How To Become A Massage Therapist In Australia: Explained

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Students want to know how they can become massage therapists in Australia.


Do you have a passion for massage therapies and like the idea of assisting people in feeling better? If yes, a career as a massage therapist could be worth exploring.


Massage therapists perform therapeutic massage and manage body treatments for fitness, health, and curative purposes. They manipulate the soft body tissues to relieve pain, lessen inflammation, and improve the mobility of joints in patients.


To become a massage therapist in Australia, you need a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy or a Diploma in Remedial massage from a registered training organisation (RTO). Joining a professional organisation and becoming registered will improve your career prospects.


This blog discusses the Massage Therapist career (masseuse or masseur), job responsibilities, working conditions, how long it takes, license requirements, average earnings, salary, courses, and educational and personal needs.



1. What Are Message Therapists?


Massage Therapists are trained in various massage and relaxation techniques to treat pain, stress, and injuries to provide relaxation to their clients.


They are skilled in various therapies, which include aromatherapy, shiatsu massage, Thai massage, deep tissue massage, and Swedish massage. It helps to improve their clients' flexibility, blood circulation, and overall health and well-being.


Massage Therapists use other techniques, such as acupressure, and complementary aids, such as wet compresses, ice, infra-red lamps, essential oils and mineral and herbal therapies to speed up the healing process.



2. Types Of Massage Therapy


The following are the different types of massage therapies:


  • Remedial Massage comprises a group of techniques to stimulate blood supply to the damaged muscles to ease tension and repair them.


  • Deep Tissue Massage: This massage aims to penetrate deep within the layers of muscles to treat severe muscle pain.


  • Sports Massage: This massage helps athletes recover from injuries or treat any aches or pains they experience between or after sporting events. It prepares the muscles for exertion to avert any possible harm.


  • Shiatsu: This is a conventional massaging technique that the Japanese have been using since ancient times to reduce muscle pain and promote health and wellness in the body. It involves stretching and applying acupressure to pressure points in the body.


  • Reflexology: In this massaging technique, massage therapists put gentle pressure on the pressure points in the hands and feet that connect to different nerves of the body. Doing this stimulates the nerves and promotes blood circulation to reduce pain and assist healing.


  • Myotherapy: The method uses a range of treatments to evaluate, treat, and manage musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain, dysfunction, and poor mobility in the soft tissue structures (muscles, ligaments, fascia, and tendons). This way, the therapy restores and maintains the normal functioning of the soft tissue structures.


  • Hot Stone Massage: Most day spas provide this massage to relax sore and stressed muscles in the body. The method uses essential oils and warm stones to improve blood circulation.


  • Swedish Massage: Europe and US is using this massage technique. Under this technique, massage therapists use hands, elbows, and forearms to apply pressure to superficial muscle layers to de-stress and relax muscles and enhance the range of motion.


  • Thai Massage: This type of massage doesn't use oils, involves less application of pressure, and is performed in combination with yoga to reduce stress, improve overall flexibility and encourage overall good health and well-being.



3. Why Should You Pursue A Massage Therapist Profession?


Do you like the idea of becoming a massage therapist? Here are some reasons why this can be a perfect career option:


  • A growing industry that presents a range of job opportunities in a wide range of industries

  • The ample scope of upskilling, learning, and interaction with different people makes the profession attractive.

  • Helping people recover from injuries and live a better quality of life gives a sense of fulfilment.

  • Future-proof career

  • No prior work experience is required.

  • Flexible work hours to suit your preferred lifestyle.

  • Stay fit and healthy while living a physically active lifestyle.

  • Freedom to work for yourself by setting up your massage business 

  • When working as a massage therapist, you develop transferrable skills, enabling you to pursue various therapeutic careers.



4. What Does A Massage Therapist Do?


The most common duties of a massage therapist are:


  • Discuss the client's needs and preferences for massage therapy, such as injury recovery and stress relief.

  • Evaluate the physical condition and case history of the client 

  • Form a tailored massage therapy plan to suit the client's requirements 

  • Advice on relaxation, stretching exercises, techniques, and ways to improve or manage soft tissue conditions

  • Create a peaceful environment for each client

  • Provide specific massage techniques to body areas and manipulate soft tissues, such as tendons, muscles, and ligaments, to heal injuries and enhance physical function, sports performance, and overall well-being

  • Manage treatments to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and promote relaxation

  • Track the client's progress



5. What Skills Do You Need To Become A Massage Therapist?


Massage therapists rely on the following skills:


  • Sound in numeracy, literacy, and English language skill 

  • Strong Communication skills 

  • Active listening skills

  • Physical stamina and strength

  • Decision-making skills

  • Empathy

  • Physical stamina

  • Manual coordination

  • Dexterity 

  • Sensitivity

  • Patience 

  • Responsible attitude

  • Management skills

  • Adaptability to handle any uncertain situations

  • Marketing, admin, and financial skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Business supervision



6. Massage Therapist's Qualifications In Australia


In addition to a passion for massage therapies, you also need the proper education and training to make an outstanding career. 


