A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Licensure in Maryland

Maryland massage therapists are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Examiners. There are two massage therapist credentials: Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and Registered Massage Practitioner (RMP). Registered Massage Practitioners practice only outside of healthcare settings.

Select a Maryland Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:

Massage Therapist Educational Requirements

Both Licensed Massage Therapists and Registered Massage Practitioners must complete massage therapy programs. Licensed Massage Therapists have additional education at the college level.

New regulations (effective April 15, 2015) increase the number of massage therapy education hours from 500 to 600. This requirement is the same for LMTs and RMPs.

To be license-qualifying, the massage therapy school must be accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. department of Education. The Maryland Board has provided a list of approved accrediting agencies (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/schoolsa.aspx); the list includes both institutional and programmatic accreditors.

To be eligible for the higher (LMT) license, an individual will need 60 credit hours of college coursework. There are two pathways. An individual who has earned at least 24 of the 60 semester hours in a field related to healthcare is considered to meet the LMT educational requirement. An individual who has not will need 24 hours of continuing education in advanced massage therapy as a supplement to his or her education.

Massage Therapist Examination Requirements

Maryland massage therapists must pass both a national massage therapy examination and a state-specific jurisprudence examination.

National Examination: The Board will accept multiple national examinations. Fully five are referenced in application materials. Some, however, are no longer available.

The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is currently available and is accepted in most U.S. states. It is offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Candidates do not need to submit transcripts in order to be approved to sit for the examination. They do need to confirm that they have read the candidate handbook. They can apply online and receive examination authorization within five business days (https://www.fsmtb.org/mblex/application-requirements/). Examinations are computer-delivered; they are available year-round through Pearson VUE.

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) Board Certification Exam is another current offering (http://www.ncbtmb.com/board-certification). The NCBTMB has set the minimum education requirement at 750 hours. Before a candidate can actually achieve certification, he or she must practice at the professional level for a minimum of six months and accrue a minimum of 250 practice hours.

Two of the examinations referenced are former offerings of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) were both offered until February of 2015.

Application materials also reference an examination offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. NCCAOM no longer offers an examination that is focused on Asian bodywork. There is no current bodywork examination. NCCAOM remains an active credentialing organization in other disciplines and can be reached at (904) 598-1005.

State Jurisprudence Examination: The jurisprudence examination covers the laws and regulations that the state's massage therapists must know and abide by. Candidates take the jurisprudence exam after making application; they must score at least a 75%. The jurisprudence exam is offered on a monthly basis. The Board website has a list of test dates and submission deadlines (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/exam.aspx).

Examinees who fail a first attempt are allowed to retest the following month. Candidates with unexcused absences must wait 60 days before testing; this also holds true for those who fail the exam twice. A testing fee is due each time.

Background Check Requirement

Maryland requires state and federal criminal background checks. Maryland residents should have their fingerprints made at a Livescan (electronic fingerprinting) facility prior to application. They will need the correct agency/ authorization codes; these can be found in the application packet.

Nonresidents may also use Maryland Livescan facilities. If this is not feasible, they may have their fingerprints made locally. Those who do not opt to use Maryland Livescan facilities will wait until after application. (The licensing agency will send fingerprinting materials once the application has been received.)

There is a $32.75 background check fee; this is in addition to the fee charged by the fingerprinting service.

Prospective massage therapists are advised to call the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) at 410-764-4501 if they have questions about the background check process.

The Application Process

Application materials are available on the Board website (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/licensurea.aspx). Applicants must read the massage therapy statute and regulations before submitting their materials; they will need to attest to having read them in a notarized statement.

The licensing agency will require official transcripts. They are to be sent straight from the issuing institution.

The completed application packet will also include a number of photocopied documents. Among them are transcripts, score reports, and CPR certification. (Although the FSMTB will provide MBLEx score verification, the Board still needs a copy of the report.)

The candidate will attach two passport-style photographs.

The Board will require a total of $250 for application and state examination.

The complete application package is to be sent to the Board of Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Examiners in Baltimore.

International Applicants

Internationally educated candidates must take additional steps to validate their education. They will need to have their transcripts professionally reviewed by one of four approved organizations (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/schools.aspx). Transcripts that are not in English must be translated by an American Translators Association member organization.

Additional Information

Licensing and registration information is available from the Board of Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Examiners (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/Home.aspx). The Board can be reached by telephone at 410-764-4738. Additional contact information is available online (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/massage/SitePages/contact.aspx). Professionals should be aware that regulations change periodically; there were revisions in 2015.

The Maryland Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (http://www.amtamd.org/)is as an additional professional resource, but is not involved with the licensing process.