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.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 2,340
In general, registered massage therapists (RMTs):
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.
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.
Source: 2016 Census
In B.C., registered massage therapists (RMTs) are regulated health professionals with primary care provider status. They are governed and certified by the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC).
To become certified, they must:
RMTs must renew their registration with CMTBC every year.
Some registered massage therapists do additional training in specific areas of practice. RMTs who have full-time experience specializing in sport massage can take an exam to get certified through the Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association (CSMTA).
Massage therapists who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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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.
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.