New York Massage – Where Are the Therapists

New York Massage Therapy Schools

New York state law stipulates that no matter what massage therapists call themselves – Swedish massage specialist, bodywork practitioner or general massage practitioner – they should all be licensed and must have a registration certificate.  This registration certificate must be renewed every three years if the massage therapist wants to continue practicing in New York.

Some MTs display their license, registration certificate and other licenses obtained in other states in their premises.  If you want to verify the authenticity of a registration certificate you can do so by contacting the Office of the Professions of the New York State Department of Education.

The number of massage therapy licenses issued in New York has remained fairly stable.  In 2004, there were 1,039 issued licenses.  So far, the highest number of NY licenses issued was in 2005 (1,225).  In 2008, that number was slightly lower (1,188).

As for geographical distribution, here are some interesting facts:

1.  There are 62 counties in New York.  Three counties have the highest number of registered licencees:  New York (1,601), followed by Suffolk (1,445) and then Nassau (1,083).
2.  The counties of Kings, Queens, Erie and Monroe follow closely behind with 983, 932, 777 and 698 respectively.
3.  Westchester County has 584 registered licencees.
4.  The counties with the lowest number are:
–  Hamilton (1)
–  Lewis (16)
–  Schoharie (14)
–  Yates (17)

For a massage therapist who is thinking of practicing in New York but desiring a less saturated market, it might be a good idea to review the geographical statistics available at the Department of Education.  Be aware, however, that these statistics may be a little skewed, because the MT’s primary address is the one that’s in the registration files of the Department but may not necessarily be the practice address.  Be aware too that the less saturated markets may mean “no market” for you.  Taking Hamilton County  (Lake Pleasant seat) as an example, it is the least populated county in the state of New York and is also the least populated in all of the eastern half of the United States.  The population density?  Slightly over three people per square mile!  As of 2000, there were about 5,300 inhabitants.

You might have better luck in Schoharie County which has a population of over 31,000 people based on the 2000 census, with a density of 52 people per square mile.

But if there’s a will, there’s a way, they say.  Job opportunities may be limited in smaller counties, but remember that licensed massage therapists can always find work in hospitals, recreational centers or health clubs.  The Basset Hospital of Schoharie County is located in Cobleskill, New York, but there are 12 family hospitals and health care centers that are within a distance of 27 to 50 miles from Schoharie.

Remember:  there may be 14 MTs registered in Schoharie County, but that doesn’t mean all 14 practice there, so there will always be room.  One final encouraging note:  people retire or relocate every year, and massage therapists are no exception!  You could well be the next replacement for the retiring MT in that county.



1 Enlightened Reply

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  1. Thank you for your insightful posting!
    I am a licensed massage therapist in bustling NYC, though my registration shows my address as NJ.

    Best regards from
    Denise W

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