Massage therapist filling out health form with a client in a spa. Female massage therapist talking to woman at wellness center.

Is Massage Therapy a Good Career Choice in Canada?

Massage therapists have now become an integral part of the healthcare system almost everywhere in the world. With health care professionals recognizing the therapeutic benefits of massage, the job opportunities for working as a massage therapist is expected to hit an all-time high in the next few decades.

In current times, where job and employment stability are becoming increasingly uncertain, one thing remains true—people will always be in need of relaxation and tension relief. Massage therapy is therefore a recession-proof career and is a great choice for those looking for a new career helping others.

According to a recent study from Quebec’s national public health institute, the number of obesity cases in Quebec has doubled in the last 30 years. Being overweight is a common cause of back pain. With an increase in the rate of obesity, overweight individuals are likely to seek out massage therapy sessions to relive back tension.

Additionally, as more individuals start working from home on their computers, the sedentary lifestyle will result in back and neck pain due to prolonged inactivity. These individuals often call upon massage therapists to relieve their tension.

9 reasons to choose a career in massage therapy

If you are considering a career in massage therapy, you must be wondering how massage therapists are paid, what is their average income, and what jobs are in store for them. In this article, we will cover everything from an average massage therapist’s income to possible job opportunities.

Fast track from student to professional

When your massage school is partnered with a good association, after only 400-hours of training you can take your exams and receive your diploma.  At that point, you’ll be recognized by your school’s partnered association and immediately be able to issue insurance receipts.

Compared to a bachelor’s degree, a master’s or a technical accreditation, the track to becoming a massage therapist is extremely fast. And jobs are out there.

According to a 2018 study that surveyed 1200 massage therapists, 62% said that they found work in less than one month after graduation.[ii]  And though the industry has changed since 2020 and Covid-19, statistics show that Canadian job postings for massage therapists have gone up 333% since the easing of Covid restrictions.[iii]

IKRAStudents giving massage at the 2018 international Gymnix competition

An industry that is rapidly growing

Experts have also predicted a fast and remarkable growth for the industry. Statistics show that more than 23,000 new job opportunities will pop into the market over the next few years. If these numbers are proven correct, those working in the field will enjoy great earning opportunities and higher job prospects. So, if you are thinking about joining a massage therapy school to embark on a new career path, now is the good time to do it!

An in-demand profession with diverse job opportunities

Once you complete your massage therapy training and become certified, there is a whole wide world out there for you. Explore new options, carve new niches, and redesign this field in whatever way you want. Below are just a few of many possibilities:

  • Working at a Day Spa. This is the most sought-after and high-paying career option for massage therapists. It is not uncommon for massage therapists to work for several spas, accumulating a large enough client base throughout the week to make a comfortable living. There is always a demand for new massage therapists as spas and chiropractic offices are constantly being booked and often need more therapists to fill in the growing demand for massage therapy sessions.
  • Becoming a sports massage therapist. Helping athletes maintain their peak performance is the most exciting thing you can do. As a sports therapist, you will work at a sports event helping athletes prepare for their events as well as treating certain conditions that may arise during the sport such as cramps, sprains, and more.
  • Working from home. You can build your own massage therapy setup at home. Many massage therapists repurpose a spare room in their homes to use as their spa or clinic. This is a great option to minimize costs and optimize net revenue as a massage therapist.
  • Opening a spa. As a massage therapist, you can choose to open your own spa. Many massage therapists rent out office space to use as their spa. It is not uncommon for massage therapists to team up together to buy or rent a commercial property to convert into a day spa.
  • Giving mobile massage therapy. Many professionals are now providing massage services on the go. It’s a very challenging but exciting work environment. With many employees opting to work from home since the pandemic, the demand for in-home massages is growing.
  • Working on a cruise ship. Most cruise ships offer in-house massage services to travelers. If you have sufficient training and love to travel, this is a career option you must consider.

With the increase in demand for massage therapists, you will be very sought after as you grow your list of certifications and develop your reputation. Massage therapy is becoming more popular not only as a luxurious treat but also as a way to relieve muscular tension, and mental stress and to improve quality of life.

