Licensed Massage Therapist Requirements



Are you thinking about becoming a licensed massage therapist and want to know the requirements? We’ll cover all the licensed massage therapist requirements necessary to start your new career. Plus, we explore other certifications that can improve your skillset.

Related: 5 Things to Look for When Investing in Online Education

Massage Therapy as a Career

Do you love to work with people? Are you fascinated by health and wellness topics? If you answered yes to those questions, a career as a massage therapist might be right for you. Demand for massage therapists will jump significantly in the next decade by 20.6% from 2019 to 2029. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that up to 34,400 jobs will become available over that period. 

Reasons for demand

There are several reasons that massage therapy has grown in popularity and therapists are in demand:

  • The population of the U.S. is older than it has ever been. People are not only living longer, but they also have an expectation of a higher quality of life than in the past. 
  • Studies show that massage therapy lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increases lymphatic circulation. This activity means that the body is producing more disease-fighting cells and boosting the immune system
  • Another reason for rising demand is that the broader benefits of massage therapy are being acknowledged by the healthcare industry. As a result, massages are included in the benefits package offered by many employers and health insurance companies cover massage therapy.  

The Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist

Massage training class

So you’re ready to become a part of this wonderful world of massage therapy. Here are the steps you should follow to become a licensed professional.

Complete a recognized training program

Depending on where you want to practice, find an accredited/approved school or program that will provide you with a quality massage education. Some states allow you to gain a license by doing an approved apprenticeship program. But be careful taking this route. It can limit your options if you want to practice in other, stricter states. Do your research to find out what the requirements are in your state. 

Your training will include science, massage theory, and of course, application. It will likely last about six months, and during that time, you may have opportunities to perform services to the public. Note that practicing in public may require you to have liability insurance, but this will be explained to you by your educating body. While you’re still a student, you should acquaint yourself with the specific licensing requirements of your state and make contacts with established businesses in the field. You might also consider joining a professional association. As a student, this may not cost you less money and may even come with liability insurance or student perks. 

Most states will require a licensing exam. You can preview the exam content on the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards website.  

Related: Thrive As An Entrepreneur: Tips For Wellness Industry Professionals

Do you think you might benefit from therapeutic touch therapy? Contact Yomassage today!


Meet the requirements of the state

Although requirements differ from state to state, here is a look at the typical requirements for licensing.


Document your education and training

Your training school will document your education as most states want an official transcript from them proving your attendance. Some states will need the school to be verified as well. Additionally, you may need a high school diploma or equivalent. 


Exam requirements

Most states will require you to take an exam before applying for licensing. Your exam results may be sent electronically to your state’s licensing agency if you take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). If you choose to do an apprenticeship first, you may have to apply for licensing before taking the exam because you’ll need a license to do the apprenticeship.

Some states will want you to take a jurisprudence exam. This will test how well acquainted you are with the laws, rules, and ethics that apply to massage therapy. You may have to go in and take this exam in an official exam environment, or you may be able to take it online. Some states won’t require this at all. 


Background checks

The examining board might require a background check with fingerprints. You just provide the agency (ORI) number on your application packet.

Other states may want a background check that is based on your name. You will have to honestly answer questions about criminal history. If you do have a criminal conviction, it won’t necessarily disqualify you from obtaining a license. You will need to give a detailed explanation of the situation, along with official documents. You can also submit reference letters. 


Additional requirements

For some states, you will need a liability insurance policy with minimal coverage that complies with the board’s requirements. You may also need to show them evidence of a current CPR certificate. 


Preparing the application

In your application packet, there may be instructions to send in one or two passport photos. You may also need proof of age and citizenship (or other legal status). Your application may need to be notarized.  

Related: Strengthening Your Massage Practice to Withstand Any Storm    

Yomassage Training Requirements

Once you are licensed as a massage therapist, you may want to consider additional certification in Yomassage. Yomassage offers additional massage therapy training to offer your clients a more luxurious, therapeutic experience


The 25-hour Signature Yomassage Certification hones your skills and teaches new techniques and contraindications for:

  • Strengthening the mind-body connection
  • Trauma-sensitive bodywork
  • 1-1 or small group sessions
  • Incorporating restorative stretch, mindfulness, and therapeutic touch


Do you share our philosophy that everyone deserves access to therapeutic touch? Join us and become a Yomassage therapist.    
Previous Post Next Post