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Freelance Massage Therapist: Job Description, Income & Salary, and How To Become

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The massage therapy industry has seen a steady rise in demand for freelance professionals due to the flexibility and convenience offered by the self-employed route.

Becoming a freelance massage therapist is a great way to build a successful career in the healthcare and wellness sector.

It’s also a career that offers many opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of clients.

What Is a Freelance Massage Therapist

Let’s cover the basics of being a massage therapist.

A freelance massage therapist provides therapeutic massage services to clients on a contractual, part-time or full-time basis.

They often work independently in private practice or as subcontractors for larger businesses and organizations.

Freelance massage therapists may specialize in certain types of massage, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports, or hot stone.

Massage therapy requires specialized training to become qualified, and those who pursue the profession can expect to benefit from continuing education and professional development opportunities.

This introduction will provide an overview of the qualifications and skills needed, job outlook and description, as well as advice on how to become a successful freelance massage therapist.

What Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Do?

Freelance massage therapists provide a variety of body care treatments and therapies such as body scrubs, massage, therapeutic baths, waxing, manicures, aromatherapy, electrotherapy, makeup by makeup artists, nail treatments, facials, and more.

They use varying pressure to improve circulation and target tense or knotted muscles.

Massage therapists must do the following:

  • Access physical therapy needs of clients
  • Employ massage techniques to treat various muscle groups
  • Counsel clients on post-massage activities
  • Provide a serene environment to conduct massages.

They also communicate with clients about their comfort level and what areas they would like to focus on.

Massage therapists must maintain knowledge of human anatomy and the musculoskeletal system to effectively target points of tension in a client’s body and ease physical stress symptoms.

You must sign up for training and take courses to become a massage therapist.

These courses provide you with the necessary training that makes you aware of the fundamental anatomy and physiology of the human body.

In addition, massage therapists may need to get a CPR certification or a background check or be required to carry liability insurance, either personally or through an employer.

The salary of a freelance massage therapist will depend on several factors, such as the location of the clients, experience, qualifications, etc.

Most states require massage therapists to be licensed, but this varies.

Research this at the city and state levels, as some cities have different standards from the state requirement.

Freelance massage therapists will gain a lot of hands-on experience that prepares them to grow their careers in a variety of sectors including medicine, hospitality, and sports.

Those who freelance must be creative and good with self-management.

Top Freelance Massage Therapist Jobs and Careers

You can work in other ways as a massage therapist besides freelancing.

Massage therapy has been used in many medical facilities, hotels, and resorts.

All of these fields provide one-on-one client interaction where you can put your massage therapist skills to good use.

Chiropractic Massage Therapist

Most people go to chiropractors for back and neck pain.

Sometimes the solution is a deep tissue massage.

This is why Chiropractic offices have the use of trained massage therapists.

Sports Physical Therapist

Sports injuries are common.

Athletes put a lot of wear and tear on their bodies.

Professional teams, as well as collegiate sports teams, have physical therapists on staff.

While a massage therapist and a physical therapist are not the same, physical therapy is a great career progression for a freelance massage therapist.

Spa and Resort Massage Therapist

You can take your freelance career to the next level by working at reputable hotels and spas.

Some brands hire massage therapists as a part of their staff, while others may contract with your freelance service offerings.

What Is It Like to Be a Freelance Massage Therapist?

Once you have gained the training and apprenticeships needed to become a massage therapist, you’ll begin your career by yourself.

Being a freelancer can be challenging because everything falls on you.

Here is how freelancing as a massage therapist can look for you.

Is Being a Freelance Massage Therapist Hard?

While there are some downsides to being a massage therapist because of the physical strain it can place on your body, most people in this field are highly satisfied with their work.

A recent study surveyed 1,200 licensed massage therapists to gain insight into their job satisfaction.

The results found that 88% of surveyed massage therapists were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their careers.

Is a Freelance Massage Therapist’s Job Stressful?

The field of massage therapy can become stressful when it comes to finding clients.

Additionally, physical stress may result if you do not spend time stretching and taking care of your physical health.

