If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to earn a living as a massage therapist, it makes since to find a place where there is high demand. After all, more customers means more business.
But at the same time, high demand for therapists also means there is a flood of therapists to take advantage of that business. The result? Places with high demand for massage services usually have the most people working in the field as well.
If you just look for states with the most massage therapists, however, you’re going to end up only with the biggest and most populated states — California, Florida and New York. That’s why to compare apples to apples, you need to look at the states with the most therapists per capita. These are the states where there are a high number of people employed in the industry relative to the number of people in the state.
The data below comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which tracks the number of people employed in the profession across the country.
Surprised? The biggest state in the nation may not be the most populated, but it takes the cake when it comes to massage therapists per person. While the state only has about 750,000 residents, it employs 770 masseuses — that’s roughly one therapist for every 1,000 residents.
Despite having the highest concentration of massage therapists, however, Alaska also offers the highest wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is a staggering $85,110. That’s more than $20,000 higher than the second-place state for salary.
If you’re thinking of a state known for relaxation, then Hawaii likely comes to mind. Hawaii is a massage therapy hotbed. The state ranks 40th in population, but 2nd in massage therapists per person. With only 1.4 million residents, the state has 1,390 massage therapists. That comes out to one massage therapist for a little more than every 1,000 people.
Average salaries are also healthy. You can expect an average wage of more than $53,000 per year. Not bad for the ability to practice massage in paradise.
Another tourist mecca, there seems to be plenty of demand for massages when people come off the slopes. Colorado is home to 4,950 massage therapists, serving a population of 5.5 million. That’s roughly one therapists for every 1,100 people. However, that figure is a little misleading.
Given that so many tourists go to Colorado to enjoy the mountains and the scenery, it’s likely that many of the massages are given to out-of-state tourists.
Rounding out the top four — and the quartet of western states — is Washington. The state’s economy is booming and also home to some of the world’s most famous companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon. Meanwhile the population continues to soar, with approximately 7.2 million residents.
The number of massage therapists is keeping pace, however. Today, 4,030 therapists work in the state, meaning there is about one therapist for every 1,800 residents. And despite that high amount of “supply,” Washington state massage therapists still earn a solid average salary of $55,920 — among the highest in the nation.