Therapist

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Massage Therapists

Science and Math classes

While it is not so obvious that you should take math and science classes it is really important to do so. When you join a training program after high school the vast majority of the classes will be anatomy physiology and other related classes that are based in math and science. Also math and science classes are the classes that most colleges recommend to their prospect students.

Anatomy and Physiology

These classes are obviously really important and highly recommended to if available. You will learn about the human body and its functions that will be the core of your profession. Even massage therapists that are entering the business should have a great knowledge of anatomy because it will make them able to satisfy their clients without injuring them.

Another important class massage therapists should take is psychology. Massage therapists are dealing with clients that are in pain and looking for a solution to this. Knowing the human psychology and how to communicate with people in certain difficult situations will help the stand out of the competition and gain loyal clients.

Step 2: Get Official Training

Massage Therapy Certificate Program 4 months 1 year

Massage therapy certificate programs are designed to prepare students to earn a license and enter the profession in a relatively short time. They are 4 months to 1 year programs consisted of 24 to 37 semester credit hours. The admission requirements are a high school diploma or a GED and at some cases a CPR certification.


Core Courses

  • A & P for Massage and Bodywork
  • Swedish Massage I
  • Massage Business Practices
  • Musculo-Skeletal Study
  • Swedish Massage II
  • Pathology
  • Oriental Theory and Concepts
  • Kinesiology
  • Massage Rule and Ethics
  • Clinical Evaluation and Treatment
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Clinical Internship:  A Capstone Experience


  • Foundations of Health and Wellness
  • Guided Meditation and Imagery
  • Introduction to Homeopathy
  • Introduction to Herbology
  • Introduction to Reiki Healing
  • Yoga, Breath and Movement
  • Spa Techniques
  • Acupressure
  • Sports Massage
  • Self-Care and Stress Management
  • Shiatsu
  • Pre-Post Natal Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Chair Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Elder Massage
  • Somatic Massage
  • Russian Massage
  • Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascal Release
  • Nutrition

The cost of a massage therapy certificate program is $3,424 – $11,744.

It is really important to talk with college or university you want to go and get all your questions answered.

Click the red button below and get free information about accredited massage therapy certificate programs near you.
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Massage Therapy Associate Degree 2 years

Massage therapy associate degree are two year programs that give students an overall knowledge about massage therapy. They often help them choose the category of massage they want to follow European or Asian. They consist of 60 to 75 semester credit hours. The admission requirements are:

  • A high school diploma or a GED
  • A GPA over 2.0


General Education Requirements (24 credits)

  • Bioethics
  • Honors Bioethics
  • General Psychology
  • Honors General Psychology
  • College Composition I
  • Honors College Composition I
  • Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication
  • Mathematical Explorations or higher

Core Courses (50 credits)

  • Small Business Management
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Introduction to Medical Terminology
  • Somatic Studies I
  • Somatic Studies II
  • Somatic Studies III
  • Massage Therapy I
  • Applied Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy
  • Functional Assessment in Massage Therapy
  • Massage Therapy II
  • Medical Massage
  • Pathology for Massage Therapists
  • Advanced Massage Therapy
  • Massage Therapy Clinic I
  • Massage Therapy Clinic II
  • Advanced Massage Therapy Clinic
  • Comprehensive Somatic Studies for Massage Therapists
  • Comprehensive Massage Therapy
  • Life Span Development

Electives (6 to 9 credits)

  • Advanced clinical training: neuromuscular therapy and fascial techniques
  • Advanced nutrition
  • Cancer and massage therapy
  • Rehabilitation institute externship
  • Eastern massage techniques
  • Eastern perspectives on healing
  • Exploration of career environments
  • Functional anatomy
  • Fundamentals of hospital based massage therapy
  • Geriatric massage
  • Infant massage
  • Insurance billing for massage therapy
  • Institute externship
  • Reflexology 1
  • Reflexology 2
  • Sports massage

The cost of a massage therapy associate’s degree program is $9,260 – $28,080.

It is really important to talk with college or university you want to go and get all your questions answered.

Click the red button below and get free information about accredited massage therapy associate’s degree programs near you.
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Step 3 Get Licensed and Certified

Almost at every State across US massage therapists need to get licensed. While the requirements vary from state to state the (NCBTMB) National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork offers a board certification.


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a CPR certification
  • At least 750 hours of accredited training
  • At least 250 hours of working experience


Cost: $250

How Long Does it Take to Become a Massage Therapist and How Much Does it Cost?

Option 1 : Certificate

Degree Time Cost
Certificate 4 months to 12 months$3,424 - $11,744
Certification -$250
Total 4 months to 12 months$3,674 - $11,994

Option 2 : Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$9,260 - $28,080
Certification -$250
Total 2 years $9,510 - $28,330

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