In 2010, a new U.S. massage therapist received 660 hours of initial training, an increase of 36 hours over 2009, and the average massage therapist earned $41 per hour. These statistics are among the information in the fourth annual Massage Profession Research Report, released today by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

According to the report’s executive summary, published here by permission of the AMTA:

• Although the last decade has seen the number of practicing massage therapists increase by close

to 60 percent, this growth slowed in 2010 (1 percent increase over 2009).

• Most massage therapists are female (87 percent).

• The average age of massage therapists is 43.

• Most massage therapists, 74 percent, worked in a different field prior to becoming a massage therapist.

• Sixty-five percent of massage therapists are solo practitioners.

• Massage therapists tend to work in multiple settings (an average of two settings) and practice a

number of modalities (an average of eight).

• Twenty-five percent of massage therapists

reported working in a health care environment in 2010, compared to 10 percent of massage

therapists working in these environments in 2005.

• Massage therapy schools report their three top challenges as difficulty in attracting students; difficulty in marketing their schools or programs; and difficulty in keeping in touch with graduates.

• Fifteen percent of schools offer distance learning classes.

• Almost forty percent of massage therapists said they would like to have had more specific

modality training in school, with more than two-thirds expressing the greatest interest in continuing

education in new modalities/techniques.

• Ninety-seven percent of massage therapists took

continuing education classes in 2010.

• Fifty-five percent of therapists said they wished they were taught more business skills in massage school. (Most schools offer marketing courses, about two-thirds offer management courses, but less than half offer accounting courses or finance classes.)

• Massage therapists are increasing their use of digital technology. Practically all therapists surf

the Web and are increasing their use of basic Internet technology including using social media,

managing social network profiles, building their own websites, uploading video clips, booking

flights and sharing iTunes playlists.

• Massage therapists are using technology in their businesses, with 28 percent of therapists

using social media to stay in touch with clients.