Massage Therapy Licensure in Utah
Utah massage therapists receive their credentials from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).
There are three components to Masage Therapist licensure. Prospective massage therapists must complete education or training programs. They must pass examinations. They must go through a criminal background check process.
Select a Utah Massage Therapy Licensure Topic:
- Massage Therapy Schools in Utah
- Massage Therapist Education Requirements in Utah
- Examination Requirements
- Reciprocity for Out-of-State Massage Therapists
- Background Check Requirements
- Animal Massage Qualification
- Application Process (Forms and Materials)
- Contacts for the Board and Professional Associations
Massage Therapy Education and Training Requirements
A prospective Utah massage therapist can complete either a school-based program or an apprenticeship program. The state has set very specific requirements for each. However, the requirements are not the same.
School Based Massage Therapy Programs: Massage schools are to be registered with 1) the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection or 2) an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
A school-based program must be at least 600 hours.
Anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology are together to comprise at least 125 hours.
There are to be no fewer than 40 hours in pathology.
At least 15 hours must focus on universal precautions and sanitation. This content area is to include CPR and first aid.
The student will need 285 hours of massage therapy theory and technique; Swedish massage must be among the topics covered.
Professional standards, business practices, and ethics are together to comprise at least 35 hours.
The program must include 100 hours of ‘clinic coursework’; this is where the student puts his or her skills to work in a supervised student clinic.
Apprenticeship Programs: An apprenticeship program is to take place over a period of at least one year and comprise at least 1,000 hours.
The apprentice is to receive 300 hours of training in massage therapy services.
Hands-on instruction is to encompass 310 hours.
Another 120 hours must be devoted to techniques; the basic Swedish massage strokes must receive coverage.
Massage theory is to comprise 50 hours.
An apprentice is to have fully 40 hours in professional standards, business practices, and ethics.
Some requirements are the same for apprentices as they are for massage therapy students: Apprentices must have 125 hours of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology; 40 hours of pathology: and 15 hours of sanitation and universal precautions.
Prospective apprentices must apply to the state licensing agency. The supervisor/ instructor must provide a copy of the curriculum.
Utah massage therapists take a national licensing examination and a state jurisprudence examination.
Individuals who complete Utah apprenticeship programs are required to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), an offering of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (dopl.utah.gov / laws / R156-47b pdf).
Individuals who qualify through school-based education are, at present, generally also licensed on the basis of having passed the MBLEx. Three other examinations have been approved: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB), the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM), and the National Examination for State Licensure (NESL). However, as of February, 2015, none of these examinations is offered.
MBLEx content outlines and information bulletins are available on the FSMTB website (fsmtb.org / mblex/). Examinations are computer-adapted; approved candidates can schedule at Pearson VUE testing centers. The FSMTB can be reached at (866) 962-3926.
Prospective massage therapists must also pass the Utah Massage Therapy Law and Rule Examination. This assessment is included in the application packet. It is ‘open book’; the licensing agency has provided links to the practice act, code of ethics, and massage therapy rules.
Criminal Background Checks
Applicants must have criminal background checks carried out by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification and the FBI. They can choose to have their fingerprints captured electronically at the DOPL office in Salt Lake City. This DOPL notes that this can expedite the application process and that there is no charge for the service. Hours are 8:00 to 4:00 on business days.
Applicants who cannot come in-person to the DOPL office may have their fingerprints captured on blue FD-258 fingerprint cards; they will need two. The cards are available from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and from local police stations. They are also sent in the mail to individuals who make license application requests. The licensing agency notes, however, that only authorized law enforcement agencies can roll fingerprints on these cards.
Applicants should be aware that law enforcement agencies may charge a fee for fingerprinting services.
Fingerprinting information is found in the application form.
Criminal history must also be disclosed in the application. The licensing agency will need a detailed narrative as well as supporting documentation. A criminal background is not always cause for denial. Rule R156-47b-302d. explains which criminal offenses are disqualifying (R156-47b-302d.).
The Application Process
Candidates may apply for the first time at either the apprentice or professional level. Application materials are posted on the DOPL website (dopl.utah.gov / licensing / massage therapy).
DOPL will require official transcripts. The application includes a section to be filled out by the massage therapy school.
If the candidate instead completed a Utah-based apprenticeship, the supervisor will fill out the apprenticeship completion form, indicating whether performance was satisfactory.
The application fee is $100. It is nonrefundable. The background check fee is included.
Applications are to be mailed or hand delivered to the Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing in Salt Lake City. The application lists two addresses: a post office box for standard U.S. mail, a physical address for express or delivery. Applicants who opt to have their fingerprints made at the DOPL office are directed to bring their completed applications with them.
Out-of-State Massage Therapists
Utah has provisions for experienced massage therapists who were trained in other states or nations. Out-of-state massage therapists can be licensed on the basis of 500 hour educational programs if they have practiced at the professional level for at least 2,000 hours. They can be licensed on the basis of equivalent out-of-state apprenticeships if they have practiced at least 4,000 hours (dopl.utah.gov / laws / R156-47b pdf).
Graduates of international programs may be eligible if their education has been validated through NCBTMB certification.
These routes are considered “equivalent education and training”.
Animal Massage Qualification
Utah has set additional requirements for massage therapists who practice animal massage. The professional will need 60 hours of training, comprised of the following: quadruped anatomy, quadruped massage theory, and supervised quadruped massage.
Massage therapy licensing information is available from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (dopl.utah.gov / licensing massage therapy). The Division can be reached by telephone at (801) 530-6628.
The state’s professional organization is the American Massage Therapy Association-Utah (AMTA Utah).