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How to Become a Massage Therapist in Massachusetts - MA

Becoming a Massage Therapist in Massachusetts

In addition to the educational hours provided by Massachusetts massage therapy certification programs, one must also:

  • Provide proof of successfully passing the national exam. One must pass the NCETM (National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage) or NCETMB (National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork), which are both administered by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork).

  • Licensing fee must be submitted
  • A high school diploma or equivalent must have been earned
  • Two letters of recommendation – one from an employer the other from and unrelated person
  • Moral character is to be an attribute of the applicant
  • Not convicted, in any jurisdiction, of any sexually – related crime within 10 years before application
  • Proof of liability insurance. Applicants must show proof of $2,000,000 of liability insurance and $3,000,000 of aggregate.

There should be no local municipalities issuing massage therapy licenses. When the law requiring licensure and Massachusetts Massage Therapy certification was first passed, it gave complete credentialing power to the State of Massachusetts. There are some massage therapists that practice only certain types of massage who are exempt from the licensing requirement. They are:

  • Feldenkrais method
  • Reflexology
  • Trager Approach
  • Ayurvedic Therapies
  • Rolf Structural Integrations
  • Polarity; Polarity Therapy or Polarity Therapy Bodywork
  • Asia Bodywork Therapy that does not constitute massage
  • Acupressure
  • Jin Shin Do
  • Qi Gong
  • Tui Na
  • Shiatsu
  • Body-Mind Centering
  • Reiki

Further information regarding State credentialing can be found at the Licensing Board website www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/mt/index.html.


Steps to Taking the National Certification Exam for Massage Therapists

The NCBTMB offers two different certification exams. One is the NCETMB and the other is the NCETM. Both exams are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Massage Therapy for Massachusetts, therefore either may be taken by candidates. The qualifications for sitting for the national exam are:

  1. 500 hours of massage training from a massage therapy curriculum
  2. Submission of a completed application
  3. Payment of appropriate fees

Once all the materials have been received, you will receive an ATT (Authorization to Test) letter. Candidates have 3 months after the receipt of the letter to sit for the exam. Exams are administered at Pearson VUE facilities around the country. The exams are both 160 multiple choice question examinations. The breakdown for content for the exams is as follows:

  1. 16% on Body systems
  2. 19% on Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology
  3. 13% on Pathology
  4. 18% on Massage and Bodywork Assessment
  5. 22% on Massage and Bodywork Application
  6. 12 % on Massage Standards and Ethic

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