Sports Massage Training and Careers

woman athlete having calf rubbed by trainer

Get Sports Massage Therapy Training and Start a Career in Sports

Professional sports stars, amateur athletes, and even those of us aspiring to live more active lifestyles can all benefit from sports massage therapy.

From flexibility to rehabilitation, sports massage training teaches students how to treat a wide range of muscle and performance issues and emphasizes injury prevention as key to boosting the life of a person’s sporting career.

Career Overview

Sports massage therapists deliver treatments before professional competitions to help improve an athlete’s flexibility and after competitions to alleviate injuries or keep muscles from tightening. They might also work in private practice, health care or athletic facilities where they provide sports massage therapy to everyday clients seeking some of the many benefits of sports massage, such as these:

  • Faster recovery from strenuous workouts
  • Increased flexibility and long range motion
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Reduced muscle spasms and strain
  • Reduced blood pressure and stress
  • Rehabilitation from injuries or chronic pain

Training and Education

What You’ll Study in Sports Massage Therapy School

As part of an overall massage therapy curriculum, sports massage training encompasses a wide range of modalities. Practitioners can use these sports-specific techniques on-site at events like marathons, cycling tours or triathlons or in a private office as part of maintenance or preventive health regimens.

Students interested in sports massage training can expect to take classes that cover these topics:

Average Length of Study

Sports massage training programs generally involve 700 or more hours of combined classroom and hands-on clinical practice. On average, students can complete their training in about 12 months.

Average Tuition

Tuition for sports massage training ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. Sports massage training at community colleges might cost a little less, and private massage schools might cost a little more. Many massage schools offer financial aid packages to help students cover the costs of their sports massage training.

Sports Massage Licensing

Sports massage therapists must meet the same requirements for licensing in their state as other massage therapists. Typically, this means graduating from an accredited massage therapy program and passing the MBLEx.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) current Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of massage-related occupation, like sports massage therapy, will grow at much faster than average rate. The country’s ongoing interest in health and fitness, and in massage as a means to achieving flexibility and reducing stress, will play a significant role in the career outlook for sports massage therapists over the coming decade.

Sports Massage Therapy Salary

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors. You can search and compare massage therapy salaries for your state here.

Change Location

Average Salary

Massage Therapists$47,180

Projected job growth: 22.2%

Avg Annual Salary$47,180
$21,810 $80,630
Bottom 10%Top 10%
Physical Therapists$90,170

Projected job growth: 21.9%

Avg Annual Salary$90,170
$62,120 $124,740
Bottom 10%Top 10%
Exercise Physiologists$54,750

Projected job growth: 9.7%

Avg Annual Salary$54,750
$34,990 $78,310
Bottom 10%Top 10%

Average salary information is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on the 2019 payroll records of business establishments. Actual salaries vary greatly depending on your location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and many other factors. Please note that salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Learn more about massage therapist salaries.

Is a Sports Massage Therapy Career Right for You?

A career in sports massage requires training in a broad range of massage therapy modalities, in-depth knowledge of injuries and rehabilitative treatments, and, in many cases, a willingness to stand ready and waiting on the sidelines of sporting events to treat participants in urgent situations. Additionally, you’ll need strong communication and business skills to help you build a sports massage practice.

If you are interested in a sports massage therapy career, take a closer look at sports massage training schools. Then choose the sports massage program that meets your personal and professional needs.

Sources:,,, Nevada School of Massage Therapy, National Holistic Institute

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