Massage Therapy Licensure in North Dakota

North Dakota massage therapists are licensed by the State Board of Massage Therapy. Prospective massage therapists must pursue qualifying education, pass a licensing examination, and have a physical examination. The Board also requires massage therapists to have good character and “temperate habits”. A high school diploma or GED provides the foundation for practice.

Select a North Dakota Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:

Educational Requirements

North Dakota massage therapists must have 750 hours of education and training, at least 300 of them ‘hands-on’ ( / license requirements). Their programs must meet the standards of Title 49 of state code ( / laws rules). Instructional hours are to be broken down in the following manner:

Anatomy and physiology are to comprise 150 hours; kinesiology, 90 hours. Pathology is to receive 45 hours of instruction. Business practice is to comprise 30 hours; ethics, another 30. First aid, CPR, and hygiene are together to comprise 10 hours.

The remaining 125 instructional hours are to include coverage of the following areas: benefits, contraindications, universal precautions, body mechanics, ethics, legalities, professional standards, and the history of the massage therapy profession.

Practical instruction is to comprise 300 hours. Practical instruction includes time spent performing massage or receiving massage from a fellow student under the supervision of an appropriate professional ( / 49-02-03 pdf). It includes classroom experiences as well as work performed in the student clinic. Administrative code states that a North Dakota massage student is not to perform massage on members of the public until he or she has completed at least 225 hours of didactic instruction and at least 150 hours of practical instruction in a classroom setting. The instruction is to include specific techniques identified by the Board. Practical instruction and student supervision is addressed in Chapter 49-02-03 of administrative rules ( / information / acdata / 49-02).

The Board has provided a list of regional massage therapy schools ( / resources / schools).

Education received out-of-state will be reviewed on an individual basis, The licensing agency may determine that additional requirements must be met before a license can be awarded.

The licensing agency notes that the qualifying education can come from more than one school.

Examinations Requirements

The candidate will need to pass a national massage therapy examination. The following examinations have been approved:

  • Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
  • National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
  • National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)

The NCETM and NCETMB, however, were discontinued as of February of 2015. Individuals who took one of these examinations in the past may contact the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork ( / contact us) about having a score report sent to the North Dakota Board.

Individuals can register for the MBLEx through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). They will provide the name and location of the school they graduated from or currently attend; transcripts are not required. Applicants will also affirm having read the content outline. There is a $195 examination fee. A candidate will select, at the time of registration, which licensing agency test results should be sent to. Applications may be submitted online or mailed ( / mblex / application requirements).

Approved candidates are issued ATTs, valid for 90 days. The ATT authorizes the individual to schedule an examination with Pearson VUE. The examination is computer-adapted and is available year-round at computerized assessment centers throughout the nation. North Dakota boasts two assessments centers; they are located in Fargo and Bismarck. Candidates are advised to schedule early.

Additional Requirements

The individual will also need to have a physical examination. The licensing agency will require certification that the prospective massage therapist is either without contagious illness or has received training in appropriate measures to prevent the spread of illness.


Out-of-state licensees may be licensed without examination if they meet reciprocity requirements described in 43-25-18 of laws and rules ( / laws and rules tab). A licensed massage therapist who has been in active practice for at least the two years preceding application can be licensed by reciprocity provided that the educational hours and mandates required by North Dakota were required. A licensed massage therapist who has been in active practice for at least the five years prior to application can be licensed by reciprocity on the basis of “substantially similar” licensing standards.

The North Dakota Board will require license verification; the certification is to indicate that the massage therapist is in good standing and has good character.

The Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the Board website ( / become licensed).

The applicant will also need to download the ‘statement of compliance’ form. Among the things the applicant will attest to: being a high school graduate, not being a habitual drug user, and being committed to follow the applicable code. The statement requires notarization.

The applicant will need to include a passport-style photograph.

The Board will require a notarized affidavit from the school verifying the number of hours in each content area and attesting that the school is accredited; there is a model affidavit on the Board website. The applicant will need to submit an original transcript and a copy of the diploma.

The licensing agency will also need a copy of the applicant’s CPR certification and a copy of his or her high school diploma (or high school transcript or evidence of equivalency).

The certificate of physical examination is to be an original copy.

The application fee is $150.

Applications are to be mailed to the Board office in Beach.

Additional Information

New Laws effective 8/1/2017 Century Code: /Century Codepdf

The North Dakota Board of Massage ( can be reached at 701-872-4895. Office hours are 8:00 to 5:00. The Board can also be reached by email contact form ( / contact / board staff).

The North Dakota Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is an additional professional resource (

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