Your options for making money as a massage therapist are really endless. The field is so in demand and the supply is limited.
You can work as an employee for a spa, resort, clinic, sports team, rehab facility or hospital. Independent contractors jobs are really rare and many employers misclassify massage therapists. The government and various states are cracking down on misclassification of employees as it means more money in taxes and fees for the federal, state and city governments.
You can start and run your own business in any of those same areas.
Most massage therapists still start their own business.
The general career path is to work for someone first and learn your massage skills as well as communication skills to be able to give the best massage.
Limits on Income
Your income is always limited by the number of massages you can do in one day whether you are employed or self employed. If you are not doing a massage session you are not making money unless you are hiring others to give the massage and you are the owner of a massage business. Your health and strength will influence your numbers as well as your schedule.
Many massage therapists work weekends (but I have rarely ever done that) and are expected to as that is when people have free time to make appointments for their sessions.
When you are self employed, there is overhead and expenses that need to be taken out of your overall gross income but those are also deductible on your taxes. Self employed massage therapists also pay 15.3% in self employment taxes. As a self employed massage therapist if you take a vacation you don’t get paid unless you have someone fill in for you. You can plan for vacations by saving and also having other sources of income.