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Massage Therapy Certification Requirements

The Best Way to Get Your Private Pilots License

Massage therapy certification requirements vary from school to school, and licensing requirements vary from region to region. In most states, you’ll need a minimum number of practical experience hours, and to pass the MBLEx .

Some other things you may need to obtain your license:

  • A background check to verify that you don’t have a criminal history
  • Additional tests about state laws and rules
  • Proof of liability insurance

How To Get Certified As A Massage Therapist

You may be tempted to find the cheapest and quickest massage certification course so you can get practicing right away. In some cases, that may be the best option for you. However, the more widely recognized your certification is, the more employment opportunities will be available to you. It’s important to keep that in mind as you research massage therapy certification programs in your area.

Your local community college might offer a course, and that’s likely to be the most affordable option. Private, for-profit schools can be pricier. But the most important question to ask is what kind of certification you’ll be receiving, and what type of certification employers in your area require to hire you. If you’re confident about opening a private practice, it may not matter as much, but it’s always good to have more options.

The gold standard of national certification for massage therapy is NCBTMDB . Becoming board-certified is not a requirement to practice massage therapy, but it shows the highest level of commitment and professionalism to your clients and potential employers. It requires graduating from an approved school, passing a board exam, and a few other qualifications in addition to your regular license or certification.

Step : Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Most states regulate massage therapy, requiring some form of certification in the form of licenses or diplomas.

  • for more Information on state-specific massage therapy licensing requirements

In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. more information about local licenses and permits:

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Informed Consent Agreement

It is recommended to provide clients with informed consent agreements to decrease legal liability and encourage transparency. More information on informed consent agreements can be found here.

Health Insurance Eligibility

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Resources To Help Women In Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. Weve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Guides
  • Support

If youre a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

Additional Requirements For Endorsement Applicants

What Are The Benefits of Online Classes For Massage Therapist?

Requirements for Endorsement Applicants

  • Hold an active license in another state with licensing requirements equivalent to or exceeding those required for a license in Florida. Staff will attempt to verify your license during application processing. Additional documentation may be requested if the equivalency of education or examination requirements cannot be determined.
  • Complete a ten-hour Florida Laws and Rules course with an approved CE provider.Approved courses and providers can be found by visiting

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A Massage Industry Pro Offers Tips On Selecting Schools: Q& a With Jacqueline Leibler

Jacqueline Leibler has studied anatomy, physiology and biomechanics since 2011, and as of spring 2019 completing her education in massage therapy. She has worked as a personal trainer and restorative exercise specialist.

Summarize what, if any, differences there are between schools that a prospective student should evaluate to make their decision about which school to enroll in.

First, every state differs when it comes to their requirements for licensure and practice, so academic offerings will change from state to state in minute ways. I dont believe the differences are huge but students should research this and take it into consideration when choosing a school.

Next, there will also be differences in the teaching staff. Some schools hire massage therapists with no teaching experience, and this can present challenges especially when teaching adults who have already been in the workforce for a while and may desire a more structured approach to teaching rather than this is how I do it, or a teacher who just reads from a PowerPoint.

I would recommend asking the admissions team about this and doing research on whether the teachers are trained to teach/instruct. I know this sounds nitpicky, but it makes a huge difference in my experience.

What factors did you personally consider when you were deciding which massage therapy school to attend?

What Is A Massage Therapist

Massage therapists help their clients recover from injuries, improve their posture and/or release tension. They do this by using their hands, arms and elbows to massage the muscles either in the specific area troubling the client or across the whole back, shoulders, arms and legs.

A massage session typically lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour so excellent upper body strength and endurance are necessary for this career. It also requires training in the appropriate techniques and equipment to use during a massage session.

Most massage therapists will specialize in two or three methods such as sports massage, Swedish massage or deep-tissue massage. They will then adapt these to the unique needs of each client. For example, a young, physically active client would require a more vigorous deep-tissue or sports massage to treat muscles that are used extensively. On the other hand, an elderly client might require a gentler technique focused on specific pain points.

