Massage Therapy Licensure in Colorado: Become an LMT in Colorado
Colorado massage therapists are under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Office of Massage Therapy Licensure. More stringent regulations went into effect in 2014. Massage therapists are licensed on the basis of education, examination, and background screening.
Select a Colorado Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:
- Massage Therapy Schools in Colorado
- Massage Therapist Education Requirements in Colorado
- Massage Therapist Examination Requirements
- Reciprocity for Out-of-State Massage Therapists
- International Massage Therapists
- Application Process (Forms and Materials)
- Contacts for the Board and Professional Associations
Licensed Massage Therapist Educational Requirements
The prospective massage therapist must attend an approved school (highered.colorado.gov/Students residency). Massage therapy schools can be considered approved if they meet one of the following standards:
- Certification by the Colorado Community College System
- Approval by the Colorado Division of Private and Occupational Schools
- Approval by educational regulatory agency in another state
- National accreditation
The massage therapy program must be at least 500 hours.
A program approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is accepted as meeting requirements for program approval and minimum training hours.
Prospective massage therapists are licensed by examination. According to Rule 3 of the Massage Therapy Licensure Rules and Regulations, candidates must pass one of the following: 1) the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards licensing examination 2) the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) 3) the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB) or 4) another examination approved by the Director.
The NCETM and NCETMB were offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. They are no longer offered. The NCBTMB now instead offers the NCBTMB Board Certification Examination or BCTMB (https://www.ncbtmb.org/certificants/). The examination is taken as part of a Board Certification process. Requirements for Board Certification are in some ways more stringent than they are for initial Colorado licensure.
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards examination, the MBLEx, is in widespread use as a licensing examination. Candidates submit their applications and fees (currently $195) to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (https://www.fsmtb.org/). Applications are generally processed within five working days. An accepted candidate will receive an ATT which grants a 90-day testing window. Examinations are scheduled through Pearson VUE.
The FSMTB reports scores free of charge to one licensing agency selected by the candidate at the time of application. Test results are generally sent electronically within 24 hours of testing.
The Colorado Office of Massage Therapy Licensure application materials direct candidates to send verification from any examination that they have passed that relates to massage therapy practice.
The Application Process
Applications are submitted online (https://dpo.colorado.gov/MassageTherapy/Applications).
Test result verification can be uploaded into the system.
The licensing agency will require official transcripts or certificates of education. These should be requested and sent directly from the issuing institutions. The Office of Licensing in Denver will also accept hand-delivered transcripts or certificates; they must be in their original sealed envelopes.
If the transcript does not indicate the program’s accreditation or approval, the applicant will need to document this separately. The applicant may provide a letter from the school or a print-out from the website of the accrediting agency; this, too, can be uploaded.
The application fee is $80.
The application does not have to be completed in one sitting but must be completed with 30 days. An applicant who does not complete the application during this timeline will need to begin again.
Prospective massage therapists must submit to fingerprint-based background checks carried out by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. They will receive details as they move through the application process. They are directed to wait to have the fingerprints made until they are within a week of completing/ submitting the application.
Colorado massage therapists are required to carry liability insurance. An individual is not required to have insurance at the time of application but will need it before commencing practice; an applicant who does not yet have a qualifying policy will attest that he or she will obtain it.
Applicants must also complete Healthcare Professions Profiles. They can access the questions after submitting the application.
Out-of-State Massage Therapists
The Office of Massage Therapy Licensure will require verification of the status of all out-of-state massage therapy licenses, past or present.
A massage therapist who is licensed in good standing in another jurisdiction can be licensed by endorsement if the other jurisdiction has standards that are at least equivalent to those of Colorado.
Training is accepted as meeting requirements if the massage therapist graduated from a school that has a code assigned by the NCBTMB and is in good standing. If the program lost its status after the massage therapist graduated, the Colorado licensing agency will consider qualifications on a case-by-case basis.
Endorsement candidates are expected to demonstrate evidence of either active practice or continuing education. If an applicant practiced for 400 hours during a one-year period during the prior two years, this meets the active practice requirement.
A massage therapist who has not been in active practice will need to demonstrate 24 hours of continuing education. The licensing agency will accept up to two hours of ethics and up to two hours in practice building/ office management.
International Massage Therapists
Internationally educated applicants will need to have their education, work experience, and other credentials reviewed by the International Education Research Foundation (IERF) or the International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD). IERF (www.ierf.org) can be reached at (215) 222-8454, ICD (www.icdeval.com) at (215) 222-8454. International applicants will upload their credential reviews to the online system.
The Colorado licensing agency also requires verification of any international licenses.
The Office of Massage Therapist Licensure (https://dpo.colorado.gov/MassageTherapy) can be reached by telephone at (303) 894-7800 or by email at ‘DORA_MassageTherapists at state.co.us’.
The Colorado Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is an additional professional resource (https://co.wp.amtamassage.org/).