How Much Does a Massage Therapist Make in New York?

A quotation on the Massage Nerd website describes the profession this way: “Massage is the study of anatomy in braille.” Indeed, massage therapists do use their hands to communicate with, study and respond to the body, reading its bumps and curves just like the raised dots of braille wording. For those massage therapists working in New York, salaries in 2009 were slightly higher than the country’s average for the field.

  1. Getting Started

    • Each state regulates the practice of massage therapy with a separate governmental organization. In New York, the profession falls under the Office of the Professions. To begin earning a salary as a massage therapist in New York state, candidates must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen and have completed a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course. The main requirement for massage therapy licensing is completion of a state-approved massage therapy program. Licenses must be renewed every two years.

    Massage Therapy Schools

    • More than 20 massage therapy schools have been approved by the New York Office of Professions as of January 2011, stretching all over the state. Options for training include Queensborough Community College, Swedish Institute of Massage, North Country Community College, New York Institute of Massage, Brooklyn Institute of Massage Therapy and Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Prospective massage therapists should also note that the Office of Professions has approved two locations of the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Newington and Westport, for New York massage therapy licensing.

    New York Versus the Nation

    • New York’s 2,380 massage therapists (as of May 2009) earned an average salary of $40,990 per year, which compares favorably to the nation’s average of $39,780, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the majority of massage therapists in New York earned salaries similar to their colleagues in the country, salaries in the state did vary. The overall top earners in the state took home an average of $90,330 per year while the bottom 10th percentile of massage therapists earned $22,390 per year.

    City Salaries

    • Within New York’s cities, towns and boroughs, massage therapist salaries varied as well. Massage therapists in the New York City-White Plains area earned the highest average salaries, at $47,700 per year and also the highest 90th percentile salaries, at $93,240 annually. The Nassau-Suffolk area wasn’t too far behind, with an average salary of $42,960 and 90th percentile of $64,490. The lowest average salary went to massage therapists in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area, at $29,060 per year, but those cities did not have the lowest 10th percentile salary. That was Rochester, bottoming out at $15,630 per year.

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  • Photo Credit massage therapy at the spa image by MAXFX from

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