Increasing attention to the medical necessity of massage

Thirty years ago, there were little to no studies on the benefits of massage therapy. Back then medical professionals considered it a form of pampering and nothing more. But nowadays, doctors and other medical practitioners commonly recommend massage to patients to help reduce pain, relieve tension and reduce stress.[iv]

For example, to a certain extent, we need stress to survive. But too much stress for too long can be harmful. There’s a growing body of evidence showing that stress is a contributing factor to health issues such as high blood pressure, physical tension, depression and anxiety, to name a few.[v] Stress is pervasive in our society, and massage therapy can help. Studies show that the simple act of touch can reduce stress hormones in the body.[vi] Just imagine what the attentive and skillful touch of a professional massage therapist, reflexologist, or tuina practitioner can do.

With people more isolated and stressed out than ever before there has never been a greater need for massage therapy. With support from medical professionals, the demand for massage therapy can’t help but continue to grow. And in turn, so will the need for massage therapists.

Massage therapist salary potential

After you complete your training at a recognized massage academy, you will have an abundance of career options available to you. Most massage training programs are designed to equip you with all the tools you need to set your foot in the workforce as quickly as possible. Additionally, if you choose to continue your studies and expand your list of certifications, you will have access to the highest paying massage therapy jobs; employers will pay their massage therapists more if they have more certifications on their resumes. Massage therapist income will only continue to increase as the demand for such services will rise in the coming years.

Macro close up of hands doing manipulative massage on female back.

When considering a career as a massage therapist, there’s always a flood of questions: “Will I be able to find a job?” “How long before I can work?” and of course, “Will there be demand?” Not to worry. Massage therapy is an up-and-coming career and a  booming business. In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, by 2029, massage therapy is supposed to grow five times faster (20%) than the average rate of all careers.[i]

With professional massage training and the acquisition of a massage therapy certification, you can earn as much as $79,000, annually with a massage therapist career. While the salaries of massage therapists usually vary based on job type and where you are working, has dropped some averages. As per the data found on Indeed, the average base salary of a massage professional working in Montreal is approximately $42.63 per hour.

Most massage therapists work on an hourly basis. So, if we look at the above statistics, licensed massage therapists working at least 5 hours a day will earn approximately $4,000 per month in Montreal.

Flexible work schedule

As a massage therapist, you get to choose where you work and when you work. Massage therapists have more flexibility than most careers, making it ideal for those who wish to maintain work-life balance and make time for hobbies, studies and loved ones. Massage therapists can choose to work the traditional 9-5 schedule at spas and clinics, or they can choose to work weekends or evenings.

Massage therapy is great for entrepreneurs

Massage therapy is a great career choice for entrepreneurs. Although massage therapists can choose to work at spas and clinics, many choose to start their own massage therapy businesses, allowing them to be their own bosses.

Many massage therapists begin their careers doing massage as a side hustle while keeping their 9-5 jobs. As their list of clientele grows, they find themselves making more money doing massage than they do from their day jobs. Massage therapists who start off part-time often make a full career change—working in a spa setting or an environment that promotes health, relaxation and positivity is quite refreshing compared to the stressful corporate environment, which is why many people who have an entrepreneurial spirit often quit their office jobs to become massage therapists.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35% of massage therapists in the United States are self-employed. A survey from the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) in 2019 revealed that 79% of massage therapists are sole practitioners. As an entrepreneur, you are free to set your own schedule and structure your business according to your own preferences.

In Quebec, 74% of massage therapists are self-employed compared to an average of 12% for all other occupations.

Upon graduating from our Swedish Massage I course, for example, many of our students start their massage businesses out of their own homes, while others do mobile massages at the clients’ locations and at corporate events. The great thing about starting a massage business is that the barrier to entry is very low and requires very little investment.

Massage therapy tends to attract freethinkers who do not do well in a traditional 9-5 work environment, making massage therapy an ideal career for them.

An enjoyable and rewarding career

Massage therapy is a fulfilling and lucrative career choice. The ability to help others through different types of massages is truly rewarding!

Start your massage therapy career with IKRA

In order to reap all of these benefits, you must enroll in a highly professional institution that will assist you in establishing a positive reputation in the industry. Here at IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy, we believe in a comprehensive approach that enables students to learn, grow and discover in a positive and friendly atmosphere. Check out our amazing massage programs. Good Luck!

If you are still weighing out the pros and cons of signing up for massage therapy training courses, read about why you should get started in massage therapy.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Our team of academic advisors will be pleased to help you:

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