Finding a Job in Massage Therapy

Finding a job in today’s market is very different from past years—it starts with job leads instead of the Sunday newspaper. First, check with your massage therapy school training program to see if they provide career services. Massage therapy schools with massage therapy job services will already know what positions are available and have contact information for employers. Next, begin doing searches on the Internet. Information on the Internet will tell who is hiring massage therapists and where.

Explore the many career sites. Not all of them are the same, and it may take you some time to determine which would be best for your profession. The Yellow Pages list nearly all massage therapy businesses. This provides a list of employers that could potentially be hiring. A phone call and a short conversation are all it takes to find out where a possible job may be. Professional organizations, such as the American Massage Therapy Association and Associated Body works of Massage Therapists, provide massage therapy job boards, client referrals, or web pages to start a business. Often these organizations have social events one can attend to begin networking. Make sure to tell family and friends you are looking for a massage therapy job. Often in their day-to-day life, they will hear about some possibilities before they are even put on the massage therapy job boards.


First, the Internet is a large place, and the number of career and job sites is nearly endless. The key to a good job search on the Internet is being efficient. Most jobs applications today are online. Human resource departments when called generally guide you to their Internet site. Go to career sites and scan online job banks. Read the job descriptions that fit massage therapy, see how the site describes skills and qualifications, and use the language found in future searches.

Networking is the number one way of finding a job, and the Internet makes this technique much easier now. Start by networking with professionals at your massage therapy school. Sign up for massage therapist forums, chats, and professional organization on Internet sites. Engage in conversation with participants about jobs, possible openings, and professional information on best massage techniques. Recruiters often sign up for these sites as well, perusing the discussions and seeking good candidates for positions they have open. The number one rule in a discussion group is to be nice. Be aware that this method gives a person easy first contact, but it takes longer to develop a personal relationship.

The Internet is a large library as well. A job seeker can research numerous companies and contact them. Many sites have their own job boards, and jobs there may not appear anywhere else on the net. Target some companies and post regularly to gain insight and information. You may not get a job there, but it may lead to another opportunity.

Last but not least are job banks, such as and There are literally thousands of jobs posted daily to these sites. Efficient searching is key. Make sure your search terms are targeted and specific. People are hired daily from these sites.


A good place to start a job search is at a university or college. These placement centers provide a full range of services from helping students write résumés to practicing job interviews. Increasingly, university career placement services are being put online, which makes for easier access. Placement services that are online often allow graduates’ résumés to be posted. These places normally have job sites listing summer and part-time work.

Most massage therapy school placement centers specialize in matching their graduating students with interested businesses. This relationship makes these centers a valuable resource for finding trends in massage therapy and knowing who is hiring in the area. It also means they can tell a student how to tailor their résumé and cover letter so they have the best chance of getting a massage therapy job.

Placement centers provide career counselors. Counselors can give advice, analyze résumés, and provide alternative job ideas. They also have information on the best places to search for jobs and how to do Internet searches efficiently.

Another function of placement centers is providing workshops and job fairs. Workshops can have general information on finding a career or may be specific to a career field. The best part is students get an opportunity to network with professionals in the field. Job fairs are large events where colleges contact employers and invite them to set up booths on campus. Students have an opportunity to talk with human resource personnel, apply for jobs, and interview. Whether a job opportunity appears or not, the job fair is a great event for practicing job search skills.

Contact Well-known Employers Directly

There is a hidden job market. Often employers know they are going to need people at a certain position at a certain time. It often takes some time for jobs and job descriptions to work their way from job boards to the public. In general, most companies seek employees from within their ranks, and then take any recommendations from employees of people they may know, and finally send the job description to public job boards if they have not found a candidate. If a job seeker can intervene before a job goes public, their chances of being hired go up dramatically since there is less competition. Employers want to fill jobs as easily and quickly as they can.

There is an art to contacting employers directly. As odd as it sounds, when you first make contact you do not ask for a job. The best approach is to ask for information on departments or the company. Ask about mission statements or the philosophy of the company. The research a job seeker gains here helps them determine if the company is a place they would want to work or determine what department would be best for them. Often employers will refer you to other businesses. This technique is especially useful with smaller companies and businesses where key people make hiring decisions.

Individual employers often have websites and business directories where a job seeker may apply. Even if a position is not presently open, it is a good place to go ahead and apply. Companies are always hiring, and any time a job seeker can get ahead of the crowd, it is an advantage. Many times your teachers at massage therapy school were once massage therapist professionals and have suggestions on whom to contact.

Get Help

There are alternative ways of getting a job that do not involve searching. Three of the most common ways are headhunters, temporary agencies, and staffing agencies.

