5 Tips for a Successful Career in Massage Therapy

July 2, 2022

So, you just graduated from massage school. Congratulations!
Now what?

a massage therapist smiling holding a basket with white towels and essential oil bottles and lavender plant on top

The demand for massage therapists continues to grow each year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of massage therapists is projected to grow by 21% between 2019-2029. Especially in this area, the opportunities for massage therapists and holistic healers are bountiful and include a wide range of environments, from spas to sports teams, to franchises and clinical settings. Narrowing down the appropriate career in massage therapy for you could be difficult. That’s why we’re here to help.


1. Think long term

First and foremost, you don’t want to solely make a decision based on where you see yourself in the short term. Think about what is important to you. Consider whether or not there is a niche that you’d like to work in or specific populations you’d like to focus on, and what type of schedule appeals most to you. Make a list! You are ultimately planning your future lifestyle, so take the time to develop a career plan that rewards you with the life/work balance you’re searching for.


african american male doing exercise in his apartment doing a plank with a yoga ball


2. Practice self-care

You can only properly care for others if you take proper care of yourself. Once you’re working in massage therapy, you will want to ensure that you’re eating properly, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and practicing healthy movement. Taking quiet breaks for yourself to rest throughout the day will also help reduce stress, center yourself, and mentally prepare you for your upcoming appointments. You can also treat yourself to a massage. (We’re sure you probably know some great massage therapists!)


3. Carefully choose your continuing education courses

New York State requires you to take 36 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) every three years. A plethora of classes are available to help enhance your massage therapy practice and give you an advantage in building client relationships and satisfaction. Can you pursue a course that would allow you to specialize in a certain modality? Would you and your clients benefit from a course in creating healthy boundaries? Choose the courses that interest you the most and will benefit your practice and clients.


women writing notes with sticky notes on a planner


4. Stay organized

Keep a careful calendar of your appointments and create reminders for yourself to follow up with clients. Checking in with a client a day or two after a session can make all the difference for client retention and building a relationship with them. Maintain a task list with all the other things you need to do, including supply orders, reminders, and paperwork prompts.


5. Set boundaries

Maintaining ethical and professional boundaries will help ensure that each client’s goals are met and protect you as the massage therapist by providing guidelines to the scope of your therapeutic and holistic practice. Setting boundaries may be difficult as this could result in what may feel like a confrontational approach. Yet by establishing necessary boundaries, you are essentially protecting and respecting yourself and your clients. This is the cornerstone of having a successful career in massage therapy.


Massage therapy is a lucrative career with flexible hours, good pay, security, and job satisfaction. Once you have decided where you will best practice, you will be able to begin your massage therapy journey successfully. We hope that with these tips you will enjoy going to work every single day. When you graduate from our massage therapy program at The Institute for Holistic Health, our career placement services are offered to our students during enrollment and to our graduates at any time after graduation. If you have more questions about career opportunities or career placement services, visit our Career Opportunities page.