Massage therapists (NOC 3236)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Massage therapists assess and treat soft tissues and joints of the body. Their work helps improve and maintain good health and treat pain from injuries and physical disorders. In B.C., all massage therapists are registered.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a registered massage therapist is like.

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Registered massage therapist


Common job titles
  • massotherapist / masso kinesitherapist
  • MT (massage therapist)
  • myotherapist
  • orthotherapist
  • practitioner, registered massage
  • RMT (registered massage therapist)

Duties

In general, registered massage therapists (RMTs):

  • Interview patients and take medical histories
  • Assess patients using range-of-motion and muscle tests, muscle palpation, gait assessment and orthopedic testing
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Explain procedures, risks and benefits
  • Use massage techniques such as hands-on soft tissue treatment, relaxation, hydrotherapy, joint play mobilizations and stretching
  • Teach patients how to do at-home exercises
  • Offer tips for daily living
  • Keep records of treatments

RMTs may consult with other members of a patient’s health care team such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, physicians and psychologists. They may also refer patients to other health-care professionals.

Work environment

Registered massage therapists (RMTs) often work in private practice, either on their own or as part of a team. Or they may work in hospitals, clinics that offer a variety of health-care services, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, sports organizations or educational institutions.

Many RMTs work a 35- to 40-hour week. Others work part time. Hours may include evenings and weekends, depending on office hours and patients’ needs. Emergencies can arise but do so less often than in other health-care fields.

The work can be physically demanding. RMTs work with their arms and hands, and they stand for long periods of time.

RMTs use computers for online booking, charting and billing, as well as for the online coursework required to stay certified.

Self-employed RMTs must spend part of their time managing their business, including booking appointments and doing accounting and laundry.

Insights from industry

As the number of accredited schools in B.C. has increased, the supply of registered massage therapists (RMTs) has risen. The supply also continues to grow as massage therapists transfer to B.C. from other provinces.

Demand for RMTs has also grown, as more spas open and new rules let patients visit RMTs without a doctor’s referral. Demand is expected to increase further as the economy grows.

Rural and isolated areas of central and northern B.C. will likely have the highest need for RMTs.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Registered massage therapists usually begin working in massage therapy clinics, rehabilitation centres, clinics that offer a variety of health-care services, fitness clubs or spas.

With experience, they can become supervisors or start their own business. Some may teach postgraduate continuing education courses or become instructors at accredited massage therapy colleges.

Additional resources

  • B.C. Ministry of Health
    www.gov.bc.ca/health
  • Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA)
    www.crmta.ca
  • Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association (CSMTA)
    www.csmta.ca
  • College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
    cmtbc.ca
  • Federation of Massage Therapy Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FOMTRAC)
    www.fomtrac.ca
  • Registered Massage Therapists Association of BC (RMTBC)
    www.rmtbc.ca