Show Me The Money

How Much Can a Massage Therapist Make

How Much Can I Make As A Massage Therapist?

by Rebecca Charles, Health Educator

I’m guessing that for a large majority of you, massage school isn’t a passing whim or a way to spend several thousand dollars for the tax deduction. While this may be the case for some sweet life long learners who are more interested in picking up a new skill set or fulfilling a life long dream, the majority of students entering into a massage therapy program are looking for career development or a career change.

That being said, most people want at least a ballpark idea of what they might make in the field after putting forth time, energy and money into a program. The vast majority of massage therapists (masseuse isn’t the preferred term) either go into private practice and own their own business or they are hired by a spa.

Either way one can make a reasonable living but remember that with each, there will be some pros and cons to weigh out. I’ll break these down more specifically in columns to come, but for today, here are some thoughts.

Where Will You Work

Let’s say that you as an independent business owner opt to charge $65 for a 60 minute session (and we can talk more about session length another day as well). That entire $65 goes into your pocket….until you look at paying your taxes, and expenses (rent or mortgage, utilities, supplies, insurance, professional affiliations, continuing education, etc.). This is a set up that works really well for some people.

There are other folks who own their own practice and opt instead to not rent or own space but to only do “out-calls” massage in the client’s selected location (home, business, hotel, etc.). This changes the expenses on the therapist’s end and can add some additional costs to the client (mileage, travel, wear and tear on your table, and additional equipment).

Working in an established spa or practice is another way to go. Typically there are two different ways this works out. The majority of the time the spa schedules the clients for their services and takes care of laundry and related supplies (lotions, oils, or creams).

In this instance, we will work with the same $65 for a 60 minute session. A therapist would likely make about 35% of the total money or $22.75. That might seems like a significantly lower income, but it does come without a lot of the costs associated. In other spas the split may be different. Perhaps the therapist is responsible for their own laundry and supplies, and in exchange the split is 50/50 instead.

Important Take – A – Way

One thing to remember no matter which path you lean toward is that you are only paid for the time that you are providing a service. This means that your paycheck is directly impacted by how many amazing massage sessions you give.

Most therapists that I know feel like 4-5 sessions a day is a full time work load. Before attending school, I thought it would be easy. But 90 minutes of massage (our typical clinic length) is exhausting and invigorating all at once.

I’ve spoken with numerous therapists throughout my training and they have mixed feeling about what works best for them (spa v. private practice; full time v. part time; out-calls v. based location). This is part of the gift of massage. You have so many choices and adventures ahead of you in every step of your journey. These are just some thoughts to ponder. Until next time…breathe.


2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Marty Heffner says:

    Looking forward to reading more about your experience since I soon will be transitioning from esthetician to LMT in a spa setting!

  2. kim krohn says:

    Nailed it! Great job Becca love it!