Massage therapists can also opt between working at an office where clients come to them or making house calls where the therapist brings a massage table to the client’s home and does the massage there. Either way, it’s important for massage therapists to take a 15-30 minute break between sessions to allow their arms and hands some time to rest and recover. During these breaks, you should do some gentle stretches to prevent carpal tunnel or other injuries.

Read more: Learn About Being a Massage Therapist

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Option : Massage Therapy Bachelors Degree

Bachelors programs in massage therapy are rarer than certificate and associates programs and are normally focused on training massage therapists to become specialized in a particular therapeutic technique.

Many who are working towards a bachelors degree in massage therapy are currently licensed professionals.

These programs also tend to involve courses focusing on alternative medicine and treatments, such as various indigenous and Chinese therapeutic techniques and substances, as well as various core college requirements such as English, psychology, and math. Many who complete an associates degree transfer those credits to work toward a bachelors degree.

The typical bachelors degree takes about 4 years to complete.

Differences In Massage Therapy Program Lengths By State City And Education


The amount of time you spend in school can depend on the type of education you seek and the state or city in which you take classes. Each states regulations vary, and program length is directly affected by this. In Delaware, for example, youd need only 300 hours of training from an approved school to become a massage technician, while the states of New York and Nebraska require the most training, with 1,000 hours of education.

There are also a few states that, rather than hold state-wide requirements, vary based on municipality, or even by the type of job you seek. This is the case in Kansas, Minnesota, Wyoming and Vermont.



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Massage Certifications And Degrees

The requirements to practice as a massage therapist are most often regulated at the state level, with four exceptions: Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont. There are different massage education paths that will satisfy each states licensing requirements. These generally break down into two types: certifications that are focused on teaching you massage-related information quickly so you can get licensed and working as a massage therapist as soon as possible, and more general education degrees where massage or massage-related coursework features prominently as a specialization.

The variety of massage education options means that many different types of institutions offer massage therapy schooling, including local community colleges, so-called naturalistic colleges, and stand-alone massage schools. Make sure you confirm the program you choose is accredited, as many states require you to have attended an accredited program in order to be licensed. In addition, federal financial aid programs will only provide funding if your school is accredited.

Whats best for you depends on your educational goals do you want a well-rounded learning experience or are you more focused on obtaining exactly what you need to begin practicing with clients? You should also consider how much time youre willing to invest in your schooling, and remember that the minimum education required by employers varies based on your state.

Complete A Background Check Via Live Scan

I have previously used Live Scan fingerprinting for one of my state massage licenses . Here are some tips:

  • Your Live Scan print must be done in California. This differs from most other states fingerprinting requirements.
  • You cannot re-use prints taken for previous licenses in other states.
  • The cost of a fingerprinting and background check ranges from $60 to $100.
  • Here is a list of approved California Live Scan provider locations.
  • NOTE from CAMTC: Local Police and Sheriff stations may be more experienced in securing legible fingerprints from massage professionals with thin or worn ridges in the pattern area. When Florida enacted its fingerprinting requirement the above problem was a real struggle for massage therapists. Many had to complete their prints multiple times.

Fingerprinting Steps

CAMTC applicants must complete and submit a Massage Therapist Request for Live Scan Service form.

  • Make two photocopies of the Massage Therapist form after filling it out.
  • Choose a local Live Scan Vendor from the DOJ list.
  • Get prints completed at that location. Bring:
  • Completed live scan service forms
  • 2 forms of ID
  • Payment for service
  • The Live Scan service provider will fill out the section at the bottom of the page and keep the original.

  • Submit one completed copy of the Live Scan Request form to CAMTC. The other copy is for your records.
  • You can fax this information to 916-669-5337, or
  • Submit by mail:
  • It typically takes 72 hours for results to get to CAMTC from the DOJ.

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    What Does A Massage Therapist Do

    Massage therapists spend their days literally hands-on with their clients, manipulating muscles and soft tissue to relieve pain, promote relaxation, heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, and promote overall wellness.

