Massage Therapy Certification in Indiana
Indiana massage therapists are regulated by the State Board of Massage Therapy, under the banner of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
Certified Massage Therapists are at least eighteen years of age and have education at at least the high school level. They must meet state training and examination requirements. Additionally, they must take out liability insurance policies and have their fingerprints made.
Select an Indiana Massage Therapy Certification Topic:
- Massage Therapy Schools in Indiana
- Massage Therapist Education Requirements in Indiana
- Examination Requirements
- Out-of-State and International Massage Therapists
- Background Check Requirements
- Professional Liability Insurance
- Application Process (Forms and Materials)
- Contacts for the Board and Professional Associations
Massage Therapist Educational Requirements
Prospective massage therapists must complete programs of at least 500 hours. The school is to be authorized in its own jurisdiction and in good standing with its regulatory agency.
Programs may be 1) offered by institutions of higher learning 2) accredited by the State Workforce Innovation Council or 3) similarly accredited by other states. Programs located outside of Indiana are expected to meet standards comparable to in-state schools.
Educational requirements are summarized in Indiana Code § 25-21.8-4 (www.in.gov/SBMT pdf).
Indiana will accept any of four licensing examinations:
- Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
- National Board Certification Agency National Certification Examination (NBCA NCE)
- National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage
- National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
The MBLEx is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). It is the massage therapy examination in most common usage in the United States (www.fsmtb.org/). Candidates can register online and receive examination authorization within five working days. Applicants must confirm that they have had appropriate training but are not required to submit transcripts. They must be prepared to remit $195. Scores are automatically sent to one licensing agency designated by the candidate; this service is covered in the examination fee. Examinations are multiple choice and are available on an ongoing basis through Pearson VUE.
The NBCA NCE examination was developed for the American Medical Massage Association (americanmedicalmassage.com testing). The Level I Examination is intended for individuals who have completed 600 hours of massage training or a comparable requirement set at the state level. In order to establish eligibility, an individual must become a member of the American Medical Massage Association; transcripts are due at this stage.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork has recently ceased to offer the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (abmp.com/ncbtmb will no longer offer licensing exams).
Background Check Requirements
The applicant will need to have a fingerprint-based criminal background check, or CBS. He or she must wait for confirmation that the application has been processed before submitting the CBC; notification will come by email. The licensing agency notes that background checks received before application processing cannot be accepted as state law prohibits viewing of criminal records of non-applicants.
The agency’s approved vendor is Identogo by Morphotrust. Identogo offers ‘livescan’ fingerprinting services throughout Indiana; the list is organized by region and includes contact information and hours of operation (l1enrollment.com locations). Applicants begin the process by registering with Morphotrust. They can schedule online or call 877-472-6917.
Applicants who live out-of-state or are otherwise unable to travel to a livescan site may have their fingerprints made on FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards, then scanned for processing by Identogo. They will register with Identogo before making a submission. Morphotrust has provided an instruction sheet for hard card submission (l1enrollment.com/state forms in).
State law prohibits licensing of individuals who have been convicted of rape, sexual misconduct, or prostitution. Other criminal convictions will be considered on a case by case basis.
Indiana reserves the right to ask applicants who have criminal histories to make a personal appearance before the Board. In some cases, though, the license can be issued without Board meeting.
Professional Liability Insurance
Indiana massage therapists are required to hold professional liability insurance. The state is to be listed as “additional insured” (www.in.gov files SBMT pdf).
The Application Process
Applications can be downloaded from the website of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (in.gov/pla 2929).
The applicant will need a passport-style photograph.
The licensing agency will also require a notarized copy of the liability insurance.
Some supplemental materials will be submitted by third parties.
Transcripts are to be sent directly from the issuing institution.
Applicants who have held professional licensing in any state regulated profession must submit license verification.
Individuals who answer “yes” to certain background questions must provide notarized statements detailing the violation. Any available court records should be included.
The applicant must include a $100 fee; it is nonrefundable.
Out-of-State and International Massage Therapists
Massage therapists can be endorsed into Indiana on the basis of current credentials issued by other states; the licensing standards must be at least as high as those of Indiana.
Internationally educated massage therapists must have their credentials professionally evaluated by International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF). They must provide a translation of the transcript if it is not in English. IERF (www.ierf.org) can be reached at 310-258-9451.
Massage therapist certification information is available from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (in.gov/pla massage.htm). The agency can be reached by email at ‘pla14 at pla.in.gov’ or by telephone at 317-234-8800. Massage therapists should be aware that regulations change periodically; the most recent massage therapy compilation is from 2014 (www.in.gov/pla/3317).
The Indiana Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is an additional professional resource but is not involved with the state certification process (www.amtaindiana.org/).