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How to Become a Massage Therapist in Tennessee - TN

A Tennessee massage therapy certification program provides the 500 hours of massage therapy education necessary to become licensed.  Of these, 300 hours can be delivered by an instructor in a classroom setting or by CD-ROM, DVD or other online methods. The other 200 hours must be via hands-on instruction. Of these, 125 are required to cover anatomy, kinesiology and physiology. You must also study 40 hours of pathology and spend 10 hours learning about business and ethics related to the practice of massage therapy.

The application process to NCBTMB can be done online or on paper, but there is a $225 fee and a background check involved. The Board is also authorized to fine massage therapists for violations of ethics rules and, in some cases, revoke licenses. You can also be fined for failing to renew your license on time, take the required continuing education coursework or practice massage therapy in Tennessee without a license.

Your school must submit a transcript and, if all goes well, you will receive an Authorization To Test letter. The computer-based test itself asks 160 multiple-choice questions about your knowledge and skills related to massage. You will receive the results of the test on the day you take it, and can have it forwarded to the licensing board immediately.

The exam covers anatomy, physiology and pathology, including medical terminology and etiology of disease, effects of trauma, function and identification of bones, connective tissue, fascia, bursae and chakras, aromatherapy, stretching and posture analysis. Additional questions may focus on ergonomics, verbal communication skills, liability insurance needs, stress management and client interviewing techniques.

After you receive your license, you can look for a job at an existing facility (health club, spa, clinic or hotel) or set up your own shop and advertise for business.

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