Top 10 Licensed Massage Therapist Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top licensed massage therapist certifications and their requirements.
Published 18 min read
Certifications are important for a licensed massage therapist because they demonstrate the therapist’s knowledge and skill level to potential employers. Certifications provide evidence that the massage therapist has met certain standards of practice established by professional organizations in their field. Additionally, certifications can be used to validate a therapist’s experience and credentials, which can help them stand out in an increasingly competitive job market. Having certifications helps ensure that therapists have access to the best job opportunities available, as employers often prefer to hire those with the most up-to-date training and qualifications.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Licensed Massage Therapists and explain how they can further their professional development and career opportunities.
What are Licensed Massage Therapist Certifications?
Licensed massage therapist certification is a type of professional certification that is issued by a state or other regulatory body to individuals who have completed the required educational and training requirements for becoming a licensed massage therapist. It is intended to protect the public from potential harm caused by unqualified practitioners, as well as to ensure that those providing massage services are competent and qualified to do so.
In order to obtain a license, individuals must have completed an approved program of study at an accredited school, have passed an exam administered by the licensing board, and met all other applicable requirements. The program typically includes both classroom instruction and hands-on practice of massage techniques. This ensures that therapists are knowledgeable in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, business practices, ethics, and applicable laws and regulations.
Having a license provides assurance that the therapist is qualified and has met certain standards of competence. It also allows them to practice legally in their state or jurisdiction without fear of repercussions from law enforcement officials or other regulatory bodies. Additionally, having a license can provide therapists with access to additional benefits such as malpractice insurance coverage and professional development opportunities. Finally, being certified can help therapists stand out from their competition when seeking employment or building clientele.
Pro Tip: Make sure to research and understand the specific requirements for becoming a licensed massage therapist in your state. Each state has its own requirements and regulations, so it is important to be aware of them before you begin the certification process. Additionally, it is recommended that you seek out additional training and education beyond what is required in order to stay up-to-date on best practices in the field.
Related: What does a Licensed Massage Therapist do?
Top 10 Licensed Massage Therapist Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Licensed Massage Therapists today.
1. National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is a non-profit organization that provides certifications to massage therapists and bodyworkers. It is the largest and most respected certification board in the United States, with over 25,000 certified professionals.
NCBTMB offers two levels of certification: Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) and Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (BCTMB). The CMT level requires 500 hours of training and passing an exam, while the BCTMB requires 1,000 hours of training and passing an exam.
To get certified by NCBTMB, applicants must first complete their required education and training program. Once they have completed this program, they must submit their application to NCBTMB along with proof of their completion. After review of the application, NCBTMB will then send out an invitation to take the exam.
The cost for taking the CMT exam is $195 for members or $245 for non-members. The cost for taking the BCTMB exam is $295 for members or $345 for non-members. Both exams can be taken online or at a Prometric testing center.
It typically takes 4-6 weeks to receive your results after taking the exam. If you pass, you will receive your certification within 2-3 weeks after that.
2. American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is a professional membership organization for massage therapists. It was founded in 1943 and is the largest non-profit, professional association representing massage therapists in the United States. The mission of AMTA is to serve its members while advancing the art, science, and practice of massage therapy.
To become an AMTA member, you must meet certain educational requirements and have a minimum of 500 hours of training from an accredited school or program. You must also pass the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB). Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for membership online or by mail.
The cost of joining AMTA varies depending on your membership type. Student memberships are $50/year, Professional memberships are $145/year, and Retired memberships are $50/year. There may be additional fees associated with obtaining certification or continuing education credits.
In addition to providing access to resources and networking opportunities for massage therapists, AMTA also offers liability insurance coverage for its members at discounted rates. This coverage includes both professional liability insurance and general liability insurance to protect against claims related to malpractice or negligence during the course of their work as massage therapists.
3. National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is a non-profit organization that provides national certification to practitioners of acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and Asian bodywork therapy. The NCCAOM was established in 1982 to promote the highest standards of competency and professionalism among practitioners of these disciplines.
To become certified by the NCCAOM, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, including graduation from an accredited program in acupuncture or Oriental medicine. Applicants must also pass the NCCAOM's certification examinations in acupuncture and/or Chinese herbology.
The process of becoming certified by the NCCAOM typically takes several months. After meeting all educational requirements, applicants must complete an application form and submit it along with supporting documents such as transcripts and proof of professional liability insurance. Once the application is approved, applicants can then register to take the certification examinations. The examinations are administered at designated testing centers throughout the United States on a regular basis throughout the year.
