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Massage Therapist.

MASSAGE THERAPISTS HELP PROVIDE RELIEF FOR painful medical ailments, assist in the rehabilitation of sports injuries and relieve stress for their clients. By manipulating the clients' soft tissue, massage therapists help them relax and rejuvenate. Moreover, according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage is proving effective for conditions that range from cancer-related fatigue to chronic lower-back pain to frequent headaches. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that massage therapists can specialize in more than 80 different types of massage.

The Workplace

Massage therapists may work in hospitals or nursing homes, or in private offices, studios, fitness centers or sports medicine facilities. Some airports and shopping malls now offer massage therapy. AMTA notes that the number of hospitals offering massage therapy increased by 30 percent from 2004 to 2006, with many offering massage to their own staff for stress relief.

Educational Requirements

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, standards and requirements for massage therapists vary greatly by state; but most states require

practicing massage therapists to complete a formal education program and pass the national certification exam or a state exam. Some states require them to remain current with knowledge and technique through continuing education, and an AMTA survey found that 91 percent have taken continuing education classes.

Earnings

The average annual income for a massage therapist who provides 15 hours of massage per week is $30,000 (including tips), according to AMTA, and more than half of them also earn income working in another profession due to the flexible nature of a massage therapy career. The Occupational Outlook Handbook says that median hourly earnings of massage therapists were $15.36 in 2004, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $32.21.

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Job Outlook

The job outlook is very good for massage therapists as more people learn about the benefits massage therapy offers for overall health and wellness. The labor department projects employment in the field to grow faster than average for all occupations. According to AMTA, in 2005, massage therapy was projected to be a $6 billion to $11 billion a year industry.

Explore More

Here are some places to turn for more information about training and education for a career in massage therapy.

* American Massage Therapy Association www.amtamassage.org

* Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation www.comta.org

* National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork www.ncbtmb.org
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Title Annotation:CAREER CURVE
Publication:Techniques
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:399
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