How to Become a Licensed Massage Therapist

Learn the requirements for becoming a licensed massage therapist in your state. Find out what education and experience you need to get started in this rewarding career.

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Introduction

In the United States, massage therapists must be licensed in order to practice. There are a few ways to become a licensed massage therapist, but the most common way is to complete a postsecondary education program and pass a state licensing exam.

Most states require massage therapists to complete a formal education program before they can take the licensing exam. These programs typically last between six and 12 months and include both classroom instruction and hands-on training. Once you have completed an accredited massage therapy program, you will need to take the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), which is overseen by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

After passing the MBLEx, you will need to apply for a state license. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but most states require you to submit an application, pay a fee, and pass a background check. Some states also require you to take an additional exam, such as the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCE). Once you are licensed, you will need to renew your license on a regular basis (usually every two years), which may involve completing continuing education credits.

The Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist

Becoming a licensed massage therapist has its perks. For one, you get to help people relax and feel good. You can work in a variety of places, such as a spa, a salon, or even a hospital. You can also set your own hours and be your own boss.

Job Satisfaction

A recent study that was conducted in order to assess the levels of job satisfaction amongst massage therapists revealed some interesting findings. The study showed that the majority of massage therapists reported feeling very satisfied with their jobs. In fact, only a small minority of respondents said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their current line of work.

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There are many potential reasons why massage therapists might experience high levels of job satisfaction. For one, the work can be very satisfying on a personal level. It can be extremely gratifying to help people feel better and relieve their pain and tension. Additionally, massage therapists often have a great deal of control over their work schedules, which can lead to a better work-life balance. And finally, many massage therapists report earning good salaries and enjoying good job security.

Helping Others

When you become a licensed massage therapist, you open up a world of opportunities to help others. As a massage therapist, you will have the ability to work with individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. You will help them to relieve pain, heal injuries, and relax both their bodies and their minds. You may also work with pregnant women and new mothers, providing them with much-needed support and relief. In addition, you may provide massage therapy to those who are dealing with chronic illnesses or life-threatening diseases. No matter who you work with or what population you specialize in, as a licensed massage therapist, you will be making a difference in the lives of others.

Good Income Potential

Many massage therapists are self-employed, which means they have the potential to earn a good income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for massage therapists was $34,900 in 2012. The top 10 percent earned more than $70,530, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $19,490.

Flexible Schedule

One of the benefits of becoming a licensed massage therapist is that you will have a flexible schedule. You will be able to set your own hours and work around your personal commitments. This can be a great option for stay-at-home parents, retirees, or anyone who wants to choose their own work schedule.

Steps to Becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist

Before you can begin a career as a licensed massage therapist, there are a few steps you must take. The process begins with completing an accredited massage therapy program. Once you have completed the required coursework, you will then need to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). After you have passed the MBLEx, you will be able to apply for a state license.

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Complete a Massage Therapy Program

Most states in the U.S. require massage therapists to complete an accredited massage therapy program and pass a licensing exam. Programs typically take between 500 and 1,000 hours to complete and can be found at community colleges, technical schools, and some universities. Some programs may offer specializations such as sports massage or reflexology.

In addition to completing a massage therapy program, you will also need to pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The MBLEx is a computer-based exam administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). To be eligible to take the MBLEx, you must have completed an accredited massage therapy program.

Once you have completed a massage therapy program and passed the MBLEx, you will need to apply for a license in the state in which you wish to practice. Each state has its own licensure requirements, so be sure to check with your state board of massage therapy for specific details. Most states require licensure by passing both the MBLEx and a jurisprudence exam.

Pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx)

You must pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) to become licensed. This is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam that tests your knowledge of massage therapy and bodywork. The MBLEx is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).

You can take the MBLEx at any Pearson VUE testing center. To find a testing center near you, visit the FSMTB website.

The MBLEx costs $195. You can register for the exam on the FSMTB website.

You will need to bring two forms of identification to the testing center on the day of your exam, including one photo ID. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, passport, military ID, or state-issued ID card.

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The MBLEx is a multiple-choice exam with 120 questions. The questions are divided into 10 sections:
-Anatomy and physiology (20 questions)
-Kinesiology (19 questions)
-Pathology, contraindications, areas of caution and special populations (26 questions)
-Benefits and effects of massage and bodywork modalities (10 questions)
-Client assessment, reassessment and treatment planning (10 questions)
-Ethics, boundaries and business practices (10 questions)
-Guidelines for professional practice (5 question

Apply for a License

The requirements for becoming a licensed massage therapist (LMT) vary from state to state, but all states require completion of an accredited massage therapy program and passing of a state-specific exam. In some states, individuals must also complete continuing education credits on a regular basis in order to maintain their license.

Here are the general steps you will need to take to become a licensed massage therapist:

1. Complete an accredited massage therapy program. Most programs take between 6 and 12 months to complete, and include both classroom instruction and hands-on training.
2. Pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), which is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. You will need to contact your state board to find out how to register for the exam.
3. Apply for your state license. Once you have passed the MBLEx, you will need to submit an application to your state’s licensing board, along with any other required documentation and fees.
4. Complete any additional requirements in your state, such as passing a criminal background check or completing continuing education credits.

Conclusion

To become a licensed massage therapist, you will need to complete a certain amount of education and pass a professional certification exam. Once you have your license, you will be able to work in a variety of settings, including spas, resorts, clinics, and hospitals. With a little hard work and dedication, you can begin a rewarding career in massage therapy!

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