Fast Facts about Massage Degrees

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), there are over 90,000 certified massage therapists working today. You need the right education to join this growing field as most states require formal training in order to become a practicing masseuse. The five questions and answers below provide more massage degree information, including quick facts about massage degrees and the earning power of masseuses.

Question #1: What are the different types of massage degrees?

The AMTA reports that massage therapists need an average of 624 hours training to attain a credential, usually a diploma, certificate or associate's degree. Some schools offer bachelor's degree programs that incorporate massage therapy training.

Question #2: How many people get these degrees in America every year?

According to the most recent information about massage degrees from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 29,443 people earned a certificate or associate's degree in massage therapy in 2007. Of those degree earners, 26,011 individuals completed a certificate program, while 3,432 earned an associate's degree.

Question #3: What is the average cost of the degrees?

Cost can vary greatly. The New York Times revealed that in 2010, a New York City college was charging $14,000 for a massage therapy certificate while a local community college was charging $520. NCES groups massage therapy under the designation of health sciences programs, and reports that average net price of an associate's degree in a health science field was $8,300 in 2007-2008.

Question #4: What is a masseuse's earning power?

According to nationwide data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists earned a mean hourly wage of $19.13 in 2009, with the top 10 percent earning over $33.00 per hour. The top paying states for massage therapists include Alaska, Washington and Oregon with massage therapists earning $40.89, $25.26 and $24.90 per hour, respectively.

Question #5: Is it a good investment?

Education should be seen as an investment. However, some investments definitely are more rewarding than others. Pursuing a massage therapy degree or certificate is one of those good investments. The BLS projects 19 percent employment growth nationwide for massage therapists between 2008 and 2018. The return on your investment is significant. Based upon a 40-year salary projection against the cost of the degree, the ROI is 19,170 percent. As current trends continue and massage becomes more integrated into health care practices, client bases should expand, allowing therapists to quickly recoup the money spent on schooling.

About the Author

Tim Mullaney's recognitions include the Salamander Magazine Prize and the Gival Press Short Story Award. He is a former Van Lier Fellow at the Asian American Writers' Workshop in New York City and has taught writing at Washington University in St. Louis. He currently lives in Chicago.

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