By Jennifer Shaw, Austin Massage Therapist and Guest Blogger
One of the most common comments people make to me when I tell them I am a massage therapist is something along the lines of, “Wow, Austin is really saturated with massage therapists, isn’t it?”
The statement is usually accompanied by a sympathetic look with a dash of fascination.
Mythical Saturation and Real Stats
While I might argue that “saturated” is a relative term – relative to how many people want massage in Austin, I can’t argue that there are not a lot of LMTs floating around in this proverbial bowl of soup.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services there are more than 26,600 LMTs in the State of Texas and about 2500 in Austin-Round Rock proper. Intimidating until you do some math. That is barely one percent of the state and 1.5 percent of our dear city who hold – not necessarily practice – but hold a massage license.
Fling those stats back at your sympathetically fascinated friends who approach you with those, “How do you ever pay your bills,” eyes.
The Real Question: Are There Enough Jobs?
The real question really is, “Is there enough work to go to school, be a massage therapist and still eat?” Will I have a job? Yes. The answer is yes.
The massage market in Austin is so desperate for licensed massage therapists to rub their subscriber-client bodies, they are giving away sign-on bonuses just to get you table-side.
In the last two months, Oak Haven Massage has offered up to a four digit sign-on bonus, Massage Envy and Heights waver in the $200-300 area. No joke.
Search the old job ads if you need hard evidence, but here’s a screaming example:
Sign-on bonuses equal desperate employers. Even Massage Envy is literally telling you to relax – look at the postcard – because there are jobs-a-plenty for the supposedly starving massage therapist. (And they really, really want to give you one.)
Also this phenomenon, in my personal experience, does not appear to be limited to massage chains. Recently, I received two phone calls while at interviews with other spas from other LMTs who knew two chiropractors frantically looking for massage therapists. And no part of this discussion has even touched private massage practices. There is work to be done there, too.
Relax – it sounds like good advice. Thanks, Massage Envy.
Will You Take the Next Step?
The next step for many of you is going to massage school. Some of you have been to school but are letting your licenses simmer because you don’t believe you can find work. Change is hard, and it requires some faith. But from one massage therapist to another, whatever the state of your massage license, you will not be short a job – especially if you (and your fantastic hands) are worthy of one.