Everything you Need to Know About Becoming a Massage Therapist

According to recent research, in the field of massage therapy, workers not only enjoy one of the highest rates of overall job satisfaction they can also earn up to six figure salaries.

Professional therapists average over $25 an hour and the Australian annual salary is roughly $54,000. Independent contractors or those who don't work for a franchise, spa or hotel often earn much more money, usually into the six-digit annual income bracket.



While almost anyone can study and practice massage, certain personal attributes are necessary in order to be a successful therapist in this field. Qualified candidates should:

  • Be empathetic having genuine care and concern for people
  • Have muscle strength, stamina, manual dexterity, sensitivity and coordination
  • Be patient, responsible and mature
  • Have a positive attitude and be good working with others


Generally speaking, a certified massage therapist is responsible for performing a variety of muscle and soft tissue manipulation for pain and stress relief along with other health benefits. They also:

  • Greet, interview and ultimately obtain consent from their clients to perform specific services
  • Promote health and wellness information to clients and to the public in order to generate new clientele
  • Provide a sanitary room with clean towels or wraps to drape clients professionally


Becoming a massage therapist opens up a number of career paths, including being an employee or owner of a clinic or health spa, being employed on board a cruise ship, part of a corporate massage team, working with other health practitioners, with sports teams or inside gyms. 

Generally speaking, those with more experience and skills will ultimately earn more money in this field. Also, those working in larger urban areas like Melbourne, Sydney and Perth will statistically be paid more than those located in less densely populated areas.


Typically there's no set schedule when it comes to being a successful massage therapist since hours will vary depending upon the needs of their clientele and availability. Many will work throughout the day, sometimes nights and often on the weekends. Some offer massage therapy as a sideline part-time job in order to supplement their income. 


Obviously, a good massage table is an absolute necessity for someone looking at becoming a massage therapist. There's a plethora of them to choose from on the marketplace everything from folding models costing a couple hundred dollars to spa-quality beds with a number of different features setting practitioners back thousands.

In the beginning, students or those who are newly graduated are best getting a lightweight, portable foldup option with a liberal amount of padding. It should also have a practical weight support limit, dimensions to adapt to different client's height and adjustable for different types of stretches and massage techniques.


Once a massage therapist is certified, the best thing for a practitioner to do is to gain experience in the field. According to the research mentioned previously, the more experience a therapist has the higher a therapist's income potential becomes. For example, entry-level therapists typically earn 2% less than the national average compared to:

  • Mid-career therapists who earn 2% more making up around 50% of those practicing
  • Those considered experienced therapists receive approximately 3% more earnings
  • Later in their career, earnings jump to more than 18% above the national average

Figures have also shown a continued rise in earnings for massage therapists over the years especially for those who are self-employed who can earn up to three times the amount of those employed by a franchise.


Before being able to practice as a professional, on your journey to becoming a massage therapist, you also need to obtain proper insurance coverage that includes professional indemnity and public liability By joining the International Institute for Complementary Therapists, you can access our insurance rates.

IICT membership rates are affordable starting at just $1 for students and continue upwards to the executive level. If you have questions about insurance coverage or the many benefits of becoming a member, please feel free to contact us today. We're here to help!

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