Are you considering a career as a massage therapist? You’re in good company. The demand for massage therapists is experiencing an uptick in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, a projected growth of 20 percent from 2021 to 2031, per the bureau, is much faster than the average. Utilizing BLS occupational data, we have derived a detailed breakdown of massage therapist salaries across states. Explore where massage therapists are most lucratively compensated and where they might earn less.
How Much Does a Massage Therapist Make on Average?
So, how much does a massage therapist make? According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a massage therapist’s national average annual wage is $47,000. This translates into an average hourly wage of $27.43. These figures, however, represent averages, and actual earnings can vary significantly depending on location, experience, specialization, and the specific compensation structure agreed upon with the employer.
It’s worth noting that these averages encompass a wide spectrum of earnings. For instance, some therapists may earn as low as $29,040 annually, while others might make more than $90,530. This income disparity is influenced by several factors, including the varying cost of living across different states, the therapist’s level of expertise, and the working environment (spa, private practice, healthcare setting or self-employed).
While the financial aspect of this profession is certainly appealing, it’s important to consider all factors when contemplating a career in massage therapy. Job satisfaction, work-life balance, and passion are significant in decision-making.
In Which States Do Massage Therapists Earn the Most Money?
Like many professions, a massage therapist’s salary can vary greatly based on the state of employment. According to BLS.gov, here’s a list of the top-15 highest-paying states for massage therapists:
- Alaska: Hourly average – $50.01, Annual average – $104,020. It’s worth noting that even though Alaska pays the highest wages among states, it has the fewest therapists employed (430).
- Vermont: Hourly average – $37.59, Annual average – $78,190
- Washington: Hourly average – $34.89, Annual average – $72,560
- Oregon: Hourly average – $34.37, Annual average – $71,490
- Maryland: Hourly average – $32.61, Annual average – $67,820
- New York: Hourly average – $32.52, Annual average – $67,640
- Connecticut: Hourly average – $32.38, Annual average – $67,340
- California: Hourly average – $30.94, Annual average – $64,350. Interestingly, California, 8th on this list, also employs the most massage therapists, with 12,660 in the “golden state.”
- Hawaii: Hourly average – $30.79, Annual average – $64,030
- North Carolina: Hourly average – $30.74, Annual average – $63,940
- Illinois: Hourly average – $30.04, Annual average – $62,490
- New Hampshire: Hourly average – $29.49, Annual average – $61,340
- Arizona: Hourly average – $28.85, Annual average – $60,020
- Pennsylvania: Hourly average – $28.50, Annual average – $59,280
- Michigan: Hourly average – $28.40, Annual average – $59,080
These figures highlight the wide earning potential for massage therapists across different states. If you’re considering a career in massage therapy or looking to relocate, these data points may be helpful in your decision-making process.
Please note that these figures are averages, and actual earnings can vary depending on various factors, including experience, specialization, and the specific compensation structure agreed upon with the employer.
In Which States Do Massage Therapists Make the Least Amount of Money?
While some states offer lucrative salaries for massage therapists, others fall on the lower end of the wage spectrum. Here are the fifteen states where massage therapists tend to earn the least:
- Alabama: Hourly average – $15.53, Annual average – $32,300
- Arkansas: Hourly average – $18.38, Annual average – $38,230
- Louisiana: Hourly average – $19.20, Annual average – $39,930
- Nevada: Hourly average – $19.71, Annual average – $40,990
- Missouri: Hourly average – $19.73, Annual average – $41,040
- Oklahoma: Hourly average – $20.20, Annual average – $42,010
- South Carolina: Hourly average – $20.70, Annual average – $43,050
- South Dakota: Hourly average – $21.11, Annual average – $43,910
- Georgia: Hourly average – $21.82, Annual average – $45,390
- Wyoming: Hourly average – $21.84, Annual average – $45,430
- Wisconsin: Hourly average – $22.62, Annual average – $47,040
- New Mexico: Hourly average – $22.84, Annual average – $47,500
- Kansas: Hourly average – $23.18, Annual average – $48,220
- Iowa: Hourly average – $23.39, Annual average – $48,640
- Texas: Hourly average – $23.77, Annual average – $49,430
Many of these states are located in the South and Midwest regions of the U.S. Interestingly, seven states with the lowest average pay for massage therapists are also among the states with a lower cost of living. Of the 15 states with the lowest average pay for massage therapists, 8 also appear on the list of the 15 cheapest states to live in for 2023.
These figures illustrate that while the earning potential might be lower in these states, the cost of living is also generally lower. Therefore, it’s important to consider all factors when evaluating the financial aspect of a career in massage therapy.
What is the Most A Massage Therapist Can Make?
When considering the earning potential of massage therapists, it’s important to look at the higher end of the wage scale. The top 10% of massage therapists can make quite an impressive income. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these highly skilled and experienced professionals earn an average hourly wage of $43.52, which translates to an annual wage of $90,530.
However, it’s worth noting that this income level typically requires significant experience, advanced training, and often specialization in particular types of massage therapy. Additionally, these figures can be influenced by geographic location, work setting (private practice versus a spa or health club), and the therapist’s ability to attract and retain clients.
While the financial rewards can be substantial, becoming a top-earning massage therapist generally requires a combination of skill, experience, and business acumen.
What are the Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Massage Therapists?
Here’s a list of the top ten metropolitan areas where massage therapists are raking in the highest salaries:
- Fairbanks, AK: The average annual salary is a cool $111,860!
- Anchorage, AK: Close behind with an impressive average of $102,000 annually.
- Salisbury, MD-DE: You can earn around $87,460 annually here.
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: In this bustling metro, the average yearly earnings are about $78,210.
