Chair Massage Certification, Training, and Careers

males therapist performing chair massage on female client

Chair massage is a brief session of bodywork during which the client is treated while sitting in a chair.

Massage therapists with chair massage training—also referred to as seated massage or on-site massage—treat clients in airports, workplaces, and many other settings.

The massage, which usually lasts between 5 and 30 minutes, may take place in a special massage chair or an ordinary chair, and focuses on the head, neck, shoulders, back and hips.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to enter this specialized massage field.

Career Overview

If you’ve attended chair massage school, you’ll find that job opportunities are everywhere, from shopping malls to hospitals, from convention centers to sporting events. Many massage therapists provide chair massage services as a part of their regular practice, as a way of introducing a wider range of people to the benefits of massage through short, inexpensive sessions.

Also, more and more employers are recognizing the advantages of providing employees with on-site wellness care. As a result, many massage therapists with chair massage training work in the corporate world.

Chair Massage Certification and Education

What You’ll Study in Chair Massage School

At chair massage school, you’ll learn specialized massage techniques, as well as how to effectively adapt familiar massage skills to the seated massage session. As with other types of massage education, you’ll also learn about anatomy and physiology, body mechanics, business practices and professional ethics.

Average Length of Chair Massage Study

Although chair massage training at the basic level can be completed in as little as a few weeks, a full certificate or diploma program may require 500 to 1000 hours of study. An associate’s degree usually takes about 2 years to complete.

Chair Massage Certification

Massage therapists may be able to receive continuing education credits for chair massage training, ultimately leading to professional certification from the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork). NCBTMB certification requires at least 500 hours of study. However, local and state regulations vary, and not every state requires massage therapists to have a license or certification.

Career Outlook

Employment for massage therapists is projected to increase 22% through 2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook. Massage therapists with chair massage training will be well positioned to take advantage of this growth, with many job opportunities expected in the corporate world. Both the American Massage Therapy Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that employers are showing an increasing interest in wellness, with well-known companies like Google and Eddie Bauer offering massage therapy to employees.

Chair Massage Salary

Chair massage training can earn you a solid income if you’re able to put in the hours. According to the AMTA, massage therapists who work on-site charge about $60 to $70 per hour, plus tips. However, if you work for a spa or franchise, your employer may take out a percentage of your overall earnings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for massage therapists is $41,420. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Sources: NCBTMB, NCCIH, American Massage Therapy Association.

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