    They may also spend their day reviewing appointments, setting up supplies, cleaning massage rooms and tables, and making sure waiting rooms are clean and presentable.

    Pass The New York State Massage Exam


    Like I previously mentioned, New York is one of the few remaining states to have its own state massage board exam, in lieu of using the MBLEx as an entry-level licensing exam. Taking the NYS exam is the last big hurdle for massage therapists before getting licensed.

    Here is everything you need to know about taking the exam.

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    Option : Massage Therapy Associates Degree

    The other option for prospective massage therapists is to complete an associates level program.

    Associates programs cover the basics of massage theory and techniques and often incorporate instruction of various different massage modalities like aromatherapy, deep-tissue massage, and prenatal massages. These programs also involve core college courses such as English and sociology.

    Many students enrolled in associates programs are current massage therapists and many who complete an associates degree go on to earn a bachelors degree and specialize in a particular massage modality.

    The typical associates level program in massage therapy takes around 2 years to complete, potentially longer depending on if you study full-time or part-time.

    Step : Open A Business Bank Account & Credit Card

    Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

    When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

    Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get and other financing in your business’s name , better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

    Open a business bank account

    • This separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
    • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

    Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

    Open net-30 accounts

    When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term “net-30,” which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

    Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

    Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus . This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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    Massage Therapist Job Growth Salary & Outlook

    Massage therapists face good starting salaries and a phenomenal career growth rate.

    The median annual salary for massage therapists in 2018 was $41,420 and the field is expected to grow by 26% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average rate.

    Moreover, massage therapy offers a very flexible job environment on account of the per-client nature of the work and the fact that many professionals are self-employed.

    How Long Does It Take To Become A Massage Therapist

    This is the fastest way to get your drivers license .

    Massage therapists provide comfort and healing for their clients through the use of skilled massage techniques. It’s a great career for people who are passionate about helping people and want a job that keeps them physically active. In this article, we’ll talk about what a massage therapist does, how long it takes to become one and what skills you will learn as you study for your career in massage therapy.

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    How And When To Build A Team

    Whether you decide to have a staff of therapists or run your office solo, youll want to hire an accountant for bookkeeping. As the business grows, youll want to hire someone to perform the office duties you dont have time for. You could hire an assistant for minimum wage or participate in your states apprenticeship program, where the individual obtains their license at the end of the program.

    Next Steps

    Check out our How to Start a Business page.

    Sign up at the Business Center to access useful tools for your business.

    Submit Evidence Of English Proficiency

    If you obtained your massage education in a country where English is not the principal spoken language, you will need to show evidence of English proficiency.

    Two of the most common ways to complete this if your education was in a country where English is not the principal language spoken is to:

    • Provide a passing score from a standardized test of English, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language or equivalent.
    • Provide a passing score from a written professional licensing examination given in English, such as the New York State Exam, MBLEx or NCETMB.

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    Key Tips On How To Start Your Own Day Spa Business

    A day spa is a frequently visited place by people who need some relaxation from their stressful life. Day spas facilities offer many services featuring several relaxation techniques and traditions. Tips on how to start your own day spa business will help you set up a foolproof business ensuring a decent earning.

    However, one must enter into this business only after thorough research on the demography of your target market. Your logo can play a key role in promoting your business. You can create a stunning logo for your business using online graphic design services which are cost-effective and hassle-free.

    A way to have an insight into the existing day spa market is to get the latest market data from your citys Chamber of Commerce. Make sure to collect data about your target consumers such as age and income level. Also, know about their educational background.

    Most importantly, find out how they usually spend their leisure time. Such data will give you an insight into the market, and will also help you prepare for the day spa services. Remember that a new day spa is a modern business and experience from running a conventional business may not be useful.

    Types Of Programs Offered For Estheticians

    Kinetic Massage of the Neck

    Esthetician courses can be offered as certificate programs, diplomas and associates degrees. Certificate programs may be centered on general education and an overview of the techniques used in skin care. Diplomas can provide more theory, whereas associates degrees cover natural sciences and medical esthetician lessons.

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