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

Massage Therapy Schools

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            Massage Therapy-CERT
            Mildred Elley , Pittsfield
            • Mildred Elley has been a provider of quality higher education since 1917, where it was founded in the Capital District of New York.
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            Massage Therapy
            Lincoln Tech , Lincoln
            Good for Working Adults
            • Encompasses the Lincoln Tech, Lincoln Culinary Institute, and Lincoln College of New England brands.
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            • Designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media; offers exclusive scholarship for servicemen and women and their families.
            • First Lincoln Tech campus opened in 1946; now 30 campuses in 15 states across the United States.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and New England Association of Schools and Colleges – Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC)
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            Diploma in Massage Therapy
            • Empowers students with knowledge and understanding of the human body.
            • Its graduates average a 90% passing rate on the state exam.
            • Has highly trained faculty deeply committed to honoring the diversity of each student.
            • Offers a student tutoring service where instructors are available to provide students with weekly private or group tutoring sessions. 
            • Has an on-staff placement coordinator who assists graduates in finding a job to start their massage career.
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            • Provides a student-centered approach to nail technician, cosmetology, manicuring and esthetics training where students learn from dedicated instructors.
            • Offers a job shadow program, in which prospective students may spend time on campus to sit in on classes, observe current students practice technique, and determine which program is best for them.
            • Has 5 campuses across Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
            • Gives students the chance to gain professional experience at campus-owned health and beauty clinics.
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            • Accredited
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