Massage and Bodywork Therapy Licensure in New Jersey

New Jersey mandates licensure for massage and bodywork therapy professionals. The grandfathering period ended in 2013. First-time massage therapists may be licensed on the basis of qualifying education or examination. The New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy also grants reciprocal licenses to out-of-state massage therapists.

There are additional state-specific licensing requirements, including first aid training and criminal background checks. These are required of all massage therapists, regardless of the method of licensure.

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Massage and Bodywork Therapist License by Education

In order to be license qualifying, massage therapy education must meet requirements set by the state ( / ca / mbt rules). The program may be approved by the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, or the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. It may also be approved by a comparable agency in another state, provided the other agency has standards that are at least substantially similar. The New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy has provided a list of approved schools ( Prospective students should be aware that information changes periodically. They can visit the Board website for the most current list.

The massage therapy program is to meet New Jersey coursework requirements. The New Jersey Board requires at least 90 hours in the combined disciplines of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. There must be in-class instruction in theory and practice as well as electives which directly relate to massage and bodywork therapy. The student must complete 100 hours of supervised clinical practice. Total program length must be at least 500 hours. The Board credits one semester credit as 15 hours.

Individuals who graduated from programs that did not have the required approval or accreditation may apply for licensure by examination.

Massage and Bodywork Therapist License by Examination

The New Jersey licensing agency will accept relevant examinations by any of three organizations: the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), or the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

The qualifying FSMTB examination is the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEX). This is the licensing exam that is currently in widespread usage around the nation. Test takers need to affirm that they have read the candidate bulletin and that they have appropriate training; it is not necessary to submit transcripts. It is possible to register online and receive authorization to test within five working days ( The ATT grants a 90-day testing window; examinations are offered at Pearson VUE computerized testing sites.

The qualifying NCCAOM examination is the Asian Bodywork Therapy Examination, or ABT ( The ABT examination has been discontinued, but diplomats who hold the credential can continue to recertify.

Board rules allow for massage therapists to be licensed on the basis of any of multiple examinations offered by the NCBTMB. However, the NCBTMB currently offers only one: a Board Certification examination ( Requirements are set higher for Board Certification than they are for New Jersey licensure; voluntary certification does not replace licensure but adds a secondary credential. In order to be eligible for Board Certification, a massage therapist will need to complete a program that has been assigned an NCBTMB code. The certification cannot be awarded until the massage therapist has accrued at least 250 hours of experience at the professional level.

Past NCBTMB offerings include the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM), the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) and the National Examination for State Licensure (NESL).

License by Endorsement

A massage therapist can also be licensed on the basis of current credentialing in another U.S. state; the other state must have educational requirements that are at least substantially similar to those of New Jersey. A candidate for license by endorsement will need to request credential verification from each U.S. jurisdiction where he or she has ever held licensure or certification.

Additional Requirements

The prospective massage therapist will need training in CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillators (AED). The licensing agency will accept courses approved by the American Heart Association or similar courses approved by other recognized agencies (the American Red Cross, the American Safety and Health Institute, the National Safety Council, EMP International Inc., or Coyne First Aide Inc.).

The applicant will also need to have a criminal history check. The background check must be carried out after the application is submitted. The applicant can expect to receive fingerprinting instructions from the licensing agency.

The Application Process

Prospective massage therapists submit their applications online ( / mbt applications).

Applicants for license by education will need official transcripts sent directly from the school. In some cases, applicants whose schools have since closed will be able to obtain the needed transcripts from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. They will need to fill out student record request forms.

Score verification or license verification, if required, are also to come directly from third party sources. Candidates who take the MBLEx can designate the New Jersey licensing agency as the score recipient; in this instance, scores will be reported electronically shortly after examination.

Each applicant will need to provide a two by two passport-style photograph as well as evidence of having earned the required health certifications.

Licensing fees vary, depending on which year it is in the biannual renewal cycle; the fee may be $60 or $120.

Additional Information

The New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy ( / mbt) can be reached by email contact form ( / mbt contact).

The state’s professional organization is the New Jersey Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (

People and Organizations We Like in New Jersey

Dr. Jane Garofano at JSG School of Massage Therapy: Graduates of her school, JSG School of Massage Therapy, qualify for the NCTMB and MBLEX exams and will satisfy the educational requirements for the new NJ State License.

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