Working as a massage therapist can be an incredibly rewarding career. Not only do you get to help clients to relax and let their tension melt away, but the right massage techniques can also restore movement and better function to areas of the body too.
It only takes around 6 months of training to qualify as a massage therapist, with various specialisms and career options available. However, massage therapists do not work a full 40 hour week, due to the musculoskeletal implications this would create.
The average hours worked per week is usually between 15 and 20. Though, sometimes full time employees may do other duties that they are still being paid for, which would top up their salary.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what massage therapists earn across the UK.
Massage Therapy Salary Expectations
Massage therapists earn an average of between £8.07 and £48.69 per hour, depending on their experience and area of specialism. This would achieve a yearly salary of between £8,392.80 and £50,637.60 based on a 20 hour work week.
The location you work will impact your salary, as typically spas and hotel chains will pay more versus a regular beauty salon. It all depends on whether the location caters more towards budget clientele or the luxury market.
As a self-employed massage therapist, you can charge between £30 and £70 per treatment. If you carried out 20 treatments a week, that would earn you between £31,200 and £72,800 before tax and overheads.
The earning potential is very flexible, as it all depends on how many hours you want to work and how much you charge per treatment. Specialising in advance massage treatments beyond deep tissue and Swedish is the best way to skyrocket your income.
Medical Massage Therapist Salary
Medical massage therapists (also known as sports massage therapists) can expect to earn an average hourly salary of £18.88. Over a 15-20 hour work week, that would give a salary of between £14,726.40 and £19,635.
However, if the professional worked full time (40 hours a week) and also completed other duties as part of their role such as consultations, admin etc, this would equal an average salary of £39,270.40.
Location plays a huge role in the average hourly salary too. In Perth, the average wage is just £12.20 per hour, which more than doubles to £24.96 in London. This would give sports massage therapists in the capital an average salary of between £19,466 and £25,958 even with the reduced work hours.
As a self-employed medical massage therapist, you can expect to command between £30 and £50 per hour, therefore making a salary of £48,000 per year highly achievable, minus any tax or overheads. Those who excel in their field can go on to earn more than this, especially if you work for a reputable sports club or rehabilitation centre.
Medical Massage Vs Regular Massage
Regular massages can involve deep tissue work but usually focus on the relaxation aspect. They are a great way to destress, especially as a form of self-care. Usually, the strokes and techniques are lighter, though sometimes will look at ridding trigger points and areas of tension due to our everyday lifestyles. Aromatherapy and other holistic techniques may be woven into the treatment. Regular massages can be accessed at most beauty salons and spas.
Medical massages use a broad range of techniques, specifically designed to improve muscle health and function, especially in terms of chronic pain or following an injury. Similar to physiotherapy, sports massages are usually administered as a course, with a treatment plan in place to monitor the reduction in pain, and the improvement in movement and overall function of the body. Medical massages are given by physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and similar professionals. Such professionals may specialise in a healthcare or sporting environment.
How Much Do Infant Massage Therapists Make
Infant massage therapists can earn between £15.50 and £30.70 per hour for typical group sessions, or £63.50-£90 per hour for private sessions.
There are some differences between infant massage and regular massage that may affect your earning potential. Firstly, infant massage is not as physically demanding, therefore you could clock up more hours.
However, your clients (babies and their parents) aren’t likely to keep coming back as an adult client would. Therefore, your marketing would need to be consistent to keep a regular stream of new clients.
Do Massage Therapists Need Insurance?
If you are working as an employee, then your employer should have insurance that covers the environment and all those who work within it. For example, if a client was to trip and injure themselves in the salon or if the treatment you give caused an additional injury. Plus all of your stock and equipment in the case of damage or theft.
When you are self-employed, the same need for cover against all the above still applies. However, you’ll need to take out insurance for self-employed massage therapists, which will ensure you are covered directly. Sorting out your insurance before you start your business will protect you against any legal costs.
To Sum Up
Given the relatively short time it takes to become a qualified massage therapist, the salary prospects are pretty promising. As massage therapists usually only work part time, this allows you to achieve a better work-life balance. Or even to be a massage therapist in addition to another job.