Massage therapists put a lot of pressure on their hands, joints, spine, and neck.

While this type of stress is not good, massage therapists’ stress level is lighter mentally.

Since massage therapy is to heal clients in a warm and soothing meditative atmosphere, this can benefit the massage therapist from mental stress.

Common Freelance Therapy Workday

The workday of a freelance massage therapist can vary greatly depending on their circumstances.

Some therapists prefer to work full-time, and others only take clients when it is convenient for them.

A typical workday for a freelance massage therapist might include setting up the workspace, preparing supplies, and welcoming the client.

Administratively, a freelance massage therapist must manage their calendar and secure new clients.

Without this activity, your massage business may shrink and dissolve.

A freelance massage therapist should study their competitors, discover new and exciting ways to attract clients, and invest in their massage room to ensure a serene and inviting environment for clients.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Freelance massage therapists can create their workday based on their individual needs.

This makes this field easy to do and promotes a healthy work/life balance.

Freelance massage therapists typically work between 5 and 8 hours a day, but there is no limit to how much or how little they can work.

Depending on their schedule, they may also need to perform administrative tasks such as keeping records, doing paperwork, and marketing themselves.

As with any job, you should create a schedule that works for you.

Freelancing gives you space to create a schedule around other activities and obligations.

Freelance Massage Therapy Salary and Income

Being a freelance massage therapist in the United States is an attractive career option for those looking for flexibility and control over their work.

The median annual salary for massage therapists in the US is $46,910 as of May 2021.

Freelancing as a massage therapist is expected to grow 20% from 2021 – 2031.

This growth is creating an estimated 29,000 openings per year, on average, over the decade.

Freelance massage therapists can set their rates depending on their location, experience, and the type of massage therapy they provide.

Ensure that you are getting paid appropriately, and researching what other massage therapists are getting paid in your area can help guide your rate setting.

Additionally, freelance massage therapists might need to look into other avenues to find health insurance, as health insurance for freelancers can be difficult to come by.

Becoming a freelance massage therapist requires completing an education program combining study and experience.

Each state has different standards and requirements for gaining licensure, so it is important to research the regulations in the area where you plan to practice.

Once you’ve completed the necessary education and training, you will be able to provide massage therapy services to your clients.

The massage therapy profession does have some potential physical drawbacks, such as tendonitis, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Taking care of yourself and giving yourself breaks when needed is important.

If you are serious about making a successful career out of massage therapy, becoming a freelance massage therapist could help you reach your goals.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Freelance Massage Therapists

Below are some commonly asked questions about the education and skill requirements needed to become a freelance massage therapist.

Who should consider a freelance therapist career path?

Those who should consider being a massage therapist are those with a passion for helping others, strong physical stamina, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work with various people.

Massage therapists often have the opportunity to set their own hours and make their own schedules, which can benefit those seeking flexibility in their careers.

Additionally, with the increasing popularity of massage therapy, there is a growing demand for knowledgeable professionals, meaning that there are immediate prospects for employment.

On the other hand, those with arthritis, chronic back pain, or neck pain should not be a massage therapist, as this job might not be the best choice.

Furthermore, other health risks associated with this profession include ganglion cysts, ligament injuries, and hand nerve irritation.

Therefore, you should consider the positives and the negatives of being a massage therapist before pursuing this career path.

Is it hard to become a freelance massage therapist?

Freelance massage therapy is not easy, but it can be very rewarding.

Massage therapy does not require formal education, though there are many courses available to hone one’s healing skills.

Some basic knowledge is necessary in order to provide a safe and professional service.

While no advanced degrees are required, there are required courses and training hours that you must meet according to your state’s license requirements.

The curriculum is not particularly difficult.

The training is hands on and there is education on medical terminology that you’ll need to learn.

The potential income of a freelance massage therapist will vary depending on various factors.

For example, sports massage tends to offer a higher salary.

Additionally, costs such as insurance, travel, and equipment should be accounted for when determining one’s income.

Furthermore, finding your first clients as a freelance massage therapist requires outreach and networking.

