Massage Therapy Licensure in Texas
The Texas Department of State Health Services licenses the state’s massage therapists. Prospective massage therapists must complete required coursework and take two examinations.
Select a Texas Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:
- Massage Therapy Schools in Texas
- Massage Therapist Education Requirements in Texas
- Examination Requirements and Process
- Reciprocity for Out-of-State Massage Therapists
- Background Check Requirements
- International Applicants
- Application Process (Forms and Materials)
- Massage Instructor Licensure
- Contacts for the Board and Professional Associations
Texas Licensed Massage Therapist Education Requirements
The massage therapy student will need 500 hours of qualifying education. The following content must be included:
- Anatomy: 50 hours
- Kinesiology: 50 hours
- Physiology: 25 hours
- Pathology: 40 hours
- Techniques, theory, and practice of soft tissue manipulation: 200 hours (with no less than 125 hours devoted to Swedish massage therapy technique)
- Hydrotherapy: 20 hours
- Laws and rules, ethics, and business practice: 45 hours
- Hygiene, health, universal precautions, first aid, and CPR: 20 hours
- Internship: 50 hours
Individuals may request transcript evaluation if they are not certain that their coursework meets Texas standards. They will send transcripts and course descriptions along with written request; the licensing agency does not currently charge a fee for this service (dshs.state.tx.us / massage / mt aquestions). Individuals will be allowed to make up deficiencies without repeating past coursework.
Individuals who enrolled in massage therapy schools prior to September 1, 2007 may be licensed on the basis of 300 hours programs. The program must include the following:
- Anatomy: 50 hours
- Physiology: 25 hours
- Swedish massage: 125 hours
- Hydrotherapy: 15 hours
- Ethics and business practice: 15 hours
- Health and hygiene; 20 hours
- Internship: 50 hours
Those who enrolled before January 1, 1992 may be licensed on the basis of 250 hour programs.
Texas massage therapist candidates take a national massage therapy examination and a state jurisprudence examination.
Texas students have just one option for the national examination: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, or MBLEX. It is offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).
Massage therapists can also be licensed on the basis of having passed the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) or the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). However, these examinations are no longer available from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (ncbtmb.org/). They were last administered in early 2015. Texas will accept examination results from no more than two years in the past unless the massage therapist is currently licensed in another jurisdiction.
The Examination Process
Prospective massage therapists take both required examinations before application. International applicants, though, will need the licensing agency to confirm their eligibility.
Candidates can apply for the MBLEx online through the FSMTB website (fsmtb.org). They will not be required to submit transcripts. They are, however, asked to read the candidate bulletin before submitting their materials. There is a $195 testing fee. Once approved, the candidate will be able to schedule a computer-adapted testing session through Pearson VUE. There are testing centers located throughout the United States.
Candidates can pay the jurisprudence examination fee and access the test online (dshs.state.tx.us / massage / mt jurisprudence). They are directed to submit one copy of the certificate and retain one copy for their records. The fee for the jurisprudence examination is $35.
A criminal history is not necessarily disqualifying (dshs.state.tx.us / massage / mt aquestions). However, an individual will be disqualified if he or she has been convicted of prostitution or another sexually related crime or, during the prior five years, has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor considered to involve ‘moral turpitude’. Individuals can also be disqualified based on recent violations of Texas occupational code. The licensing agency notes that other convictions could result in disqualification if, in the judgment of the agency, licensure would pose a threat to the public. Individuals who are not sure they will qualify based on criminal history can have their history evaluated before they enter an educational program (dshs.state.tx.us / plc cheval). There is a $50 fee for this service. If the history is not disqualifying, the individual will be issued a letter to this effect.
Out-of-state massage therapists must meet comparable requirements. Those with current credentials can be licensed on the basis of state-administered examinations. The licensing agency notes that this privilege is not extended to massage therapists who hold only local credentialing.
Required coursework will depend on when the massage therapist enrolled in a program. Current standards are in effect for those who entered programs September 1, 2007 or later.
The out-of-state massage therapist will need to provide license verification from the state where he or she holds credentialing.
The Texas licensing agency can accept international education only if the transcript has been professionally evaluated for equivalency. The transcript must also be translated into English (dshs.state.tx.us / massage mt faqostate/). Graduates of foreign schools are advised to contact a local college for a list of transcript evaluation agencies.
The Application Process
Applicants are directed to submit their initial applications online (dshs.state.tx.us / massage / mt aonline). The Department has provided a FAQ for using the new Regulatory Services Online Licensing System (dshs.state.tx.us / regulatory faqs/).
Applicants are asked to read the laws and rules before applying. These can be accessed from the sidebar of the massage therapy home page.
The licensing agency will need the jurisprudence examination certificate.
Education is documented by transcript. If it is not clear from the transcript that the required content was covered, the individual may include a school catalog or course descriptions.
The application fee is $117 (as per the most current application).
The Department of State Health Services notes that it generally takes three to six weeks for a credential to be issued. Applicants are invited to call or email if six weeks have elapsed. New massage therapists will be able to view and print their credentials online before they receive the physical copies through the mail.
Massage Instructor Licensure
Experienced massage therapists can qualify for massage instructor licensing by completing additional coursework (dshs.state.tx.us / massage / mt ainstructor). The massage therapist will need 30 hours of education in teaching adult learners. The qualifying training may be taken as part of a certificate program, as college coursework, or as continuing education.
The instructor license is also dependent on having practiced for at least a year and having accrued at least 500 experience hours.
Licensing information is available from the Texas Department of State Health Services (www.dshs.state.tx.us / massage / default). The Massage Therapy Licensing Program can be reached by telephone at (512) 834-6677 or by email at ‘massage at dshs.state.tx.us’.
The Texas Chapter of the American Massage Therapy association is an additional professional resource (amtamassage.org / chapters / 82463).