- Kingston, NY: This area offers an annual average salary of $78,000.
- Bremerton-Silverdale, WA: On average, massage therapists earn around $77,550 annually.
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: Count on an average annual income of about $76,010.
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: Expect to make roughly $75,960 per year.
- Salem, OR: The average annual salary in this area is $74,600.
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: Rounding out our list with an average yearly income of $74,600.
These figures can change and may vary based on factors like your experience level, specialization, and the precise location within each metropolitan area. Always research or consult industry professionals to get the most accurate information.
What are the Top Paying Industries for Massage Therapists?
Massage therapy is a growing field that offers a variety of opportunities for therapists. It’s not just about working in spas or wellness centers; there are several industries where massage therapists can earn a substantial income. Here, we’ll explore the top five paying industries for massage therapists based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Other Schools and Instruction: This industry pays an hourly wage of $45.40, translating to an annual salary of $94,420. However, it’s important to note that this industry employs only 80 massage therapists.
Health and Personal Care Retailers: This industry employs the highest number of massage therapists (44,160) and offers an hourly wage of $39.65, which amounts to an annual salary of $82,470.
Spectator Sports: In this exciting field, massage therapists can earn an hourly wage of $35.46, an annual salary of $73,750.
Specialty Hospitals (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse): In these specialized healthcare facilities, massage therapists can earn an hourly wage of $34.47, leading to an annual salary of $71,700.
Management of Companies and Enterprises: In corporate environments, massage therapists can expect to earn an hourly wage of $33.79, which translates to an annual salary of $70,280.
These figures highlight the potential earning power of massage therapists across different industries. It’s important to remember that salaries can vary based on location, experience, and specialization. Doing thorough research and networking within your chosen field can help you maximize your earning potential.
How Does the Average Hourly Wage Reflect Massage Pricing?
Understanding the difference between the average price for a massage and the average hourly wage of a massage therapist can be confusing. On the surface, you might think, “If the average price for a massage is $75 per hour, why are therapists’ average hourly wages so much lower?”
Here’s the thing: while the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) wage statistics use hourly figures, massage therapists often conduct sessions that last 45 to 60 minutes, not a full hour. Plus, due to the physically demanding nature of the job, it’s not feasible for therapists to maintain an 8-hour massage schedule daily. This reality significantly impacts their overall potential earnings.
The average wage may include therapists under varied pay structures. Some might earn commission-based income, while others might be on flat hourly clinic rates.
In a typical workday, not all hours are “contact hours” (time spent directly giving massages). Therapists must also allocate time for client consultation, cleaning, and administrative duties. This factor might adjust the perceived hourly earnings.
It’s important to note that most massage therapists don’t work a standard 40-hour week due to the physical demands of the profession. So, while the average price for a massage might seem high compared to the average hourly wage of a therapist, these factors help explain the discrepancy.
How Can I Make 6 Figures as a Massage Therapist?
Earning a six-figure income as a massage therapist might seem daunting, but it’s achievable. While relocating to places like Alaska, where the average annual salary is $104,020, could be an option, there are several other strategies you can adopt to boost your earnings:
Adopt an Empowered Perspective: Financially successful massage therapists deeply understand marketing, self-investment, and business management. They know how to promote their services effectively, continually invest in their personal and professional growth, and manage their businesses efficiently.
Maintain a Positive Mindset: Confidence and belief in oneself are foundational to success. Aligning with a purpose beyond earning money can drive you to achieve more.
Expand Your Comfort Zone: Overcoming reluctance to grow and challenge yourself is key to financial success. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push your boundaries.
Develop Business Acumen: Understanding the business side of massage therapy is crucial. This includes setting clear goals, understanding massage therapy marketing strategies, and managing finances effectively.
Invest in Advanced Training and Equipment: Boosting your skillsets and having top-notch equipment can set you apart from your competition, helping you develop niche practices and attract more clients.
Adopt a Broad-Based Business Approach: Introducing multiple revenue streams can elevate your practice. Consider offering retail products, add-on services, or expanding your team. Each of these can contribute to increased income.
Have a Purpose and Vision: Successful massage therapists are driven by a larger purpose and have a clear vision for their practice. They understand the impact they want to make on their community and work tirelessly towards it.
By implementing these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to making a six-figure income as a massage therapist. Remember, your success reflects your hard work, dedication, and passion for what you do.
What are the Benefits of Being a Massage Therapist Beyond the Dollars?
Being a massage therapist isn’t just about earning potential; it offers numerous benefits beyond the dollars. Here are some of the key advantages that make this career path fulfilling and rewarding:
A Rewarding Profession: Many people are drawn to massage therapy due to a genuine desire to help others. The satisfaction derived from providing immediate relief to grateful clients is immense, making it an incredibly rewarding job.
Positive Work Environment: Clients typically look forward to their massage sessions, creating a consistently positive and low-stress work environment. This contributes significantly to job satisfaction and overall well-being.
Growing Role in Healthcare: With the rise of integrative healthcare models, massage therapists are finding expanding opportunities in the healthcare sector. They’re being recognized as valuable members of holistic healthcare teams, further enhancing their professional standing.
Diverse Work Settings: Massage therapists can work in various environments, from spas and health clubs to hospitals and integrative clinics. This diversity caters to individual preferences and career aspirations, allowing exploration and growth.
Opportunities for Specialization: Therapists can specialize their skills to cater to specific demographics or needs, like working with children, athletes, seniors, or expectant mothers. This allows for continuous learning and development within the field.
The benefits of being a massage therapist go far beyond the financial aspect, making it a deeply gratifying profession on multiple levels.
Please note these figures were pulled in August 2023 from reputable sources but could be subject to change and may not be fully accurate.
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