Massage Therapist Licensing

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What Are The Education Requirements For Massage Therapists?

Massage therapy is one of the most popular and most medically therapeutic specialties in the beauty industry. Though people may go to massage therapists for relaxation and stress relief, some also go for medical issues or pain. Since you work with many parts of the body as a massage therapist, it’s important to meet the training requirements of your state before you become licensed.

This career is managed by different licensing boards, depending on which state you are in. In some states, massage therapy is regulated by the cosmetology board. In other states, it is regulated by a specialized massage therapy board.

No matter who oversees the licensing in your state, plan on completing a comprehensive education program before you apply for your license. On average, massage programs require 1000 hours of theoretical and hands-on training. Your program should cover anatomy and physiology, massage styles and techniques, standards and hygiene, and statutes in your state.

Furthermore, you’ll find that most states require a certain amount of your training hours to be spent with clients. This ensures that your knowledge can be applied to a real massage therapy setting and gives you valuable experience with your future customers.

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Initial Licensing Requirements For Registered Massage Therapist

Licensing can be a fairly rigorous process in the field of massage therapy. When you start getting close to the end of your training, you can apply to take your massage therapy exams through the appropriate licensing board. This involves submitting proof of your educational hours, your hands on experience hours, and any required assessments from your instructors.

Once your education is completely over, you can then take your board exams. Typically, these include a practical exam and a written exam. You must pass both exams to become licensed as a massage therapist.

Not only must you meet the education laws of your licensing board, you must complete your training hours at an approved school. Schools that are accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation have been thoroughly examined and reviewed to ensure that their education standards are in line with what is needed in the massage industry.

This is important in massage therapy because unlicensed therapists can weaken the reputation of the industry, particularly if they lack the proper knowledge and understanding of the human body to provide valuable massage services.

Will I Have To Renew My Massage Therapy License?

As is the case with most cosmetology careers, massage therapists are subject to license renewal requirements, which tend to be unique to each state. On average, licenses have to be renewed every two years. However, there are outlying states that have one-year and three-year licensure periods. It’s important to be completely aware of the renewal requirements in your state, since renewing late can cause you to lose your license or pay additional fees.

When you receive your initial license, you may also get information on continuing education. Massage therapy continuing education is required in some states, but not in others. Ongoing training may cover sanitation, hygiene, anatomy, massage practices, and techniques. Meeting or exceeding the training requirements of your state is required if you want to renew your license.

This process is pretty quick and easy. After paying a renewal fee, which tends to be slightly lower than the initial licensure fee, and submitting your renewal application, you’ll receive your license in the mail.

Can I Use My Registered Massage Therapy License In A Different State?

If you are considering transferring your license or applying for a license reciprocity in a new state, be aware that massage therapy can be a tricky field for license transfers. Even in states that allow reciprocity, massage therapy is often left off the list of licenses that can be transferred.

However, if you’re willing to put in the work and fill out the proper paperwork, you may still be able to get your license transferred to a new state. Typically, this process involves having your initial licensing board submit proof of your certification to the licensing board in your new state. If the training requirements in your new state are greater than those in your home state, you may also need to provide proof of hours worked as a massage therapist or attend additional training in your new state.

Some states offer absolutely no reciprocity or license transfer options. In this case, you can often submit proof of your education and sit for the licensing board’s massage exams to get your license.

Massage therapy is a field that gives you the freedom to improve lives and learn a valuable skill. Check out massage therapy schools near you to find out how you can get started.

Great Falls (DC Metro Area)
VA