Massage Therapy Certification

Massage Therapy Certification

The Massage Therapy Certification and licensing process is very confusing in the US. Certification is different than licensing. To be able to provide massage therapy as an employee or start your own massage business you will need to be licensed to do massage in your state. Going to massage school you will most likely get a certificate of completion of the massage program but that does not allow you to call yourself a certified massage therapist. It does mean that you need to complete the requirements for massage licensing in your state which may include becoming Nationally Certified by the National Certification Board or Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) Up until recently, massage therapy certification has been offered only by the NCBTMB. This organization was developed by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) in 1992.

Most states until recently have been using an exam process set up by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The title of this certification is misleading. It does not mean that you can practice in any state that you want. You will still have to fulfill each states unique requirements.

There is also currently another exam that is being accepted in some states. It is offered by the Federation of Massage State Boards. It still does not mean that you can practice in any state. The Federation is making headway in getting more states on board with having an alternative to National Certification.

The NCBTMB is a very controversial political topic in the massage profession. In some places the NCBTMB exam is often being required as a prerequisite for getting a job but this certification may not be all that it is supposed to be. It does not guarantee that a massage therapist will be knowledgeable or competent to do massage. Their recent tactics in cases like the State of PA where licensing is just being started questions the integrity of the NCBTMB. You can read more about it on the blog at Massage Magazine.

While the test is offered by the NCBTMB, you also have to pay extra to obtain their certification. Most people do not renew their certification after their initial membership as it really does not do much in the way of getting you ahead in the profession.

There have also been consistent problems in their customer relations and long delays in getting massage licenses.

To become a massage therapist in the US, you will need to find out what is required in your state or in the state you want to practice. Each state requirements vary in things like the number of total hours of education as well as the number of hours of classes in certain areas.

For example two states can require 500 hours of training but they may require a different amount of hours in a specific topic like anatomy or pathology.

To find our more about what is required to become a professional massage therapist you can Purchase My Ebook – The Massage Therapy Career Guide – The Truth About Becoming a Massage Therapist”To see a list of Massage State Boards visit