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Best Cities For a Licensed Massage Therapist to Practice


Best Cities For a Licensed Massage Therapist to Practice  

If you’re interesting in becoming a licensed massage therapist or recently earned your massage therapy certification, the next question might seem obvious. Where are you going to practice? When you’ve got your career in front of you it’s worth contemplating what parts of the country could benefit your practice the most. Learn more about salary range, cost of living and job availability for massage therapists all over the United States.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia  

Atlanta is one of the nation’s most up-and-coming cities. According to Massage Magazine, Georgia is home to around 6,000 massage therapists serving its 10 million residents. If you’re looking to practice massage therapy with a business or open your own massage therapy practice, you’ll need to register with the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy. You’ll need a minimum of 500 hours from an approved massage therapy program in addition to your certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Atlanta’s real adjusted salary for massage therapists lands at $37,715 annually. Atlanta’s job availability ranks well too, coming in 12th nationally. If you already live in Georgia, you can find massage therapy programs near you in Tucker, Duluth and Gainesville. The Atlanta metropolitan area is full of bustling suburbs just outside of the perimeter that lend themselves to massage therapy practice.

The Atlanta metropolitan population tops 5.6 million people, meaning you’ll find ample job opportunities in this growing industry. If you’re looking for massage therapy programs in the Atlanta area, you’ll find flexible options nearby. Don’t forget that job opportunities for massage therapists include spas, salons, athletic facilities, health clubs, franchises and healthcare locations.

The good news? Many states accept certifications from programs in other states all over the country, so you can practice anywhere without retaking your hours. Some of the best massage therapists are home to Atlanta!


2. Olympia, Washington  

As Washington’s capital city, Olympia has the 4th most massage therapy professionals per capita in the country. With a location quotient (LQ) of 4.07, Olympia is an excellent option for those looking to practice massage therapy and embark on a new path. Olympia is about 60 miles south of Seattle, giving it close proximity to a major metropolitan area with thriving tourism. Olympia also has close proximity to flourishing wildlife and an array of outdoor activities like hiking or mountain biking. The outdoor lifestyle so popular in this area may be why so many massage therapists find promising opportunities to practice in Olympia. In Washington state, you’re required to hold either a certification from the Washington State Board of Massage or an approved out of state program. In addition, Washington requires a few extra training measures including CPR and HIV/AIDS training. The average annual base salary in Olympia is $51,201/year.


3. Austin, Texas

Austin is an artistic and entrepreneurial hub of the south. It’s one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, adding nearly 13,000 people to its population between 2016 and 2017 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a cost of living equal to the national average, the Real Adjusted Salary of just over $56,000 makes Austin a fantastic spot to set up shop. Though these estimates vary some depending on the source, job outlook for massage therapists is on the rise for the 2016-2026 cycle, rising at a 26% rate compared to the 7% growth rate for careers overall. Like Washington, you can practice as a massage therapist in Texas if you’ve completed at least 500 hours in a program of good standing (even if out of state) and passed a licensing exam for that state. From there, you’ll just need to submit your application for licensure in Texas via the Texas Massage Therapist License Application.


4.  Anchorage, Alaska

According to some sources, taking your practice to slightly more remote regions could seriously boost your cash flow. For example, the BLS reported that massage therapists in Anchorage make an annual mean wage of nearly $84,000! Taking your practice to more remote regions of the country could benefit you in a few ways. While demand may be lower due to lower population, you’ll be providing a service with a lot less competition. Massage therapy is a growing industry overall, and you can earn an extra boost by starting your business or gaining experience in the right location for your goals.

Once you’ve earned your massage therapy certification, the world is your oyster! As you work through your program, consider your future plans. Choosing a city or region that suits your long term goals is key. If you’ve recently earned your certification or are currently enrolled in a program, use this list as a guide for weighing your options. 

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