Here is what you need to qualify for this role:




7. Steps To Become A Massage Therapist In Australia


To start a promising career as a massage therapist, you must first understand the industry and obtain the proper massage training and skills. 


Here is a step-wise guide to pursuing this profession:



Step 1: Familiarise Yourself With The Industry


Before you commit to professional training, it is beneficial to complete a short course to get an introduction to the industry. The Melbourne Institute of Massage and Myotherapy offers 2-day "Introductory to Massage Therapy Course".


This nationally recognised course is ideal for aspirants wishing to enter the massage therapy industry. The Massage School of Queensland offers a range of short courses in different areas of massage therapy:


  • Body Temple Massage

  • Swedish Massage

  • Functional Physiology and Anatomy 

  • Indian Head Massage

  • Pregnancy Massage

  • Shiatsu Level 1

  • Hot Stone Massage

  • Dry Needling

  • Reflexology

  • Lymphatic Drainage

  • Deep Tissue Techniques

  • Aromatherapy

  • Remedial Massage II

  • Corporate Seated Massage



Step 2: Complete A Massage Therapy Certificate Course


Those entering this profession should take the next step and start their journey at a professional massage therapy school. 


Complete a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy to learn the basics of massage therapy and gain the required accreditations to start working in an established massage business or run your practice.


To become a massage therapist near Sydney, TAFE NSW conducts a Certificate IV In Massage Therapy (HLT42015) which provides theoretical knowledge and skills for an excellent start in this profession.


You will learn about the body's physiology and anatomy, relaxation massage techniques, and assessment techniques. These include a range of motion, manual muscle testing, and static posture, including massage business practices to provide treatment plans to clients to suit their specific needs.


Course Highlights:


  • Nationally Recognised Training

  • Fully government subsidised

  • Traineeship Allowed

  • On-campus or combination

  • Full Time

  • Job Trainer



Step 3: Gain Industry Experience


The Certificate IV qualification involves specific practical clinic hours (between 80 to 90 hours) in massage therapy. 


In addition to it, you can also consider volunteering for a local sports team, assisting at a day spa, or pursuing an internship at a local massage therapy clinic. It helps to gain valuable experience under the supervision of a registered massage therapist.


During the internship, you will learn how to communicate with clients about their requirements and progress, create therapy plans, and perform massage techniques.



Step 4: Continue Your Training With A Diploma


After completing the entry-level qualification, you should undertake a Diploma in Remedial Massage to pursue further training and become a remedial massage therapist.


This course is ideal for professional massage therapists who wish to progress their careers by becoming remedial massage therapists.


The course delves deeper into advanced-level massage practices, such as neuromuscular techniques and trigger point therapy, practical massage skills, clinical assessment techniques, business management, pathology, and the scope of remedial treatments.


Most clinic employers, government agencies, and private health insurance companies hire massage therapists with this qualification.



Step 5: Become A Registered Massage Therapist


A massage therapist registration will help you strengthen your credentials and establish yourself among other massage therapists.


It shows prospective employers and clients that you are constantly upskilling and staying updated with the latest information. You can join and become registered with several professional massage associations.


However, before you get registered, it is mandatory to have adequate insurance that safeguards you and your massage clients.


With the necessary qualification and registration, you are ready to enter the professional market as a qualified massage therapist. Seek and apply for jobs in gyms, massage clinics, mobile clinics, spa centres, cruise ships, and more.



8. How Long Does It Take To Become A Massage Therapist?


You don't have to spend many years becoming a Massage Therapist. You can become one by completing a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy course.


Training is one of the recognised training organisations in Australia that offer this course in online and blending learning modes. 


The average duration to complete this Certificate IV In Massage Therapy Online is six months. You can study it full-time or part-time.


After completing the course, you must register with an industry association and get insured. Additionally, you will need to register your business and obtain an ABN number to set up your practice.


You can study further and undertake a Diploma in Remedial Massage to widen your employment prospects in this profession. 


You have to complete 200 hours of work experience in a clinical setting to achieve this qualification. The average duration to complete the course is one year full-time.



9. Where Do Massage Therapists Work?


Massage therapists work in a wide range of environments, such as:


  • Day spas

  • Health retreats 

  • Holiday Resorts

  • Cruise ships

  • Fitness centres

  • Aged care facilities

  • Beauty salons

  • Large hotel chains 

  • Gyms

  • Hospitals, especially in palliative care

  • Sports clubs

  • Multi-disciplinary health and wellness centres 

  • Massage clinics

  • Pregnancy centres

  • Professional sports clubs

  • Major corporations 

  • Mobile massage providers also hire massage therapists to offer in-home therapies to clients. It gives greater independence and more flexible work hours.


Many Massage Therapists work self-employed and run their massage clinic, home studio, or on a contract with clinics. 