Headhunters are people who earn a living by having a specific business clientele. A headhunter will have a network of personnel at massage therapy schools, companies, and businesses. These personnel feed information to the headhunter and provide job descriptions. The companies pay headhunters a commission for finding ideal candidates. Once a possible candidate is found, the headhunter screens them, determines if the candidate should be interviewed, and puts them on a list. Headhunters interview candidates on the short list and then send possible candidates to their clients. A candidate then enters that company’s normal job process of interviewing and hiring. A job seeker sends a résumé to a headhunter and has to wait for a call to see if he or she is a match to a position.

Temp agencies are places that provide staffing for various entities when their employees are vacationing, on medical leave, or have left a position. Job seekers sign up with the agency. Often the agency then screens and interviews a candidate to see if they meet that agency’s standards. If they do, then they are placed in a database, and as positions come available, they are sent to various job sites. The advantage for new massage therapists is they get to try out many different work environments without any long-term commitment. Also, temp positions can turn into permanent positions. It is job searching by working. Temp agencies tend to be local entities so check city Yellow Pages for the ones that specialize in therapist or health care jobs.

Staffing agencies are slightly different than temp agencies. Staffing agencies may provide temporary employees to job sites. They also maintain jobs for part-time and full-time workers. Often you are paid by the staffing agency and not the business you are sent to work at.


Socializing, better known as networking, is using your personal or business contacts to find a massage therapy job. Talking to people gets you information on leads. There are three types of socializing in this manner: personal networking, professional organization or business networking, and social networking.

Personal networking is telling all your family and friends you are looking for a massage therapy job. Ask them if they know of any positions or if their friends know of places where massage therapists work. Also, people you know in your daily routine, such as workers at coffeehouses, restaurants, or stores that you frequent, are fair game. Simply tell them what you are looking for and ask if they know anyone that might be able to lead you to a massage therapy job. People like to help and do not mind giving out this information. Do not forget to network with your teachers from massage therapy school. They often have contacts in the industry. Professional organizations or business networking consists of attending more formal events where organizations intentionally plan an event for people to meet. Often speakers or companies attend who are looking for good candidates for positions they have available. It is a good idea to take a résumé since when networking you may discover someone has the perfect job for you. These meetings often are combined with workshops or seminars, which are a great place to network. Do not miss these. Presenters often provide information on trends and available jobs.

Social networking is using Internet sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other forums. If you have accounts on social networks, then post you are looking for a massage therapy job. Be careful not to provide too much personal information, such as where you live or phone numbers. It is better to just make a general statement about looking for a job. Many businesses have a Facebook page or a Twitter site that will contain information on positions. Also, search for massage therapy forums. Often professionals post good information on the industry. Be aware that it is not proper net etiquette to ask directly for a job. Forums are sites that point you in other beneficial directions.


Interning is when a student or recent graduate from a massage therapy school is placed in a work program to gain practical experience in their field. Internships vary from a few weeks to months. Some internships provide pay, and some are considered part of a student’s class work. Most internships are supervised because, in most cases, a student is not licensed to practice yet. Internships help a student develop career direction.

Internships vary in form. Some internships are integrated into the classroom experience and are part of the school training. These are the easiest and most convenient. Some are a temporary job held for several weeks to gain experience. Other internships are more like mentoring or shadowing. A student is paired with a professional that they follow throughout the day to observe and gather information on their career.

Benefits for students are enormous. A student learns to relate in a business environment and understand what is expected from an employee. A student makes numerous contacts with clients and other professionals. These contacts can be used to find a job. Students can use the professionals they worked for as references.

Book learning and practice are never exactly like a real job. An internship is a good opportunity to apply the knowledge a student has acquired to a job. It lets a student work out in a safe environment what kind of massage therapist they wish to be.

In the Meantime

Sometimes it takes a while to find a job or to find the job that is right for you. Never think of this as wasted time. A person can do many things to improve their career while waiting for employment. It is one of the few times in your life you will have the leisure of time. If a job does not happen right away, a student may want to look at continuing their massage therapy school education at a higher level. Massage therapy schools provide a basic education, but there are areas a massage therapist can specialize in with little additional training. More education can dramatically increase your chances for a job or provide more contacts to find a job.

It takes time to polish a résumé, and résumés need tweaking for each job applied to. Once you have a basic résumé, use it to create several versions that cater to different aspects of massage therapy you may be interested in. Today key word software is used to find résumés of possible candidates. By tweaking a résumé and using words from a job description, you may open a door to an interview.

Practice, practice, practice for the job interview. Résumés only get a student a job interview. It is the interview that gets a student the job. Many a job has been lost simply because a highly qualified candidate got too nervous during an interview. The best prevention for nerves in this situation is practicing. Have answers ready for the common questions interviewers ask massage therapists.