Massage Therapist

At a Glance

Years in School (after high school graduation):

2 years or less

Hourly Wage:

$19.45-$60.05 (Mean $40.92)
*based on 2016 Alaska DOL data

One-page Description (PDF):

Massage Therapist

Professional Activities

Massage Therapists are trained in the use of different techniques utilized in body massage. The national standard for minimal training of a massage therapist is 500 hours. This training includes Swedish massage techniques, physiology, anatomy, pathology, ethics, business, and table massage. The scope of practice for massage therapy is defined by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA): A massage therapist would be trained in the skillful manipulation of soft tissue, connective tissue, and/or body energy fields with the intention of maintaining or improving health by affecting change in relaxation, circulation, nerve responses, or patterns of energy flow.

After a massage therapist has completed basic training there are a wide variety of techniques that can be studied in advanced course work. This type of continuing education might include techniques such as Sports, Cranial Sacral, Deep Tissue, Thai, Asian, Reflexology, Acupressure, or Chair massage, broadening a massage therapists skills and abilities to work with a variety of clients in a variety of settings.

Massage Therapists find employment in private practice (setting up their own clinic and working with other massage therapists), in the medical field (including working in hospitals, at alternative medical clinics, and with Chiropractors), working at sports facilities and with athletes, and at salons and spas. There is also a demand for qualified, well-trained massage therapists at resorts and within the cruise industry.

Educational Requirements

  • Graduation from high school.
  • Completion of a post-secondary accredited Massage Therapy training program or 500 hours or more.
  • A national certification examination is offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards called the MBlex (Massage & Body Licensing Examination).
  • Effective July 1 2015, licensure is required for all practitioners of massage therapy in the State of Alaska. A transitional (“grandfather”) period which waives exam and education requirements for massage therapists who meet certain requirements is available from July 1 2015 to July 2017. Effective July 1 2017, all practitioners must meet exam and education requirements.

Academic Programs

Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Massage Therapy
2636 Spenard Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 279-0135


State Contact:

American Massage Therapy Association, Alaska Chapter
Phone: (907) 952-7061

Note: A list of training and workshops can be found on the Education and Events page of the AMTA Alaska Chapter web site.

National Contacts:

American Massage Therapy Association
500 Davis Street, Suite 900
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: (847) 864-0123
Toll free: 877-905-0577
Fax: (847) 864-5196

American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)
P.O. Box 343
West Berlin, NJ 08091
Phone: (856) 809-2953
Fax: (856) 809-2958

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