They may also find work opportunities with other healthcare practitioners, such as physiotherapistsosteopathschiropractors, and natural medicine practitioners.



10. The Most Common Jobs That Involve Message Therapists


Massage therapists enjoy plenty of job opportunities across a variety of industries. Below are the workplaces that have a high demand for massage therapists:


  • Sports Massage Therapist

  • Remedial Massage Therapist

  • Clinical Massage Therapist

  • Soft Tissue Allied Health Assistant

  • Registered Massage Assistant



11. Areas Of Specialisations For Massage Therapists


After gaining experience as a massage therapist, you may consider specialising in one or more of the below techniques:


  • Remedial Massage: Treats impacted muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other injured body parts.


  • Relaxation or Therapeutic Massage: Enhances sleep, treats tension and anxiety, and promotes overall well-being


  • Structural Bodywork: Treats dysfunction and injuries caused due to biomechanical and postural strain


  • Sports Massage: Enhances recovery, prevents injuries, and improves endurance and flexibility


  • Oncology Geriatric Massage and Palliative Care: Assists patients with severe illnesses like cancer


  • Pregnancy and Paediatric Massage: Takes primary care of expecting mothers and infants



12. Work Conditions For Massage Therapists


Massage therapists work in clean and comfortable indoor environments providing manual therapy, treatments, and complementary aids to their clients, such as cold, heat packs, and essential oils.


Standing on the feet for several hours and providing multiple messages daily with the right amount of pressure may make the job physically demanding. It requires therapists to maintain good stamina, strength, and fitness.


There are no fixed hours for massage therapists, as their workload varies based on their client base. Established massage therapists often work full-time and sometimes overtime in the evenings and on weekends. Some also opt to work part-time to supplement their income.


As self-employed massage therapists have to handle all business areas such as admin, promotion, and finances, they may find the job hectic. 


However, the fulfilment coming with relieving patients from mental anxiety and physical tension outweighs the physical exertion associated with this profession.



13. How Much Does A Massage Therapist Earn In Australia?


A massage therapist's salary varies widely based on several factors, such as:


  • Qualification/s you possess

  • Nature of Employment 

  • Area of specialisation

  • Years of experience

  • Level of Expertise

  • Area of work 

  • Reputation

  • Client base


According to Pay Scale, the average massage therapist in Australia's salary is AU$ 54,565 per year, or equivalent to AU$ 28.84 per hour. As you build experience and expertise, your earning potential also increases. 


You can choose how much you charge for your massage services. This way, you can establish a successful and lucrative long-term business.



Average Annual Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level Massage Therapists (< 1 year experience): AU$25.73 

  • Early career Massage Therapists (1-4 years of experience): AU$27.35 

  • Mid-career Massage Therapists (5-9 years of experience): AU$29.67 

  • Experienced Massage Therapists (10-19 years of experience): AU$30.19 



Average Salary Based on Work Location:


  • Sydney NSW: $80,342 per year

  • Melbourne VIC: $79,188 per year

  • Brisbane QLD: $71,172 per year

  • Gold Coast QLD: $68,861 per year

  • Perth WA: $64,349 per year



14. Job Prospects Of Message Therapists In Australia


Massage therapy is a fast-growing industry. Massage therapists are in demand in a variety of industries all across Australia.


ANZSCO Occupation Group: 4116: Massage Therapists, High-Skill level



Employment Outlook


According to Labor market insights, job openings for Massage Therapists in Australia are to rise very strongly and reach 18,000 by 2026. The demand will be for sports medicine massage clinics and fitness centres.



Working Arrangements


Around 25% of employed Massage Therapists work full-time for an average of 43 hours per week.



Main Industries


  • Health Care And Social Assistance: 88.1%

  • Other Services: 9.3%

  • Arts And Recreation Services: 1.3%

  • Accommodation And Food Services: 0.7%

  • Other Industries: 0.7%



Employment Across Australia


  • New South Wales: 31.4%

  • Victoria: 27.0%

  • Queensland: 21.7%

  • South Australia: 6.8%

  • Western Australia: 8.7%

  • Tasmania: 2.0%

  • Northern Territory: 0.6%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.8%



Worker's Age and Gender Profile


  • The average age of employed Massage Therapists is 41 years, most of them between 25 to 34 years. (All other jobs average: 40 years)


  • Females constitute 76% of the workforce which is 28 percentage points above the average of all other jobs, 48%.



15. Conclusion


Massage therapy is a growing industry that offers numerous exciting job opportunities to skilled massage therapists.


Working in this role is incredibly satisfying as it allows you to provide valuable service to people and help them lead happy and healthy life. 


With no educational and work experience requirements, you can start earning and improving people's lives quickly. Moreover, since massage skills are not replaceable by technology, aspirants have a high level of future job security.


A Certificate IV in Massage Therapy is the ideal training to develop the knowledge and skills to start your career in massage therapy.


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