What do I need to become a massage therapist?

Freelance massage therapists have the benefit of setting their own hours, but they will still need to possess the same qualifications as those working in a spa or massage therapy clinic.

These qualifications include completing an accredited program such as the Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB).

It’s then possible to pursue these up to degree-level.

Alternatively, it is possible to pursue an advanced apprenticeship to gain some of the knowledge and skills required.

Personal skills which are useful for a massage therapist include communication, physical strength and stamina, empathy, business skills, organizational and timekeeping, and motivation and enthusiasm.

Potential therapeutic massage therapists should also have excellent manual dexterity, physical stamina and strength, and a strong sense of empathy.

Experience and certification can also be beneficial for a freelance massage therapist.

Depending on the state, prospective massage therapists should pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) to become licensed.

Additionally, voluntary specialty certifications can demonstrate expertise in a specific type of massage, such as sports or therapeutic.

How To Become a Freelance Massage Therapist

The most popular way to find freelance massage therapy jobs is to use online job boards.

Most mainstream freelance job sites will have an appropriate section for massage therapists, so it’s worth checking out these sites first.

Additionally, you can look for opportunities with businesses such as Secret Spa, which match massage therapists with clients via their platform.

Other ways to look for freelance massage therapy jobs include building a list of local businesses that offer employment, such as hospitals, gyms, and spas.

You can also find them by networking with other professionals in related areas, such as personal trainers, beauticians, or hair stylists, and promoting yourself via social media or local message boards.

Once you have identified potential employers, you will need to apply for the job.

Each employer may have a different application process, so make sure to read any instructions carefully.

As part of the application process, you may need proof that you are qualified, experienced in massage therapy, and have a valid license.

Every state has licensure laws that govern what you’re allowed to do and where you can legally work, so make sure you understand the regulations pertaining to your area.

Depending on the particular requirements, you may also need to pay a fee and show proof of insurance.

Check the government regulations in your area and consider investing in health coverage and other services that can help you succeed as a self-employed massage therapist.

With the right qualifications, experience, and determination, you can have a successful career as a freelance massage therapist.

Similar Careers to Check

These careers below are similar to freelancing as a massage therapist.

Check out how similar they are.

Traveling Hair Stylist

A traveling hair stylist is a licensed hairstylist who travels to their client’s location to provide hair styling services.

Depending on the traveling hair stylist, they may travel locally, to different cities, or even around the world.

A traveling hair stylist typically brings their equipment, including shampoo and other products, in their travel case.

Freelance Hair Stylist

A freelance hairstylist is a self-employed individual who works independently with their client base.

They can either have a physical location from which they work or be mobile and visit their clients’ homes.

To become a freelance hairstylist, it’s important to pursue a professional course in hairstyling from a reputed institute.

Spin Instructor

A spin instructor, or an indoor cycling instructor, is a fitness professional who plans and leads fitness courses.

They lead indoor cycling classes, motivating students to exercise.

Spin instructors create routines for classes that vary.

They can span different lengths of time and cater to different skill levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some more frequently asked questions people have about becoming a freelance massage therapist.

Is massage therapy a good side hustle?

Yes, there are plenty of massage-related gig jobs.

Massage therapy offers great freelancing benefits, such as setting your hours and making a decent income at an hourly rate.

Massage therapy is a great side hustle because personal massages can be scheduled around the clock.

If you have a day job, you can easily work with clients before or after work.

Is it hard to get clients as a massage therapist?

Freelancing in any field requires great networking skills.

Getting clients might be difficult for you if you need to learn how to market yourself and are not accustomed to introducing yourself in new spaces.

Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to overcome this.

You can also use apps like Zeel Massage or Soothe App, both of which cater to therapists and clients looking to connect for gigs.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, becoming a freelance massage therapist can be a rewarding career choice.

You can set your prices and schedule and work with clients on your terms, as massage work can be done as a side hustle.

Working independently can also reduce the risk of physical burnout since you can take breaks and manage your workload as necessary.

Finally, you can also travel and work in different environments, such as spas, hotels, and chiropractic offices.

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