Medical Massage Therapist Education and Career Pathways

By | July 16, 2023
Medical Massage Therapist Education
The medical massage therapist career begins with a Bachelor’s degree education followed by one year or more of internship.

This post presents detailed information on the medical massage therapist education and career, to help you learn how to become one, including obtaining a license and advancing your career.

Why Choose Medical Massage Therapist Career?

There are several reasons you should choose the medical massage therapist career:

  1. You can earn a good salary as compared to other professions.
  2. It offers a wide scope of practice and opportunities for advancement.
  3. There are many job openings available.
  4. It provides an excellent opportunity to work with people from different cultures.
  5. It helps you to develop your skills in communication, interpersonal relations, problem solving and decision making.

Medical Massage Therapist Education Requirements

The educational requirements for becoming a medical massage therapist include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or a higher degree in any field of study that involves the use of hands and fingers.
  • Completion of at least one year of internship after graduation.

Medical Massage Therapist Continuing Education

Continuing education is important for all professionals. In order to maintain their license, they must complete continuing education credits every two years.

These credits may be obtained through self-study, seminars, workshops, conferences, etc.

Medical Massage Therapist Certification/License

In addition to the education requirement, it is also necessary to obtain a certification or license before practicing as a medical massage therapist. The following licenses are recognized by COMTA:

  • Certified Medical Massage Therapist (CMMT): This is the highest level of accreditation.

To become certified, applicants must meet the standards set forth by COMTA and pass the examination administered by the National Board of Certification in Massage Therapy.

  • Registered Medical Massage Therapist (RMT): This is the second highest level of accreditation offered by COMTA.

Applicants must have passed the CMMT exam and have been issued a certificate of registration.

They must then complete a minimum of 200 hours of supervised clinical experience under a registered medical massage therapist.

  • Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT): This is the lowest level of accreditation offered.

Applicants must have completed the RMT course and have been licensed by the state where they plan to practice.

They must then complete 100 hours of supervised clinical experience. 

Medical Massage Therapist Career Pathways

There are a branch of career pathways for a medical massage therapist. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Exercise physiologist

An exercise physiologist is someone who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and management of physical disabilities associated with exercise.

He or she works closely with patients, physicians, nurses, therapists, and others involved in the care of persons with disabilities. 

2. Physical therapist

A physical therapist is a health professional that diagnoses and treats disorders of muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, skin, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, head, neck, spine, and other body systems. 

3. Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is an allied healthcare profession concerned with the promotion, restoration, and maintenance of optimal functioning and independence in people of all ages.

An occupational therapist uses a variety of assessment tools to determine what activities are safe and appropriate for each client. 

4. Athletic trainer

An athletic trainer is a person trained in the evaluation, prevention, and treatment of injuries related to sports and recreational activities.

Their primary focus is on athletes, but they also work with individuals participating in any type of sport or recreational activity. 

5. Chiropractor

Chiropractic medicine is a system of alternative medicine that focuses on the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and nervous system.

6. Acupuncturist

Acupuncture is one of the most ancient practices of Chinese medicine. It involves inserting fine needles into specific points on your body to balance energy flow throughout your body.

Others include: 

How to Advance your Medical Massage Therapist Career

There are many different ways to advance your career as a medical massage therapist. These include:

  1. Right fit

The first thing you need to do is choose which path suits you best. You should make sure that this field fits your personality and interests.

If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to change your mind. There are so many options out there!

2. Be patient

This is not easy at all. The job market is very competitive these days. So if you want to get ahead, you have to keep working hard. Don’t expect too much too soon.

3. Get certified

If you want to become a medical massage therapist, then you must complete a certification program. This will give you more credibility when applying for jobs.

4. Take advantage of opportunities

If you have good skills and experience, you can apply them to other fields. For example, if you are good at treating back pain, you could try becoming a chiropractor.

Or if you are good at helping people recover from surgery, you could try becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

5. Networking

Another excellent technique to boost your profession is by networking. Join local associations to network with new professionals.

