Average Salary: $35,970
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,502,000
At first glance, the average number's low—less than $40,000 a year, give or take a couple grand (source). Any way you massage the data points, that number's not that great. It's the trade-off you make to work in a room with scented candles and a pitcher of fruit-filled water on the table to the side.
One thing that should make you feel better is knowing a large number of massage therapists only do this part time. If that's how it works out, being a part-timer with a secondary income (or maybe this is the secondary income?) should put you in a better financial position.
If full-time's more your style, then you should be able to make a very nice living if you hustle from client to client—although you're going put a lot of stress on those hands of yours.
If you do have clientele who'll pack your schedule tight, you can make a bundle. If you're good, you can make a hundred bucks an hour or more. Work nights and weekends and you can see how some massage therapists can make six figures just pounding away at backs and thighs.
To maximize your earning potential, you could do a few things. First, find the clients who have the money to pay a premium for your service. Second, work in specialized care with those for whom a regular massage isn't possible. Finally, move to Alaska. No, really.
For some reason, Alaskan massage therapists make a far and away greater salary than those in any other state in the union. The fewer than 500 MTs that live in the Great White North average an astounding $84,000 a year.
The trade off, of course, is that you live in Alaska. But if you can find a place for all your essential oils and herbs, maybe it'll be worth possibly freezing your face off in the never-ending night of the Arctic winter.