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Massage Therapist

Massage therapists assess the body’s soft tissue and joints. They perform massage therapy to relieve pain and symptoms of stress, or to develop, maintain, rehabilitate, or increase physical function.

  • Avg. Salary $48,694.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.61
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 6,500
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Complementary Medicine Practitioner, Masseur, Masseuse, Muscle Therapist, Therapist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: MassageTherapists (3235.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (D235) 
  • 2011 NOC: Massage therapists (3236) 
  • 2016 NOC: Massage therapists (3236) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

79%
79%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Massage Therapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
MassageTherapists
METHODICAL

Interest in analyzing information obtained from tests and health care professionals to develop treatment plans; in providing courses of treatment for medical conditions, injuries and for maintenance of wellness; and in maintaining records of patients' treatments

SOCIAL

Interest in assisting patients by providing treatment, prescribing remedial exercises and discussing follow-up care; may work with other health care professionals when appropriate

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating equipment to administer treatments; in conducting range of motion and muscle testing; and in providing massage therapy to treat medical conditions and injuries

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Massage therapists may be trained in various massage techniques but, in general, they:

  • assess clients to determine the best courses of treatment
  • explain procedures, risks, and benefits to clients
  • inform clients of their right to refuse, stop, or alter procedures at any time
  • apply suitable massage techniques including
    • soft tissue manipulation
    • relaxation techniques
    • soft tissue stretching
    • manual pressure to specific points on the body
    • hydrotherapy
    • manual stripping or cross-fibre friction of muscle tissue
    • trigger point therapy
    • joint play and mobilizations
    • lymphatic drainage
    • myofascial release.
  • suggest suitable home care (such as techniques for postural improvement and stretching, strengthening, relaxation, and rehabilitative exercises)
  • consult with other health care providers (such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, physicians, and psychologists) to develop treatment plans
  • obtain, maintain and securely store treatment records
  • complete reports and respond to insurance company inquiries.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Massage therapists may have private practices or work as part of multidisciplinary health care teams. They usually work with one client at a time. Therapists often have to help transfer clients the table. Those who travel to client offices and homes must lift and move equipment that weighs up to 20 kilograms.

The work can be physically demanding. It requires standing for long periods of time. Hours of work depend on each work setting and therapist. Some massage therapists work evenings and weekends. Others work part time in several locations.

5 massages a day for 5 days of work is considered full time for a massage therapist. That equates to about 25 hours of work.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Massage therapists need to possess:

  • excellent listening and speaking skills
  • the ability to manage time well
  • good general health and posture
  • the ability to comfortably share personal space for long periods of time
  • an interest in wellness issues
  • the ability to stand for long periods of time
  • the ability to use their body as a tool to apply massage therapy
  • the ability to think critically
  • a friendly, outgoing personality and caring attitude
  • empathy and compassion
  • the ability to be well organized
  • a non-judgmental nature
  • the ability to work with people of all ethnicities, ages, and body types
  • a flexible schedule to adjust to clients’ needs
  • an interest in lifelong learning.

They should enjoy:

  • helping people
  • developing and administering treatment plans.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Massage therapist is not a regulated health profession in Alberta.

Some municipalities require massage therapists to be licensed under local bylaws or to provide an annual police security clearance.

To join the massage association and bill for health insurance, the student must attend an educational institution offering 2,200 hours of training.

A number of private vocational schools in Alberta offer training programs, often in particular massage techniques.

Before choosing a training program, prospective massage therapists should discuss their education options with people who already work in this field.

Massage therapists should attend ongoing professional development workshops to keep their skills up to date. Continuing education programs may be offered on an as-needed basis.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Reflexology and Massage

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Edmonton South

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Fort McMurray

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Grande Prairie

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Lloydminster

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Red Deer

Calgary College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Cambrooks College

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

Canadian Institute of Osteopathic Therapy

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

East-West College of Business & Technology

Grant MacEwan University

Lethbridge College

Manual Osteopathic College of Canada

Manual Osteopathic College of Canada - Calgary

Manual Osteopathic College of Canada - Grande Prairie

Manual Osteopathic College of Canada - Lloydminster

MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy - Calgary

MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy - Edmonton

Mount Royal University

National Manual Osteopathic College

NIWE Academy Inc.

Peerless Training Institute

Professional Institute of Massage Therapy Calgary

South Edmonton School of Massage Therapy

Southern Alberta Institute of Massage - Lethbridge

Southern Alberta Institute of Massage - Medicine Hat

Wholistic Health Training & Research Centre

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most massage therapists are self-employed. They may travel to clients’ offices or homes, or work in:

  • their own homes or offices
  • fitness clubs
  • spas or resorts
  • massage therapy clinics
  • clinics shared with other health providers, such as:
    • chiropractors
    • physicians
    • physical therapists
    • psychotherapists
    • psychologists
    • naturopaths
    • dentists.

Advancement in this field most often takes the form of building a larger client base. Therefore, entrepreneurial and business management skills are an asset.

In Alberta, 97% of people employed as massage therapists work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the D235: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 112 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Income ranges in this occupation depend on the type of employment, location, and number of clients. Massage therapists may charge from $45 to $70 for a half-hour treatment and $65 to $120 for a 1-hour treatment (2018 estimates).

Massage therapists bill 20 to 30 client hours a week.

Massage therapists who contract their services to clinics receive a percentage (often 60%) of billings.

Massage therapists

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $40.00 $29.79 $32.00
Overall $15.00 $42.00 $33.61 $36.00
Top $15.00 $50.00 $38.21 $40.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

79%
79%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

65%
65%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

30%
30%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Alberta Association of Therapeutic Masseurs (AATM) website: albertaatm.com

Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools (CCMTS) website: www.ccmts.ca

Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association (CSMTA) website: www.csmta.ca

Massage Therapists Association of Alberta (MTAA) website: www.mtaalberta.com

Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) website: www.nhpcanada.org

Remedial Massage Therapists Association (RMTA) website: rmta.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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