Massage Licensing Information (2019)
Nearly every state in the US now requires that massage therapists have a professional license before they begin to practice. The primary purpose of a state license requirement is to protect the health and safety of the public. A practitioner with a massage license issued by the state has demonstrated an acceptable level of training, competency and character to provide services for the public.
Welcome to the MBLExGuide state massage license information portal. This page was created to assist massage therapists quickly find the information they need to before applying for their massage therapy license. Click on your state on the map below to find out specific information on licensing requirements, the application process, and how much massage license costs in your state. You will also find links to state massage laws, scope of practice, and other state rules and regulations.
Preparing for the MBLEx?
Licensing, Certification, and Registration
States differ in the way they regulate their massage professionals. This could mean requiring a different type of credential, such as a license vs. a certification or registration. Licensing tends to be the most rigorous form of regulation, and almost every state now uses licensing.
The only states that do not currently require statewide regulation are Kansas, Minnesota, Vermont and Wyoming. However massage therapists who practice in these states will still have to comply with any local licensing laws and regulations.
The length of time that it takes to process a license application varies. It all depends on how much information the board has to collect and review, and how efficient and timely their data collection and review processes are. A common source of delay is an application that has not been completed correctly.
Massage Education and Training Overview
State massage educational requirements range from 500 hours to 1000 hours of classroom or supervised training by an approved or accredited school. An approved school is one that has had their curriculum and other criteria reviewed and approved by the state. Some states offer a list of approved schools while others do not.
Accredited means that a school has met certain standards of quality, as verified by an accreditation agency. The best accreditation agencies are federally approved and follow guidelines of the US Department of Education. An example is the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA).
Most boards require an official transcript to be sent directly from the applicant’s school.
Almost every state that requires a massage license requires that the applicant has passed a massage licensing or certification exam. The purpose of these exams is ensure that the applicant has at least entry-level competency.
The MBLEx is the current industry standard licensing exam and is accepted by all of these states. Find out more about the MBLEx. You can also check out the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) website for additional information.
Most states will also accept the NCETMB or NCETM which were previously offered by the NCBTMB (these exams are no longer offered).
Additional Licensing Requirements
Most state massage licensing boards also have a few requirements in addition to passing the MBLEx. These could include:
- Applicant is at least 18 years of age
- Be of good moral character
- Background check, fingerprinting
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Has not had a license revoked or voluntarily surrendered
- Letters of reference
- CPR/first aid/AED training
- Liability insurance prior to licensing
- State jurisprudence exam
- Health certificate
- Practical exam
- TB test