Massage Therapy Certification and Licensure in Delaware
Delaware massage professionals are under the jurisdiction of the Division of Professional Regulation. There are two levels of credentialing, Certified Massage Technician and Licensed Massage Therapist. Licensed Massage Therapists have additional education beyond that required at the technician level. They are also required to pass a licensing examination.
Select a Delaware Massage Therapy Licensure/Certification Topic:
- Massage Schools in Delaware
- Massage Therapist Technician Certification in Delaware
- Massage Therapist Licensure in Delaware
- Reciprocity for Out-of-State Massage Therapists
- Additional Requirements: CPR and Background Checks
- Application Process (Forms and Materials)
- Contacts for the Board and Professional Associations
Massage Therapist Technician Certification
The prospective massage technician must complete an approved course of study of at least 300 hours (dpr.delaware.gov/massage bodyworks massage therapist/).
The coursework is to represent unified training; all 300 hours of coursework are to be completed through a single school (regulations.delaware.gov Admin Code). However, the licensing agency will consider coursework obtained through more than one school in cases of hardship, for example, when a massage therapy school has closed.
Coursework is to include the following:
- Anatomy and physiology: 60 hours
- Technique and theory: 140 hours
- Law, ethics, and contraindications: 25 hours
- Elective coursework: 75 hours
A student can apply for temporary licensure as a massage technician after completing 200 hours of massage therapy coursework (dpr.delaware.gov/massage bodyworks temp massage technician). The 200 hours must include at least 50 hours of anatomy and physiology and 110 hours of theory and technique. The student must have completed the full 25 hours of law, ethics, and contraindications coursework. He or she will need to have met the CPR requirement.
Massage Therapist Licensure
To be credentialed as a Licensed Massage Therapist, the student must complete 500 hours of education through an approved school or program. The student will need the following:
- Anatomy and physiology: 100 hours
- Technique and theory: 300 hours
- Law, ethics, and contraindications: 25 hours
- Massage theory electives: 75 hours
The 500 hours do not all have to be from the same school.
Candidates for Licensed Massage Therapist must pass an examination. There is now a single licensing examination open to new Delaware applicants, the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination, or MBLEx (dpr.delaware.gov/boards massage bodyworks massage therapist). However, the licensing agency will accept score reports from individuals who took other examinations in the past. State rules reference two examinations that are no longer offered, the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (regulations.delaware.gov/Admin Code title24).
The MBLEx is offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards www.fsmtb.org/. Candidates may submit applications online or download paper copies. They will need to pay a $195 fee. Transcripts are not required. Applications are typically processed within five working days. The candidate will be issued an Authorization to Test (ATT); this grants a 90-day testing windows. The examination will be scheduled through Pearson VUE.
The test taker will receive results immediately after testing. The Division of Professional Regulation will receive them within 24 hours – provided that this is the state licensing agency that the candidate selects on the examination application. Examination results are customarily sent to one state. A candidate can request an additional score report for $20.
Additional Requirements: CPR and Background Checks
Prospective massage therapists are required to pursue CPR certification. The American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the National Safety Council are among the potential providers. Other courses may be accepted following review (regulations.delaware.gov/Admin Code). The Division has stated, however, that online courses are not accepted.
Applicants must also have state and federal criminal background checks. An instruction sheet is found in the application packet. It includes contact information for the three Delaware fingerprinting sites. The Division notes that the Sussex and New Castle County locations require appointments; the main location in Kent County does not. In-state applicants will take the Criminal History Record Check form with them to the fingerprinting agency along with the required fee.
Out-of-state candidates may go to a local police station. They will mail the record check form and fee along with the complete fingerprint card to the Delaware State Police/State Bureau of Identification (SBI). The background check fee is $69 in either instance.
The Licensing Law states that individuals may not be licensed if they have been convicted of crimes that relate substantially to the practice of massage therapy (www.fsmtb.org/). However, waivers will be considered; if the related conviction was at the felony level, at least five years must have passed.
The Application Process
Application materials are found in the ‘forms’ section of the Board website (dpr.delaware.gov/boards/massage bodyworks forms).
Transcripts are to be sent straight to the licensing agency by the issuing institution.
Score reports are also to come directly from the FSMTB or NCBTMB. The Division notes that applicants who need score reports from the NCBTMB can log onto their Career Management System profiles.
The applicant may photocopy the front and back of his or her CPR certification.
The application itself requires notarization.
Applicants pay a nonrefundable $126 fee at either the technician or therapist level (dpr.delaware.gov/boards massage bodyworks fees). The processing fee for temporary technician certification is $55.
A Certified Massage Technician with active credentialing pays $55 to upgrade.
Out-of-State Massage Therapists
Any applicant who has ever held massage credentialing in a U.S. jurisdiction will need to secure a letter of good standing.
Out-of-state applicants must file for initial application unless they have been licensed and in continuous practice for at least two years. If they hold current licensing and have met the practice requirement, they can apply by reciprocity. The same application is used. However, the massage therapist will follow a different set of instructions. The reciprocity candidate does not have to submit transcripts documenting completion of Delaware’s required coursework. CPR certification must still be documented. The massage therapist will need to have passed a national examination.
The Division of Professional Regulation can be reached by telephone at (302) 744-4500or by email at ‘customerservice.dpr at state.de.us’.
The Delaware Chapter of the American Massage Therapist Association is an additional professional resource (https://de.wp.amtamassage.org).