Requirements to Become a Massage Therapist


The job of a massage therapist revolves around providing treatment by softly manipulating the tissue in a safe and healthy manner to provide a soothing experience for the clients.

The professionals are trained in massaging body muscles and other soft tissues to relieve clients of their stress.

Through expertise, they have the know-how of when and where to apply tenderly pressure to manipulate the soft tissues and joints of the body.

requirements to become a Massage Therapist USA
Leg massage session. Credit: Anete Lusina

As more and more people are identifying the benefits of the services of massage therapists on their bodies and general wellness, the employment of these professionals is expected to grow 20 per cent from 2021 to 2031, according to data from the U.S Bureau of Statistics (

And while the median annual wage for massage therapists is over $46,000, a report revealed that there are over 25,000 openings for these experts each year due to the medical benefits of massage therapy among other several factors.

Currently, in the United States alone, there are over 104,00 certified massage therapists. In terms of the high demand for professionals in the massage therapy service, you might want to be trained and certified.

How To Become a Massage Therapist

Requirements for becoming a massage therapist vary from state to state. However, you are generally expected to pass through a postsecondary education program that exposes you to the right knowledge and experience.

Depending on where you want to operate, your massage therapy services may be regulated by the state (the most state in the United States), and have to own a license or certification.

Massage Therapy Education Programs

While certain public postsecondary schools offer these programs, they are majorly operated in private independent institutions.

Fortunately, such schools are located in different parts of the United States, and you must be ready to spend months (or in some cases, years) to get your certificate.

You should also know that to be admitted to such massage therapy programs, you will need to own at least a high school diploma.

Many times, as far as you possess the right requirements, you won’t encounter difficulties getting into the program, especially if you possess a business license in the U.S.

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For instance, you won’t only sit in classrooms for theories and the rest, but you will also engage in practical massage techniques.

Interestingly, some programs focus so much on certain specialities (like oncology massage, sports, and so on).

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In most states, you must operate with a state-issued license to be legitimate. While requirements vary by state, on a general basis, you should graduate from an approved massage therapy program and pass the MBLEx which is managed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (

To become a qualified massage therapist, you may also have to possess liability insurance and pass a background check. Additionally, there are places where you are expected to renew your license periodically.

To be in the light, you should ensure you get the right specific details from the licensing board of the state where you are operating.

Important Qualities of a Professional Massage Therapist

Having met all the requirements of becoming a professional massage therapist, you are also required to possess some qualities of a wellness care provider

Communication Skills

It is helpful to have good communication skills as a practising massage therapist, as it is expected that you listen carefully to your clients to know what they desire and be able to appropriately convey information to them when necessary.

Decision-making skills

You are expected to have what it takes to evaluate the needs of each of your clients and arrive at a decision revolving around the best treatment that suits their peculiarities.


You should be very compassionate as a massage therapist since you will be dealing with clients that are in pain now and then.

Being compassionate will place you on a pedestal where you can attend to them with empathy and make them relax for swift healing.


You should be a person of integrity that can be trusted with sensitive things since there are times you come across private medical information of your clients (such as their medical histories).

A good massage therapist isn’t just an expert when it comes to massaging the body, but they are also mature enough in integrity to secure client confidentiality.

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Interpersonal skills

It is helpful when you have the charisma that helps clients feel comfortable when they come around you.

Having good interpersonal skills can help give others a positive experience, and they will keep coming (and referring others).

Your client should be able to open up about what they want to you being their massage therapist. They should be able to give adequate expression to the desire they want to see actualize after the massage session. Then, you will suggest personalized treatment plans for them.

Physical stamina and strength

It takes good energy to carry out your tasks as a massage therapist. Hence, you must give priority to being well in health and strength. Also, you are expected to be strong and have what it takes to exert pressure when doing your job.

It takes much effort to adequately manipulate another’s soft tissues to achieve an aim (particularly when it comes to treating injuries).

For instance, you may use any part of your own body to get the job done – your hands, elbows, fingers, and so on.

Time-management skills

This is one of the skills that can help you excel in what you do as a massage therapist. You should be effective when it comes to utilizing the time apportioned for appointments to achieve the aims and goals.

Duties of a Massage Therapist

In simple expressions, massage therapists usually perform these roles:

1. They discuss with their clients issues bothering their symptoms, medical history, and other important discourses.

2. They conduct a check on the body of the client to locate tense or painful parts, before the massage session and after the job is done.

3. While at a massage session, they tenderly manipulate necessary parts of the body of the client (such as their muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues) to achieve the aim for the benefit of their client.

4. They offer guidance when it comes to activities that help the client improve their posture, such as stretching, strengthening, and so on.

5. They document the conditions and progress of their clients. When they are not working at the massage session, they are recording notes on clients, as well as other related tasks.

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6. They clean their workspace regularly and ensure their equipment is sanitized. They make use of different types of tools to get their job done, and everything must be in good order.

7. They may use lotions and oils while on the job. There are massage tables or chairs in place, and they must be in good condition.

Where can a massage therapist work?

Massage therapists are not limited to a spar. They are working in clinics, they constitute members of the health teams for a sports teams; homes, independent centres, events and clinics.

How can I massage therapist know the best technique to use?

They know this because they are trained by talking to patients before the session and maintaining communication throughout the massage session and keeping a record afterwards.

How long does it take to become a massage therapist?

Training takes between 500 to 1,000 hours for a study to be completed and develop a special skill.

How much does a professional massage therapist in the U.S earn per year?

A massage therapist earns $46,910 per year on average as of 2021, according to data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

In Conclusion

The job of a massage therapist revolves around providing treatment for an injured clients, sportsmen, and in clinics as well as promoting general wellness for their clients.

However, some specialists concentrate on specifics, such as deep-tissue massage, Swedish massage, and so on.

Like a body waxing service provider, you also need a license and state permit to operate a massage centre.

To become one, you must pass through the necessary training and get your certification and license to operate legitimately.

Becoming a massage therapist can be the first step in a wellness career.

Also, many healthcare providers and clients in the U.S and around the world understand the benefits of a massage therapist.

So, if you are thinking of earning at least $22.55 per hour, it is important to note that certification, life insurance, and practice license are some of the requirements to becoming a professional massage therapist.


  1. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Handbook: Massage Therapists”.
  2. Zippia. “Certified Massage Therapist Demographics and Statistics In The US”.

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