Massage Therapy Licensure in Missouri

Missouri massage therapists are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Therapeutic Massage. Full licensure is dependent on meeting education and examination requirements.

There are multiple levels of licensure. The lowest level is “student”; this allows a massage therapy student to practice therapeutic massage on the public.

Select a Missouri Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:

Massage Therapist Educational Requirements

Prospective massage therapists must complete at least 500 hours of studies. A massage therapy program may be school-based. State code also allows students to do their training through a board-approved apprenticeship program ( / adrules / 20csr pdf).

A massage therapy school may draw its authorization from the Coordinating Board of Higher Education (CBHE), the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), a comparable agency in another state, or a regional accrediting agency.

No fewer than 300 hours are to be devoted to the theory and practice of massage therapy. At least 100 hours are to be in anatomy and physiology. The curriculum must also include 50 hours in the combined areas of business practice, hygiene, ethics, and Missouri massage law. Another 50 hours are to cover ancillary therapies; CPR training is included in this content strand. A detailed description of educational requirements can be found in CSR 2197-2.010 ( / adrules pdf). Requirements for mentoring programs are found in CSR 2197-4 ( / adrules / csr / 20csr 20c2197-4 pdf).

Massage Therapist Examination Requirements

Missouri massage therapists are licensed on the basis of examination. The Board has approved a number of examinations. They include the following:

  • The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
  • The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
  • The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETBM)
  • The Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) Examination
  • The American Medical Massage Association National Board Certification Examination (AMMA NBCE) if “administered as of 2006”

State code allows for acceptance of other examinations that may be deemed appropriate.

The MBLEx is an offering of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, or FSMTB (

The NCETM and NCETMB are former offerings of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCBTMB. Both were administered until February 2015. Examinees can contact the NCBTMB by telephone at (800)296-0664 or by email at ‘info at’.

The ABT is a former offering of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or NCCAOM ( Customer service information is accessible from the NCCAOM homepage; the page includes a link for individuals who need score reports sent to licensing agencies. NCCAOM can be reached by telephone at (904) 598-1005.

Information about AMMA examination and certification is available through the American Medical Massage Association ( / testing).

The Examination Process

An applicant can be issued a provisional license when an examination has been scheduled but not yet taken.

The examination process, however, may be completed relatively quickly. The MBLEx is the current licensing examination that enjoys the most widespread acceptance in the United States. An individual who applies for the MBLEx can be approved to test within a week. An approved candidate is issued an Authorization to Test (ATT) which can be used to schedule at a Pearson VUE computerized testing center. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards does not require transcripts. Candidates are asked to confirm that they have read the candidate information bulletin ( / mblex). There is a $195 examination fee.

The FSMTB typically sends the score report to one licensing agency selected by the examinee.

Background Check and Liability Insurance Requirements

Prospective Missouri massage therapists must have fingerprint-based background checks processed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI ( massage fingerprint information pdf). This step should be carried out before application. The agency’s approved vendor is Cogent 3M. Applicants begin the process by registering through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS). They may register online ( or call 877-862-2425. Electronic fingerprinting facilities are located inside the state’s UPS stores. There is a $44.80 fee for the background check. The applicant will need to bring a recent photograph to the appointment. Background checks will be received automatically by the licensing agency, but the applicant should save his or her receipt to include in the application package.

Applicants must provide also evidence of liability insurance.

The Application Process

Application forms are found on the website of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration ( / massage application forms). The stage at which an applicant first applies will vary according to individual circumstances. The ‘forms’ page includes materials for applicants at the student, provisional, and permanent levels.

Transcripts may be submitted at the provisional or permanent level. Transcripts are to be official copies. The licensing agency allows the program or mentor to fill out a section of the application, however, if there is not a transcript available.

An applicant who answers “yes” to background questions will need to provide explanatory information on separate paper.

The application for permanent licensure directs individuals who have held licensing in other states or territories to provide license verification.

An application for permanent licensure is to be accompanied by a $125 fee. The fee is $75 at the provisional level.

Application status can now be monitored online ( / checklist login).

Additional Information

The Missouri Board of Therapeutic Massage ( / massage) can be reached by email at ‘massagether at’ or by telephone at 573-522-6277.

The American Massage Therapy Association-Missouri is an additional professional resource. The organization has a new website and web address (

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