by Rachel Vilsack

Massage therapists provide a service to enhance the physical and mental well-being of their clients. Massage therapists work in an array of settings, both private and public, such as private offices, spas, hospitals and fitness centers.  Some massage therapists also travel to clients’ homes or offices to provide therapy services. Most massage therapists blend techniques like Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue, acupressure, reflexology, and Shiatsu.


Strong customer and personal service skills are necessary for massage therapists. A postsecondary training program is most common for massage therapists. Massage programs take about one year to complete and grant a certificate. Some postsecondary institutions in Minnesota offer associate degrees. The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine located in Roseville offers a Master’s degree, preparing graduates to practice acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In a massage program students learn anatomy and physiology, massage theory and technique.


Massage therapists pay a median wage of $17.05 per hour in Minnesota. Southeast Minnesota employers offer the highest median wage ($23.12), while median wages in Northwest Minnesota are the lowest ($9.58) in the state. In 2010, about 60 percent of massage therapists were self-employed.


A license in not required to practice as a massage therapist in Minnesota, however many cities have ordinances for businesses and/or individuals offering massage therapy services. The Message Therapist and Bodyworkers Guild offers city licensing information.


The massage therapy occupation is projected to grow in Minnesota by 26 percent between 2010 and 2010, resulting in 880 new jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies growing demand as the result of many factors, including the growth of spas and resorts which employ large number of therapists and the increased acceptance of massage as a way to treat pain and improve wellness. Massage therapy jobs in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expected to increase too.