Forty-six states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces currently offer some type of credential to professionals in the massage and bodywork field – usually licensure, certification or registration.
To view requirements click on a state or province listed below.
Note: Even if your state or province is listed here, check with city or county officials for information about local requirements and ordinances.
*For customers in the state of Indiana professional liability limits are increased to $2 million per occurrence and $6 million individual annual aggregate for massage therapy services only; General liability limits are increased to $2 million per occurrence and $8 million individual annual aggregate for massage therapy services only.
Massage Therapy State Licensing Requirements FAQs
You will need to have proof of your current licensure and go through the process that your new state board sets for your location. Some states have immediate license reciprocity so all you’ll need to do is fill out some paperwork and usually pay a licensing fee to get your license transferred. Others have additional educational or testing requirements that will need to be met before you will be able to transfer your license. The best idea is to start as early as possible so that you have plenty of time to get all of these requirements taken care of.
The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is currently the most widely accepted massage licensing examination accepted at the national level. Almost every state will accept or even require passing this standardized test for massage therapists in order to obtain a license. The MBLEx is considered the main entry-level licensing exam.
You can use our handy state information tool above to look up individual information on the state in which you plan on starting your massage service. Use this information as a resource, but always make sure to check in with your state board for the latest and most up-to-date information available. Requirements can change and you never want to miss a deadline that could delay initial licensure or renewal.
Wyoming, Minnesota, California, Kansas and Vermont are all states that do not require an actual license in order to provide services as a massage therapist. Minnesota is one state that does not currently have a state board for massage therapy but there are a number of local regulations and requirements that you should be aware of. It’s good practice to always make sure to check the individual requirements at both the state and local level for your location before you start offering services.
There are only a handful of states that don’t have a licensing process for massage therapy, but within these there are local requirements that can dictate certification or educational requirements. The best path is to research what your individual location requirements are. We publish information we’ve gathered from state boards to help give you a start, but you should always check and make sure you have the most up-to-date information for your city and state before you start seeing clients.
Almost every state has a minimum number of education hours from approved providers. From there, there’s usually a requirement to pass a recognized aptitude test such as the MBLEx, a registration process, and the paying of initial licensing fees. Most states have a state board for massage therapy which sets the individual requirements so always be sure to stay up to date with your state’s board.
Quick answer - absolutely. States vary significantly in a number of different aspects of getting your massage license. You will see different amounts of hours of education state boards require, the approved massage education providers that you can complete a program through, how much a license registration costs, how long the process takes, and a number of other variables. Be sure to check out your state board for the most up-to-date information on all things massage licensing in your state.
Almost every state requires some amount of continuing education in order to renew your license; however, the requirements differ greatly. Some states, like Florida for example, have biennial requirements which means you will have to complete a certain amount of CEUs every two years in order to renew. Other state boards have annual CE requirements, some even have tri-annual requirements (once every three years). Make sure you know the exact requirements your state board has well ahead of any deadlines so you aren’t scrambling come renewal time.
Different state boards charge different registration fees and the overall cost of obtaining your license can vary based on the education program you undertake. For example, Indiana has a current registration fee of $100 and Massachusetts' registration will run you $225. License registration fees for massage therapists are set by the state board in your home state and can run on the low side around $100 to the high side of $400 depending on your chosen state. As far as education program costs, these vary widely but some of the most affordable options are offered through community colleges or vocational schools.
Most state boards require a certain number of education hours to be completed before you can register for a license. Massage schools vary in how long they take to complete and can depend on how many classes you take at a time. On average, going full-time to an accredited massage therapy school usually takes about eight or nine months to complete with part-time students taking a bit longer. Once you’ve successfully completed your program, you will still need to pass the MBLEx in most states and once that’s through, actually register for your license which can take 30 days or more. So all in, from starting school through getting a license, you are looking at around one year.
There is no standard national registry for individual massage therapists but there are some professional organizations that maintain directories. For example, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork has a directory for board-certified therapists who have progressed through their program.
If you have taken and passed the MBLEx, you usually will not have to retake it in order to transfer a license except for special cases like when a significant amount of time has passed since taking the exam. Some states have additional education requirements that may need to be met along with other steps in the registration process which will all need to be completed prior to getting your massage license in a new state. The best way to be prepared is to check with your new state board well ahead of your anticipated move date and to start nailing down each of their unique requirements well ahead of any deadlines.
Most state boards have a list of approved massage therapy education providers published on their website and we’ve also listed a number of these within our state licensing information published above. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or are ever unsure, it’s far better to contact your state board and get confirmation that the program you are looking into is fully accredited so that your hours will count towards your licensing requirements.
Local regulations are not readily listed on state boards' websites since these vary based on each and every jurisdiction within the state. Check your city or municipal authority to see what kind of regulations they have for a new massage therapist. There can be tax or business registration requirements, registering with emergency services, and even massage insurance requirements that all need to be met before you open your doors and start seeing new clients.