Massage Therapists

(NOC 3236)

in All Health

Massage therapists assess soft tissues and joints of the body for treatment and prevention of dysfunction, injury, pain, and physical disorders. They work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals, clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres and educational institutions. Massage therapists may be trained in various specialized massage techniques.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 310 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 3550 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 6335 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Massage Therapists may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a average portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The aging population has been a key factor supporting growth in demand for services, as well as expanding private medical insurance coverage. In addition to traditional employment settings such as spas, massage therapists are now an important part of wellness clinics working in conjunction with other health professions. The profession is physically demanding and can result in early-career attrition. Established massage therapists need to acquire new knowledge and complimentary techniques to broaden their scope of services, remain employable, and attract new clients. Some clinics have reported difficulty in filling vacancies, especially in smaller communities throughout Nova Scotia.

Hourly Pay

$18.00

Minimum

$35.00

Median

$55.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,816

Minimum

$24,391

Median

$48,248

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.70

Minimum

$26.60

Median

$43.30

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Massage therapists assess soft tissues and joints of the body for treatment and prevention of dysfunction, injury, pain, and physical disorders. They work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals, clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres and educational institutions. Massage therapists may be trained in various specialized massage techniques.

Job duties

Massage therapists:

  • Assess clients by conducting range of motion and muscle tests and propose treatment plans.
  • Explain procedures, risks, and benefits to clients.
  • Administer massage techniques, treating soft tissues and joints of the body through soft tissue manipulation, relaxation techniques, hydrotherapy, trigger point therapy, joint pain and lower grade mobilizations, remedial exercise programs and client self-help programs.
  • Suggest home care instructions and provide information about techniques for further postural improvement and stretching, strengthening, relaxation and rehabilitative exercises.
  • Maintain records of treatments given.
  • May consult with other health care professionals like physiotherapists, chiropractors, physicians, and psychologists when developing treatment plans for clients.

Sample job titles

  • massage therapist (MT)
  • massotherapist
  • myotherapist
  • orthotherapist
  • registered massage practitioner
  • registered massage therapist (RMT)
  • Thai massage therapist

Skills

  • You must be able to communicate effectively with people and demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility, good judgement, patience, and self-discipline. Therapists must be creative and unique in their approach to each client. The ability to inspire confidence and to motivate clients is important. A strong sense of responsibility, good judgement, and communication skills are also necessary. Massage therapists also require physical stamina.

Job requirements

  • Massage therapists usually require an 18- to 24-month or 18- to 36-month program in massage therapy from an accredited school and a period of supervised practical training.

Other considerations

  • The work of a massage therapist can be physically demanding. Hours of work depend on each work setting and therapists. Some work evenings and weekends. Others work part-time in several locations.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,000

employed in 2016

62.7%

employed full-time

58.2%

self employed

87.1%
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12.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.7

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

53.2%

Halifax

$24,341 median annual income
14.9%

North Shore

$21,729 median annual income
14.4%

Annapolis Valley

$28,886 median annual income
9.5%

Southern

$25,107 median annual income
8.0%

Cape Breton

$24,317 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

87.9%

Health care and social assistance

6.8%

Other services (except public administration)

2.1%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

1.1%

Construction

1.1%

Professional, scientific and technical services

What is the age of Employment?

35.0%

25-34

28.0%

35-44

21.0%

45-54

8.0%

15-24

6.0%

55-64

1.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

65.0%

College Diploma

$24,395 median annual income
24.5%

Bachelor

$23,299 median annual income
5.0%

Trade Certification

$18,988 median annual income
4.0%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$28,020 median annual income
1.0%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Massage Therapy

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs prepare students to provide relief and improved health and well-being to clients through the application of manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles, and connective tissues. They include courses in Western (Swedish) massage, sports massage, myotherapy/trigger point massage, myofascial release, deep tissue massage, cranio-sacral therapy, reflexology, massage safety and emergency management, client counselling, practice management, applicable regulations, and professional standards and ethics.

Institutions providing this program

Eastern College - Halifax

Halifax, NS

Island Career Academy

Sydney, NS

ICT Northumberland College

Halifax, NS

Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Massage Therapist/Registered Massage Therapist

Right to Title: This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional designation. Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial standards for the job. Employers may require professional designation, but professional designation is not necessary to do this work.

Regulating body:
Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Massage Therapist/Registered Massage Therapist

Right to Title: This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional designation. Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial standards for the job. Employers may require professional designation, but professional designation is not necessary to do this work.

Regulating body:
Massage Therapists' and Wholistic Practitioners Association of the Maritimes
Dartmouth, NS

Contacts

Natural Health Practitioners of Canada
Edmonton, AB

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.