A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Licensure in Alabama

Alabama's massage therapists are licensed by the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy. To be license eligible, an individual must be at least eighteen and have an acceptable background. Additionally, he or she must complete a qualifying educational program, pass a national examination, and take out a liability insurance policy.

Select an Alabama Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:

Educational Requirements

Alabama now requires 650 hours of education (http://www.almtbd.alabama.gov/PDF/Rules/2014_MAS_Rules_Regulations.pdf). This represents an increase over prior years.

Programs must include the curriculum described in state rules and regulations (http://www.almtbd.state.al.us/rules.aspx).

Anatomy and physiology study is to be at least 100 hours; it should include the following minimum content:

  • Myology: 35 hours
  • Osteology: 15 hours
  • Circulatory system: 10 hours
  • Nervous system: 10 hours

Pathology study is to comprise at least 40 hours.

Massage therapy study is to comprise 250 hours. Included in this content area is a minimum 50 hours of supervised practice. Contradistinctions, contraindications, and related touch modalities are to receive coverage.

An additional 50 hours should cover miscellaneous Board requirements. Among them are business, professional ethics, CPR, first aid, and hydrotherapy.

Electives can account for 210 of the required hours.

The Board has provided a list of schools (http://www.almtbd.alabama.gov/schools.aspx).

Examination Requirements

Alabama massage therapists must pass standardized examinations. There have been some changes to examination mandates that may not be reflected on all materials on the website of the licensing agency. The Board has decided that the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) will be accepted as a licensing exam (http://www.almtbd.state.al.us/default.aspx).

This is significant, as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), the only organization previously approved to offer licensing examinations in Alabama, has changed its examination and certification policies and does not offer an examination geared toward entry level practice licensing. The NCBTMB now offers only one examination, the Board Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCETMB), which is designed to be one step in a board certification process (http://www.ncbtmb.com/board-certification). Requirements are higher for board certification than for Alabama licensing. Certification requires 750 hours of education, though an individual who has graduated from a shorter program may be approved to test before making up the additional hours. Board certification costs $250. A candidate will not actually achieve certification until he or she has practiced professionally for at least six months.

The BCETMB asks candidates to apply skills to scenarios. It has 160 questions, spanning four content areas. The NCBTMB will require transcripts before examination.

The MBLEx is not associated with certification. It is a computer adapted multiple choice examination designed to assess knowledge and judgment necessary for entry-level practice. A candidate who is interested in taking the MBLEx will register through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. The examination fee is $195. It is not necessary to submit transcripts. Candidates must read the content outline before making application (https://www.fsmtb.org/mblex/exam-content/).

Both the MBLEx and the BCETMB are scheduled through Pearson VUE. Candidates will wait to schedule until after they have received authorization. The ATT will grant a 90 day eligibility window.

A candidate who takes the MBLEx can expect scores to be reported automatically to the licensing agency; this takes place very soon after testing. A candidate who takes the BCETMB will not have scores automatically reported; he or she will need to request a score report.

Candidate bulletins are available through the respective organizations.

Additional Requirements

The prospective massage therapist will need to take out a liability insurance policy. According to the 2014 edition of Board rules, the carrier must be ranked at least 'A' and the policy must cover at least $1,000,000.

Background is also a factor in the approval process. An applicant can be denied licensure for having performed massage in a sexually oriented business.

The Application Process

A prospective applicant must submit a request for an application. The request form can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.almtbd.alabama.gov/forms.aspx?sm=a_b). The request is to be accompanied by a cashier's check or money order in the amount of $25.

The Board will require official transcripts. Alternate documents can be accepted only in "unusual circumstances".

If the transcript is not in English, it must be translated. The translator will need to provide an affidavit.

The applicant will need two passport-style photographs.

The license fee is $100.

Animal Massage Qualification

In order to be qualified to perform animal massage under the direction of a veterinarian, the massage therapist must graduate from a nationally approved program and then complete at least 100 hours of education and training covering animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology. The education is to address the type of animal with which the therapist will be providing services.

Massage Therapy Instructor Licensing

In order to receive adjunct licensing as a massage instructor, a licensed massage therapist must document two years of experience.

There is a separate application form for massage therapy instructor. It can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.almtbd.state.al.us/forms.aspx). A $10 fee will be assessed. Applicants are asked to familiarize themselves with Section 34-43-20(5) of state code.

Additional Information

The Alabama Board of Massage Therapy can be reached by telephone at 334-420-7233 or 866-873-4664. The Board can be reached by email at 'massagetherapy at alstateboard.com'.

The Alabama Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is an additional professional resource (http://al.amtamassage.org).