A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Licensure in Oregon

Oregon massage therapists are under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists and. Prospective therapists must meet state-mandated educational requirements and pass a series of examinations to become a Licensed Massage Therapist in Oregon.

Educational requirements are modified for professionals who already hold licenses in other qualifying healthcare fields.

Select an Oregon Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:

Massage Therapist Educational Requirements

Massage therapy students must have at least 500 hours of qualifying education; 20 quarter credits or 13.34 semester credits can be accepted as the equivalent (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/lawsrulespolicies.aspx).

At least 200 hours are to be in the health sciences: anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and pathology.

At least 300 hours are to be in the combined areas of massage therapy practice and application, clinical practice, sanitation, ethics, business development, and communication. Hydrotherapy is no longer mandated, but can be accepted for credit.

Professionals who are licensed in qualifying healthcare fields may meet educational requirements for massage therapy licensure after just 300 hours of massage therapy coursework. They will not need to document the 200 hours of health sciences coursework. The following are listed as qualifying professions: Medical Doctor, Naturopathic Doctor, Occupational Therapist, Physician Assistant, Doctor of Chiropractic, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Physical Therapist, and Licensed Acupuncturist. This method of meeting requirements is termed “health endorsement”.

Experienced out-of-state massage therapists may be allowed to substitute continuing education for some coursework through a process termed "credentialing review". An out-of-state massage therapist may be allowed to use prior continuing education for as many as 80 of the 200 required health science hours and as many as 120 of the massage therapy instructional hours. Additionally, the Board may credit up to 40 practice hours toward the massage therapy education requirement. Requirements for credentialing review are detailed in Rule 334-010-0009 (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/ActiveContent/334-010-0009.pdf).

Examination Requirements

Prospective Oregon massage therapists take three examinations: a written examination, a practical examination, and an open-book jurisprudence examination. Written examinations are nationally administered; the other two examinations are administered at the state level. Prospective massage therapists may take their written examinations at different stages. However they can be approved to take the practical examination only after their education has been approved.

Written Examination: The Oregon Combined Candidate Handbook (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/forms.aspx) cites four approved national exams: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM), the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB), and the Certification Examination for Structural Integration (CESI). Some of the approved examinations, however, are no longer available.

The MBLEx is a current offering. Moreover, it is accepted as a licensing examination in most U.S. states (https://www.fsmtb.org/content/?id=59). The MBLEx is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Candidates may apply online. Examinations are computer-administered and are available year-round. Approved candidates are issued ATTs that grant a 90-day testing window.

The IASI is another current offering. It is offered by the Certification Board for Structural Integration (http://www.siexam.org/). The IASI is intended for candidates with very specific training. Traditional candidates are those who have graduated from (or are currently attending) IASI-recognized programs. Other candidates may be approved to sit for the exam after portfolio review. The examination approval process is longer for nontraditional applicants. Fees vary by circumstance.

The NCETM and NCETMB were offered by the National Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (http://www.ncbtmb.org/). As of February 1, 2015, both examinations have been discontinued. In their stead, the NCBTMB offers an advanced examination that is not intended to be used for initial licensure (http://www.ncbtmb.org/news/fsmtb-and-ncbtmb-clarify-agreement-purpose).

Practical Examination: The practical examination assesses communication and assessment, massage and bodywork, and kinesiology. The handbook provides details about concepts that may be addressed. Candidates are allowed to select a preferred massage/ bodywork modality for the purpose of demonstration; they can select from the list in the combined handbook. The Board has also provided a video about the examination process (http://www.oregon.gov/obmt/pages/licensing2.aspx).

Practical examinations are generally available each week. The Board schedules applicants but does make an attempt to accommodate date requests. Notification is sent 14 days in advance unless the applicant has chosen to waive the 14 day notice. Results are sent out within 30 days; examinees are asked not to make examination result inquiries by telephone. Candidates who fail the examination must remit an additional $150.

Jurisprudence Examination: The jurisprudence examination can be completed at home and mailed or hand-delivered to the Board office.

State Endorsement for Qualifying U.S. and Canadian Massage Therapists

Out-of-state massage therapists qualify for license by endorsement only if they have met comparable requirements in another jurisdiction. In order to be considered to have met comparable requirements, a professional must have passed a practical examination. The Board notes that massage therapists from New Hampshire or Washington State may have met this requirement. Additionally, massage therapists from Newfoundland, Labrador, Ontario, or British Columbia may qualify.

Additional Requirements: CPR Training and Criminal Background Checks

The prospective massage therapist must be certified in CPR.

Additionally, he or she must have a fingerprint-based criminal background check. In-state applicants will have fingerprints made electronically through the approved vendor, Fieldprint.

There are two associated fees. $12.50 is owed to Fieldprint for fingerprinting; the background check carries an additional $43 fee. The background check process is not carried out until after application and examination (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/pages/faq.aspx).

Appointments can be scheduled online (http://www.fieldprintoregon.com/). Fieldprint customer service can be reached by telephone at 877-614-4364 or by email at 'customerservice at fieldprint.com'.

The Application Process

Application forms and candidate handbooks can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/forms.aspx).

Applicants will need to submit official transcripts. Transcripts can be accepted directly from the applicant if they are sealed in their original envelopes. If the massage therapy school has since closed, the Board may accept alternative documentation such as a copy of a transcript or certificate of completion. The copy is to be notarized. The Board will also need a letter from the accrediting agency or department of education; the purpose is to verify closure date.

The licensing agency will also require a passport-sized photograph, a copy of a valid ID, and a copy of both sides of the CPR certification.

Health endorsement applicants and state endorsement applicants will also need license verification forms and copies of their licenses (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/forms/candidatehandbookcombined.pdf).

Documents that are not in English must be translated; translations are to be accompanied by affidavits attesting to the language competency of the translator and the veracity of the translation.

Applicants must pay a $50 application fee. Additionally, most applicants will need to pay a $150 fee to take the practical examination. Out-of-state massage therapist requesting credentialing review (as an alternative method to meet some state educational requirements) will pay an additional $250.

Applicants can expect notification that either 1) their files are complete or 2) they need to submit additional documentation.

Additional Information

The Oregon Board of Massage Therapy (http://www.oregon.gov/obmt/Pages/index.aspx) can be reached by telephone at 503-365-8657. Additional contact information is available on the Board website (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/contact_us.aspx). Massage therapists should be aware that rules change periodically; minor rule changes have been proposed and may go into effect in mid-2015 and early 2016 (http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/lawsrulespolicies.aspx).

The Oregon Massage Therapists Association is an additional professional resource, but is not involved with the licensing process (http://www.omta.net/).