How to become a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists assess and treat the soft tissue of the body for therapeutic purposes.

Personal requirements of a Massage Therapist

  • Physical stamina
  • Manual coordination, dexterity and sensitivity
  • Patience and concern for people
  • A responsible and mature attitude

Education & Training for a Massage Therapist

To become a massage therapist you usually have to complete a VET qualification in massage therapy or remedial massage. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and obtain a National Police Certificate. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a massage therapist through a traineeship in Massage Therapy Practice or Remedial Massage. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists may perform the following tasks:

  • take a case history and assess the client’s physical condition
  • massage the soft tissues of the human body, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, to assist healing
  • assess and treat specific injuries and other soft tissue dysfunction, and provide rehabilitation advice
  • administer treatments to promote relaxation, improve blood circulation and relieve muscle tension
  • use a range of techniques to enhance sports performance and prevent injury
  • provide advice about stretching exercises and relaxation techniques.

Working conditions for a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists spend a lot of time standing. Although the work is physically demanding, it requires stamina rather than strength. They employ a range of techniques and complementary aids, such as heat and cold packs, tape and essential oils.

Employment Opportunities for a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists may be employed in health and fitness clinics, sports clubs, gyms, medical centres and multidisciplinary healthcare practices. They may also find employment with other healthcare practitioners such as chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths. Most massage therapists are self-employed or contract between clinics. There has been a recent increase in employment opportunities in hospitals, particularly in palliative care. An increase in demand for massage therapists is expected as chiropractors and physiotherapists utilise massage therapy to complement their treatments. The field of sports injury treatment and injury prevention is a growth area. There are also opportunities for massage therapists specialising in relaxation techniques to work at day spas, health retreats and holiday resorts.

Additional Information
Massage therapy is not a registered health profession. However, bodies, such as the Association of Massage Therapists, set professional standards for the industry. Massage therapists wishing to offer health fund rebates to private health fund members must have completed a Diploma of Remedial Massage.
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