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The State of New Jersey Massage Therapist Requirements

Throughout the 8,729 square miles of the Garden State, approximately 7,775 massage therapists work to help the more than 8.9 million people in their state find relief from pain, rehabilitation from injuries, and comfort in the midst of stress and anxiety.

With 281,054 people in Newark, 261,940 people in Jersey City, and 145,710 people in Paterson, massage therapists who work in New Jersey can find an engaged environment to open, continue, or join a massage therapy business.

How Do I Become A Massage Therapist in New Jersey?

If you’re ready to move into your career as a massage therapist in New Jersey, you must register with the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy. The registration fee is $60 or $120, depending on when you are eligible. Once you are registered, you must receive licensure by the Board. If you do not register, you will be working illegally and can receive a fine.

In order to receive this license, you must complete a minimum of 500 hours from an approved massage therapy program or be certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

You can find application request forms on their website.

Where Can I Study?

The New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy allows students to complete their 500 required hours at schools approved by the NJ Department of Education, the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the NJ Commission of higher education, or an agency of another state that meets the same requirements.

Below are two approved schools in New Jersey to help you get started on what you may be looking for in a massage therapy education.

  • Gentle Healing School of Massage and Education Center: Awarded the “School of Excellence” award from the ACCSC, this school has been creating talented massage therapists since 1996. Their mission is to “instruct students in the art and science of massage therapy in a relevant, current and conducive manner.”
  • Academy of Massage Therapy: With small class sizes and personal learning environments, this school has a teaching philosophy based on “hands-on” learning with the theory to support the practical applications. This is the oldest massage therapy school in New Jersey, and many graduates are now employers themselves.

Other education options include Institute for Therapeutic Massage and JSG School of Massage Therapy.

How Much Will I Earn?

The average annual wage of a massage therapist in New Jersey was $58,843 in 2021. This is on the higher side of state earnings, with the average national salary at $53,222. Massage therapists who work in New York-White Plains have the opportunity to earn a higher salary, with the average for this city at $61,229 annually.

NJ Massage Therapists License Requirements FAQs

What do you need to become a massage therapist? 

In New Jersey, massage therapists will need to have completed an approved course of study that’s accredited or approved by one of the following agencies: the NJ Department of Education, the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or the NJ Commission on Higher Education. An applicant will need at least 500 hours completed by an accredited program and then pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). The State of New Jersey also requires proof of massage therapy liability insurance coverage.

Who maintains all of the regulation information for the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy?

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs maintains all of the regulation information concerning the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy. You can find general information about the board, meetings, disciplinary action, applications and forms, tips for license applicants, the laws and regulations, license verification, and additional information all online from this site. If you don’t see the information you’re looking for, it’s a good idea to reach out to the board directly. You can email MassageTherapy@dca.lps.state.nj.us or call 973-504-6520. In the event you want to write, they have a P.O. Box listed as P.O. Box 45048, Newark, NJ, 07101.

How long does it take to get a NJ massage license?

The length of time it takes to get your NJ massage license will vary on how long it takes you to meet all of the requirements. First, you will need 500 hours completed from an accredited massage education program. Within these, you’ll need at least 90 hours of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, ethics, law, electives, theory and practice as well as at least 100 hours in clinical practice. After that, you’ll need to pass the MBLEx and get insured. Once you have all of this, you can pay the application fees and start the process. Depending on the program, you should expect at least six months to get it all done.

Where can you find the best massage therapy school NJ has to offer?

In order to apply for a massage license in NJ, you have to complete a course of study that’s approved by one of the following state agencies: the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Department Labor and Workforce Development, or the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. There’s also the possibility of meeting this requirement through an agency from a different state that has certification requirements similar to those of the three agencies listed above. So, finding the best massage therapy school in NJ should always start with looking at accredited programs.

What’s the quickest massage therapy license NJ provides?

