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How to Become a Massage Therapist in Arkansas - AR

Also known as “The Natural State,” Arkansas is a true haven for lovers of the great outdoors. Whether you enjoy a spa getaway in Hot Springs, hiking in one of the state’s six national parks, or taking in your favorite water sports in more than 600,000 acres of fresh water lakes, Arkansas’ natural beauty is abundant.


Becoming a Massage Therapist in Arkansas


Arkansas mandates that Massage Therapists wishing to practice there be licensed, under the regulation of the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy (ASBMT). A detailed listing of prerequisites to apply for licensure appears in Arkansas Code §17-86-101 - Arkansas Massage Therapy Act. A summary of the requirements to obtain the basic level of Licensed Massage Therapist is shown below.

License applicants who graduated from schools within Arkansas must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have graduated from high school or earned a General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
  • Be in good health, free from infectious tuberculosis and any other condition deemed by the ASBMT to pose a health risk during the practice of Massage Therapy
  • Authorize a federal and state criminal background check that includes fingerprinting
  • Complete an online course or Arkansas massage therapy certification program with curriculum of at least 500 in-classroom hours from a school approved by either the ASBMT or by the State of Arkansas
  • Have completed certification training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
  • Submit a completed application with all supporting documents and fees to the ASBMT at:

    Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy
    PO Box 20739
    Hot Springs, AR 71903

License applicants who are graduates from accredited schools outside Arkansas must also:

  1. Provide educational transcripts with detailed course descriptions to facilitate transfer of credit
  2. Furnish seven additional copies of the application form and all supporting documents (in addition to the originals)
  3. Complete specific massage therapy related coursework that meets Arkansas state-approved criteria (see the “Education Required…” section that follows)

Though the MBLEx is considered the accepted standard test, at its option, the ASBMT may administer an examination of its own as a condition for licensing. For more information, visit the ASBMT’s website at www.ArkansasMassageTherapy.com.

Your Massage Therapist license is valid for two years following the “date of issuance.” With recent changes in Arkansas state law, calculation of your license expiration date can be confusing, so it is strongly recommended that you visit the ASBMT website and review the document, “2009-2011 Renewal Packet.pdf.”

With additional experience and completion of specific continuing education (CE) courses, licenses can be “upgraded” to Master Massage Therapist or Massage Therapy Instructor. The specific requirements for these licenses can be viewed by downloading the document, “Upgrade Application Rev.pdf,” from the ASBMT website.

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