Massage Therapists

Occupation:Massage Therapists

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.

Job duties:
Massage therapists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • 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 such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, physicians and psychologists when developing treatment plans for clients.

Massage therapists may be trained in various specialized massage techniques.

Sample job titles:
  • massage therapist (MT)
  • massotherapist
  • myotherapist
  • orthotherapist
  • registered massage practitioner
  • registered massage therapist (RMT)
  • Thai massage therapist

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 completion of 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:


Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

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. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 35% of Massage Therapists who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $26,277. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2016 and 2018Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2016-2018Estimated rate of unemployment in 2017 Estimated hourly earnings in 2016 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2010
Massage Therapists650Strong growth110Low
Minimum: $19.49
Median: $24.20
Maximum: $40.63
Minimum: $4,917
Median: $19,725
Maximum: $43,121
Occupations in Health32,750Strong growth4,090Low
Minimum: $16.00
Median: $25.24
Maximum: $40.00
Minimum: $11,248
Median: $42,129
Maximum: $84,796
Massage TherapistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time58%80%
Percent self-employed50%9%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMassage TherapistsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern Region17%x12%$30,581
Northern Region12%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton4%x12%$32,974
Annapolis Valley9%x13%$32,958
Top 5 Industries of Employment% Employed
Health Care and Social Assistance71%
Other Services25%
Other Industries5%
What are the workers like?
AgeMassage TherapistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age3044
GenderMassage TherapistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationMassage TherapistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx1.5%$27,581
High schoolxx6.3%$24,119
Trades certificate10.9%$22,1228.2%$31,728
College certificate or diploma63.6%$18,99435.8%$36,693
University certificate or diploma6.2%$11,1757.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree14.0%$17,14723.4%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma2.3%N/A2.5%$61,833
Master's degreexx5.0%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx8.5%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Massage Therapist
Special Requirements:Standards exist for this job in Nova Scotia. Certification or membership in a professional body may be required by employers, however, a certificate is not legally needed to work in this occupation.
Regulating body:
Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia
PO Box 9410, Station A
Halifax, NS B3K 5S3
(902) 429-2190
(902) 425-2441
Useful contacts:
Massage Therapists' and Wholistic Practitioners' Association of the Maritimes
1701 Hollis Street, Suite 800
Halifax, NS B3J 3M8
Tel: (902) 482-9690
Fax: (902) 404-7428

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Massage therapy/therapeutic massage
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to provide relief and improved health and well-being to clients through the application of manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles, and connective tissues. These programs 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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Eastern College - Halifax
6940 Mumford Road, Suite 111
Halifax, NS B3L 0B7
(902) 423-3933
Island Career Academy
721 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2H4
(902) 564-6112
ICT Northumberland College
1888 Brunswick Street, 5th Floor
Halifax, NS B3J 3J8
(902) 425-2869
Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy
Mumford Professional Centre, 6960 Mumford Road, Suite 180 Suite 180 - 6960 Mumford Road
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
(902) 832-3268
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.