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Become a Massage Therapist
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Becoming a massage therapist in Washington State begins with the desire to find a rewarding career helping others.   As a massage therapist in WA you will have many options for employment and starting your own business.  Many spas, franchises and clinics are hiring massage therapists as employees or independent contractors.  


The first step is to do your research and find out what the requirements are for training, experience, school selection and career opportunities.   Massage therapists or more accurately,  Licensed Massage Practitioners as we are called in WA, provide relaxation massage in spa settings or can provide more therapeutic massage (working with injuries, athletes, pain and stress) in clinical settings.


Licensing and Education Requirements


Some things you will need to know to become a massage therapist in WA State are found on the Washington State Board of Massage website:

 Job Opportunities

Once you receive your license to practice massage you may take the next step (or leap!) and begin finding a job.  There are many job opportunities at:

  • Health Resorts, Hotels, Vacation Resorts, Ski Resorts, Beach Resorts
  • Spas  (Day Spas, Destination Spas, Health Enrichment Spas)
  • Franchises (Massage Envy, Elements, etc.)
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists, Doctors, Osteopaths, Physical Therapy Clinics, Acupuncture Clinics
  • Massage Clinics

Massage therapists work with people to relieve pain, reduce stress, and help heal injuries from car accidents, sports injuries and just general pain issues.  Massage has been found to be effective for many different ailments and conditions:

  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Herniated Discs
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Carpal Tunnel and other orthopedic conditions
  • Athletic Performance
  • Injury Recovery
  • Stress

..... and more!


Unique in WA State


Massage therapists in WA State are also one of the only 2 states where it is mandatory that health insurance companies pay for massage that is medically necessary.   We have had this privilege since around 1996 with the creation of the Every Category Law by the insurance commissioner at the time, Deborah Senn and politically active AMTA-WA member massage therapist, Lori (Belinski) Grassi (the former Government Relations Director for AMTA-WA and now Executive Director for the WA State Chiropractors Association.) 


Massage practitioners in WA are able to work with animals under the Animal Massage Credential.  Horses are usually the most common recipient of massage to enhance their performance at the race track, in dressage and jumping competitions as well as recovery from injuries or pain.  Other animals such as dogs and cats also can enjoy and benefit from massage.  There are a few animal massage spas in WA State too!

 (Photo: Lola Michelin from the Northwest School of Animal Massage doing massage at the AMTA-WA 2013 Convention)


Reflexologists specializing in foot/hand massage are now also recognized by the WA State Board of Massage as a separate credential.  The many spas/clinics offering low-cost foot massage now need to make sure they hire Certified Reflexologists.


Your career in massage in WA State will find that the local communities, doctors and other health care providers are more open-minded about massage as a healing modality because of all the work of the AMTA-WA to create awareness of massage.  Our Massage Awareness Days keep legislators well aware of the benefits of massage.  We work closely with the legislature, the people of WA State and WA State massage practitioners to protect and preserve the art, science and practice of massage.





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