Make friends with individuals who have previously achieved success. Share ideas and tips with others.

How to find a Good Medical Massage Therapist School

You may wonder how to find a good school for a medical massage therapy career. Here are some tips to apply:

  1. Look for accredited schools

Accredited schools offer quality education. They follow strict standards and guidelines set by their accrediting bodies.

These include things like having qualified instructors, offering hands-on training, providing clinical placements, and holding regular exams.

2. Check reviews

Check online forums and ask around before enrolling in a school. Ask people who graduated from the same school about their experiences.

Also check the school’s website or social media accounts.

3. Consider distance learning programs

Some schools offer online courses. These allow students to learn at home while still maintaining full time employment. Some even provide continuing education credits.

4. Choose a reputable school

Look for accredited schools that have been around for a long time. And look for schools that have high student satisfaction ratings.

5. Visit campus

Visit the school’s campus. See what it looks like, where classes are held, and what facilities they have. Ask questions about the curriculum, faculty, and staff. 

How to be Successful in your Medical Massage Therapist Career

Being a medical massage therapist requires patience, perseverance, and dedication. But it also takes a lot of skill and knowledge.

Below are some tips on how to succeed in your medical massage therapist career:

  1. Know yourself

It is important to know yourself well. What motivates you? What makes you happy? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Knowing yourself helps you understand why you work the way you do. It also assists you in identifying areas for improvement.

2. Be humble

Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on improving yourself every day. Learn something new. Grow as a person.

And constantly aspire to be better than you were the day before.

3. Stay updated

Stay up-to-date with current trends in the field. Subscribe to industry magazines and journals.

Read blogs published by subject matter experts.

Follow professional organizations on Twitter and Facebook.

4. Be flexible

Be open to change. You never know when opportunities will arise. So don’t limit yourself to one type of job. Try different types of jobs until you find the right fit.

5. Be patient

Patience is key. Remember that you are not going to become a doctor overnight. It takes years of hard work and practice to achieve success.

What does a Medical Massage Therapist do?

A medical massage therapist works closely with patients to help them recover from injuries and illnesses.

He/she uses various techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, neuromuscular reeducation, and sports massage.

A medical massage therapist may specialize in certain areas such as orthopedics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, and pain management. 

Qualities of a Good Medical Massage Therapist

Here are some characteristics of an excellent medical massage therapist:

  1. Knowledgeable

You should have a solid understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, biomechanics, kinesiology, and ergonomics.

This allows you to diagnose problems accurately.

2. Patient focused

You must be able to listen carefully to patients and their families. Your goal is to help them feel comfortable and relaxed during treatment.

3. Professional

You need to maintain professionalism at all times. You should dress appropriately for the setting (e.g., business attire for an office visit).

You should act courteously towards clients and other professionals. And you should treat everyone with respect.

4. Flexible

You should be willing to adapt to changing situations. For example, if a client has a particular condition or injury, you should be able to adjust your approach accordingly.

5. Honest

If you cannot provide a service, then say so. You must be truthful about what you have to offer.

Don’t act as though you can accomplish something you can’t.

Medical Massage Therapist Salary

According to, the medical massage therapist salary in the United States range from $13,805 to $368,332 per year, with a typical compensation of $65,802.

The middle 57% of medical massage therapists earn between $65,802 and $166,004, with the top 86 percent earning $368,332 each year.

Medical Massage Therapist Job Outlook

Massage therapist employment is expected to expand 32 percent from 2020 to 2030, substantially higher than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

On average, during the next decade, there will be around 23,300 opportunities for massage therapists.


To become a medical massage therapist is a rewarding career choice; however, it requires patience, knowledge, and experience.

So, before you start applying for positions, make sure you meet the educational requirements.

Also, keep in mind that this profession is competitive; therefore, you need to prepare yourself by getting additional training.

In addition, you also need to find a reputable school that offers quality medical massage therapy education.

Finally, you also need to build relationships with employers who hire massage therapists.