Best Cities for Massage Therapists

Looking for a career that that is accessible, can be financially rewarding, flexible, and help make people feel better? Look no further than massage therapy! The career doesn’t require extensive years of advanced schooling, and professionals earn around $36,000 per year on average. What’s better, the job market for massage therapists is growing at a rapid clip: 23% between now and 2022.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a massage therapist we’ve laid out which metropolitan areas in the US are best for your pursuit.

Best Five Cities for Massage Therapists

What's the trend of our top five cities for massage therapy? All 5 metro areas have easy access to outdoor fun and adventure! And while Pittsfield is located on the east coast, the other four cities are all located in the Pacific Northwest.

1. Eugene-Springfield, Ore.

The first of three Pacific Northwest metro areas that find themselves in our top five, Eugene and Springfield are home to 350,000 Oregonians. With a plethora of outdoor activities to keep people active in the area, it may come as no surprise that residents in town enjoy a nice massage treatment to help relax their sore muscles. Massage therapists in the Eugene-Springfield area rake in an average of $56,510 per year and have the cheapest cost of living in any of our top five cities.

2. Pittsfield, Mass.

Situated in west-central Massachusetts, on the Massachusetts-New York border, the city of Pittsfield is home to around 45,000 citizens. Even though it’s a smaller city, Pittsfield has a 617-acre great pond that gets plenty of use throughout the year from swimmers, rowers and sailors. What’s more, the city also has a state forest (Pittsfield State Forest) that spans 11,000 acres and peaks at 2,150 feet. Those working in the massage therapy profession are earning the 2nd highest average annual salary in the country at $79,060.

3. Olympia, Wash.

The capital city of Washington, Olympia is located on the shores of Puget Sound (Budd Inlet) about 60 miles south/southwest of Seattle. The city is known for its vibrant arts and music scene. Olympia is also only a short 90 minute drive from one of the most prominent mountains in the world, Mount Rainier. It’s this combination of outdoor living that makes the area a wonderful place for massage therapists to work. With it’s location quotient of 4.07, Olympia has the 4th most massage professional per capita of any city in the country.

4. Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.

The second Washington metro area to show up in our top five, Bremerton and Silverdale are called home by almost 60,000 Washingtonians. This area, like Olympia, is surrounded by Puget Sound. It’s also only 15 miles from Seattle (as the crow flies) but takes north of an hour to get to by either car or ferry. Like many of the areas in northwest Washington state, residents in the Bremerton-Silverdale area are spoiled with the perfect set of ingredients for an outdoor and active style of living. Whether it’s on the water or into Olympic National Park, there’s plenty to keep busy with.

5. Anchorage, Alaska

Living in Alaska provides many unique challenges and opportunities. One of those opportunities is to be more closely in touch with nature, which is easy to do when you’re constantly surrounded by some of the most beautiful vistas in the world! So it makes total sense that Anchorage would be a great city for massage therapists to help clients work out their physical and spiritual kinks after a long weekend of hiking in Chugach State Park. Massage therapists in Anchorage are also the most highly compensated in the country, with the average practitioner pulling $88,100 per year…145% more than the national average!

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small city to a large one. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: cities with populations less than 100,000 people, midsize cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 500,000. Here are our findings:

Best cities for massage therapists in the US

Map of the Best Cities for Massage Therapists

If you'd like get a visual on the top cities for massage therapists in the US, here is a map showing all 100 of the best metro areas for the profession. Just roll your mouse over each dot to reveal the city name and average annual salary.

The Top 30 Metro Areas for Massage Therapists

Just like the title says, here are the 30 best cities for massage therapists in order starting from the top. Remember, there were over 200 cities and towns we looked at in total... these are the top 30!

Rank

CityAverage SalaryJobsLocation QuotientCost of LivingTotal Score
Eugene, OR$56,5102703.2110311

2

Pittsfield, MA$79,0601005.0010511

3

Olympia, WA$57,1002304.0711416

4

Bremerton, WA$59,6501503.1610820

5

Anchorage, AK$88,1002702.5613525

6

Kingston, NY$62,110802.2910836

7

Seattle, WA$50,4802,6702.6214339

8

Portland, OR$52,9601,2201.9911149

9

Spokane, WA$50,2202402.019149

10

Naples, FL$48,0202203.1116154

11

Tucson, AZ$40,4008403.989159

12

Bend, OR$54,630802.0911160

13

Niles, MI$50,190701.928361

14

Lansing, MI$53,5501601.319165

15

Bellingham, WA$43,2501904.1112366

16

Minneapolis, MN$45,7101,7801.6610571

17

San Francisco, CA$45,2401,4002.2420072

18

Santa Rosa, CA$42,0203303.1313176

19

Jacksonville, FL$45,2104901.398879

20

Kennewick, WA$52,120801.389983

21

Raleigh, NC$39,0609402.9410285

22

Salinas, CA$48,6001501.5812086

23

Camden, NJ$41,1105801.929187

24

St. George, UT$43,350602.169789

25

Asheville, NC$40,3202702.5910590

26

Napa, CA$38,11052013.1514096

27

Yakima, WA$51,810601.159398

28

Prescott, AZ$53,050401.3310899
29Denver, CO$37,7302,2202.91110102

30

Gainesville, FL$47,880801.1594106

What’s It Like being a Masseuse in… ?

63. Washington, D.C. Juliet Keating

"For a full-time practitioner, a normal workload is typically 25-30 hours per week. I practiced full time for 13 years until about three years ago when I began to focus on more of the management of my massage business and joined the Nava Health and Vitality Centers team as its director of massage therapy. I still maintain a small number of clients, because I could never imagine not doing massage therapy.

"I was always a bit of a health nut and active in sports. It was a friend of mine who was a chiropractor that introduced me to massage therapy... Each state has different educational requirements. In Washington, D.C. and Maryland, the requirement is a minimum of 500 hours in an accredited program. I personally graduated from the Baltimore School of Massage."

108. Santa Barbara, Calif. Dr. Kathy Gruver

"I have a private practice, and I'm probably one of the busiest in town. I work Monday through Friday all day and then two evenings a week. I'd say I do about 27 hours of actual hands-on massage, which is all the time that is available... Istill do about five outcalls for long term or elderly clients. I don't offer that service to new folks. I have one corporate client who I see every 2 weeks where I message everyone in the office for 15 minutes a person. "I started out apprenticing with a woman in Pittsburgh, having no idea I Would ever go on to do massage as a career. I studied with a school in Los Angeles Once I arrived in California and then more here in Santa Barbara and then studied medical massage with a school out of Florida. In the grand scheme of things I have very little hours on paper because when I started out, you didn't need them."

Methodology

These were the three key questions we asked in coming up with the list.

  1. What can massage therapists earn in the city?

We ranked the best cities for massage therapists based on the median annual pay. Income is likely the most important factor people consider when starting their career or relocating elsewhere. A high salary in an expensive city, however, may be less attractive than a lower salary in an affordable town. Our next metric takes affordability into consideration.

  1. How affordable is it to live in this city?

Now that we have the median salary, we’ll look next at the cost of living. The cost of living is a measure of how far earnings can be stretched. Cities with lower cost of living index numbers ranked higher in our study. For example, the average city is benchmarked at 100. A city with a cost of living index of 188, such as Honolulu, would mean that generally speaking, living expenses are 88 percent more expensive compared to the average city.

  1. What is the location quotient for massage therapists in the city?

A place with a high median salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our third factor accounts for this by favoring cities with high location quotients. Location quotient measures the concentration of massage therapists in an area as a percentage of all occupations, and then compares that to the national average. We interpret a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a massage therapist's services.

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