There isn’t a “fast pass'' option for massage therapy licensing in NJ unless you already are licensed in a different state and can get approved for reciprocity. Otherwise, all applicants will still need to complete the 500 hours of education from an approved education provider, pass the MBLEx and be able to provide proof of massage therapy insurance before applying. Now, many massage education programs today are set up with self-paced online sections which means you could put in more work and get through these faster, but you’ll still need to be sure you’re meeting all the requirements, such as 100 hours of clinical experience.

What's the best massage therapy training NJ has?

Looking for the best massage therapy training for initial licensing needs to start with the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Each of these agencies maintains a list of approved education providers. If you need approved massage therapy continuing education providers in New Jersey, the NJ Massage Board maintains a list of these providers on their site and presently includes the NCBTMB, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals, and about a dozen others.

Does the NJ Massage Board set license requirements?

The NJ Massage Board is granted authority under New Jersey Statutes to set and maintain the requirements concerning massage therapy licensing in the state. These requirements do change based on the present conditions in the industry so you should always be sure to check in with the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy website listed through the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

What are the New Jersey massage therapy license requirements?

In general, an applicant wanting to apply for an initial massage license in the State of New Jersey is going to need 500 hours of education from an approved provider, proof of having liability insurance, and proof they’ve passed either the MBLEx or the NCBTMB massage exam. When you go to apply for an NJ massage license, you’ll need a notary for your signature, the correct filing fees, transcripts, a passport-style photograph, and other requirements depending on your background. As far as continuing education, massage therapists will need to pay the renewal fee and complete at least 20 hours every two years from an approved massage education provider.

What NJ massage license law applies to new therapists?

There are many different parts of the New Jersey Statutes that apply to the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapies regulations. For a really in-depth read, you can search the statutes that pertain to these regulations yourself as the State readily publishes them online. Chapter 45, Section 11 covers a multitude of different massage and bodywork laws present in the State of New Jersey. In general, these define the duties and responsibilities of the board, the application process, eligibility for licensure, continuing education requirements, advertising, background checks, and more.

Is there a listing of the best massage therapy classes NJ has?

The tricky part here is you could have the absolute best massage therapy classes in New Jersey but if the education provider isn’t approved by a qualifying state agency, then the investment in time and money in these classes might not count toward your license. That’s why you should always check to make sure the program is approved by one of three New Jersey state agencies listed by the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy.

What does the NJ Board of Massage Therapy do?

The NJ Board of Massage Therapy and Bodywork Therapy is responsible for setting the requirements for licensing, holding meetings, taking on disciplinary and other actions, providing current information for applicants and current license holders, keeping up with the changing laws and regulations, processing change of address, and other forms, maintaining lists of approved education providers, verifying licensing, and other administrative duties. 

Can you learn how to become a massage therapist in NJ?

Absolutely. There are many great programs out there that are all approved by the state agencies the NJ Board uses to verify minimum education requirements. By searching for an accredited program, you can be sure that all the hard work you put into your classes will actually count towards the 500 hours of education you will need in order to apply for a license. A crucial part of these 500 hours is 100 hours of clinical time. You have a choice with how these are earned so you should seek out a highly rated clinic that’s approved to provide these hours, as well as look to earn hours in an area of massage and bodywork that interests you. 

Is the NJ state massage license difficult to earn?

The NJ state massage license isn’t necessarily difficult to earn, but it does take some work and you will need to stay on top of all the requirements set forth. If you are diligent in your studies with an approved massage education provider, you will find you can complete the program in around six months. From there, you just have to pass the MBLEx. With proof of insurance, you will then have everything you need to sit down and actually apply for the license. Once you get your license, make sure to stay on top of continuing education requirements of earning at least 20 hours every two years and paying the renewal fees on time. This will ensure you don't ever have an unexpected lapse.

How much continuing education do you need for a NJ massage license?

Currently, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy requires 20 hours of massage continuing education from an approved provider. These entities include the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA), the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and several others.