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Occupational Profile

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists assess the soft tissue and joints of the body and administer massage therapy to relieve pain and symptoms of stress or to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function.

  • Avg. Salary $62,117.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.52
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Complimentary Medicine Practitioner, Masseur/Masseuse, Therapist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Massage Therapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
MassageTherapists
NOC code: 3235.4
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 Dec 15, 2016

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

  • conduct client assessments to determine the most appropriate courses of treatment
  • explain procedures, risks and benefits to clients and inform clients that they have the right to refuse, stop or alter procedures at any time
  • administer appropriate massage techniques (soft tissue manipulation, relaxation techniques, soft tissue stretching techniques, 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 techniques)
  • suggest appropriate home care and provide information about techniques for postural improvement and stretching, strengthening, relaxation and rehabilitative exercises
  • consult with other health care professionals such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, physicians and psychologists to develop treatment plans for clients
  • obtain, maintain and securely store treatment records
  • complete reports and respond to enquiries from insurance companies as required.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Massage therapists may operate private practices or work as part of multidisciplinary health care teams. They usually work with one client at a time. Therapists who travel to client offices and homes must lift and move equipment that weighs up to 10 kilograms.

The work can be strenuous and requires standing for long periods of time. Hours of work depend on the work setting and the physical capability of the individual therapist. Many massage therapists work evenings and weekends, or part-time hours in several different locations.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Massage therapists need the following characteristics:

  • excellent listening skills
  • good communication and time management skills
  • good general health and posture
  • comfortable with sharing personal space for extended periods of time
  • interested in wellness issues
  • able to work in a standing position for long periods of time and use the body as a tool in administering massage therapy
  • critical thinking skills
  • friendly, outgoing personality and caring attitude.

They should enjoy helping people, and developing and implementing treatment plans.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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.

In order to be a member of the massage association and be eligible to bill for health insurance it is a requirement that the student attends an educational institution offering 2200 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 are advised to 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 - Calgary

Alberta College of Massage Therapy - Edmonton

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

Cambrooks College

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

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

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

Lethbridge College

MacEwan University

MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy - Calgary

MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy - Edmonton

Mount Royal University

National Institute of Wellness & Esthetics Inc.

National Manual Osteopathic College

Northern Institute of Massage Therapy Inc. - Cold Lake

Northern Institute of Massage Therapy Inc. - Red Deer

South Edmonton School of Massage Therapy

Southern Alberta Institute of Massage

Wholistic Health Training & Research Centre

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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 chiropractors, physicians, physical therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists, naturopaths or dentists.

Advancement in this occupation generally 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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,600 Albertans are employed in the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 112 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As massage therapists form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for massage therapists.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Income ranges in this occupation depend on the type of employment, location and number of clients. Massage therapists may charge from $30 to $50 for a half hour treatment and $50 to $80 for a one hour treatment (2007 estimates). Massage therapists bill 20 to 30 client hours a week. Massage therapists who contract their services to clinics recieve a percentage (often 60 per cent) of billings.

Massage therapists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3236: Massage therapists.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Massage therapists occupational group earned on average from $36.34 to $50.83 an hour. The overall average wage was $42.52 an hour. For more information, see the Massage therapists wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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: www.rmta.ab.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 11, 2014. 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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