How to become a Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist

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

Personal requirements for 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. 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


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.

Duties & Tasks of a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Administering treatments to promote relaxation, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.
  • Utilising a range of massage techniques to enhance sports performance and prevent injury.
  • Assessing and treating specific soft tissue dysfunction and providing rehabilitation advice.
  • Employing other techniques, such as acupressure or Shiatsu, and complementary aids, such as infra-red lamps, wet compresses, ice, essential oils and herbal and mineral therapies, to assist recovery.
  • Assessing client's physical condition and case history and advising on stretching exercises and relaxation techniques.
  • Massaging the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, to assist healing.

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.


Specializations

Massage therapists may specialise in one or more of the following techniques:

  • Remedial Massage - assists in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.
  • Therapeutic or Relaxation Massage - promotes wellbeing, improves sleep and treats anxiety and tension.
  • Sports Massage - treats and prevents injuries, improves recovery and increases flexibility and endurance.
  • Structural Bodywork - addresses injuries and dysfunction caused by postural and biomechanical strain.
  • Oncology, Palliative Care and Geriatric Massage - supports the primary care of patients with chronic illnesses, such as cancer.
  • Pregnancy and Paediatric Massage - supports the primary care of pregnant women and infants.

Massage Therapist

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

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    76% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,038
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    25% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    19,900 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.8%
    NSW: 31.4%
    NT: 0.6%
    QLD: 21.7%
    SA: 6.8%
    TAS: 2.0%
    VIC: 27.0%
    WA: 8.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.4%
    20-24: 5.7%
    25-34: 28.1%
    35-44: 25.8%
    45-54: 23.6%
    55-59: 8.1%
    60-64: 5.1%
    65 and Over: 3.2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 54.7%
    Bachelor degree: 21.5%
    Certificate III/IV: 7.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 4.3%
    Year 10 and below: 3.6%
    Year 11: 0.8%
    Year 12: 7.6%
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