The cost of becoming certified by the NCCAOM varies depending on which exams are taken and how many times they are retaken if necessary. Generally speaking, each exam costs $195 for members of the NCCAOM or $295 for non-members. Retaking an exam costs an additional $100 per retake attempt.
4. Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) is a non-profit organization that works to protect the public by establishing uniform standards for massage therapy licensure, regulation, and practice. The FSMTB administers the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), which is used by most states as part of their licensing process.
It typically takes 4-6 weeks to receive your MBLEx results after taking the exam. To take the exam, you must first register with FSMTB at least two weeks before your desired test date. You will need to provide proof of completion of a massage therapy program and pay an application fee of $195. Once registered, you can select a testing center and schedule your exam date.
The cost of the MBLEx exam is $195 and must be paid when registering for the exam. This fee includes access to study materials and practice tests, as well as the actual MBLEx exam.
5. American Academy of Reflexology (AAR)
The American Academy of Reflexology (AAR) is a professional organization dedicated to the promotion, education, and certification of reflexologists. It was founded in 1991 by Dr. Dwight C. Byers and is based in California.
AAR offers a variety of courses and certifications for individuals interested in pursuing a career in reflexology. The courses range from basic to advanced levels and cover topics such as anatomy, physiology, energy work, acupressure, and more. The AAR also provides continuing education opportunities for those already certified as reflexologists.
To become certified through the AAR, applicants must first complete an approved course of study that includes at least 100 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on practice sessions. After completing the coursework, applicants must pass both written and practical exams administered by the AAR before they can be certified.
The cost of becoming certified through the AAR varies depending on the type of certification sought; however, most certifications range from $400-$800 USD. Additionally, there are annual fees associated with maintaining your certification status which range from $50-$100 USD per year depending on the type of certification held.
Overall, becoming certified with the American Academy of Reflexology is a great way to gain recognition as a qualified reflexologist while also expanding your knowledge base in this field.
6. International Institute for Complementary Therapies (IICT)
The International Institute for Complementary Therapies (IICT) is a professional membership body that provides accreditation, education and support to complementary therapists. It was established in Australia in 1999 and now has members in over 30 countries worldwide.
The IICT offers a range of qualifications, including diplomas, certificates and advanced diplomas, which are all accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). The length of time it takes to complete one of these courses will depend on the individual’s level of knowledge and experience. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete an IICT qualification.
To become an IICT member, applicants must first complete an approved course from an accredited provider. Once they have successfully completed their course, they can then apply for membership online via the IICT website. Applicants will need to provide evidence of their qualifications and experience as part of their application.
The cost of becoming an IICT member varies depending on the type of membership you choose. For example, a full-time student or trainee would pay $150 per year for a basic membership; whereas a professional practitioner would pay $450 per year for a professional membership.
Overall, the International Institute for Complementary Therapies is a great way for qualified practitioners to gain recognition and further their careers in this field.
7. National Certification in Medical Massage (NCMM)
National Certification in Medical Massage (NCMM) is a certification program for massage therapists that focuses on the therapeutic aspects of massage. The NCMM program was created to provide massage therapists with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively treat medical conditions, injuries, and pain. It is designed to help massage therapists develop their skills in assessing and treating clients with medical issues as well as providing them with the opportunity to become certified in medical massage.
The NCMM program consists of two parts: an online course and a hands-on clinical internship. The online course covers topics such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, assessment techniques, treatment protocols, and ethics. The clinical internship involves working directly with patients under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
The NCMM certification process typically takes between nine months and one year to complete. During this time, students must complete all course requirements including passing both written and practical exams as well as completing the required clinical internship hours.
To get started on becoming certified in medical massage through NCMM, you will need to find a qualified instructor who can provide you with the necessary training materials and guidance. Once you have found an instructor, you will need to register for the NCMM program through their website or by mail. After registering for the program, you will be assigned an individual mentor who will guide you through the entire process from start to finish.
The cost of becoming certified in medical massage through NCMM varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $1,500 - $2,500 USD. This includes all course materials as well as any additional fees associated with registration or examination costs.
8. Certified Neuromuscular Therapist (CNT)
A Certified Neuromuscular Therapist (CNT) is a health care professional who has received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. CNTs use a variety of techniques, including manual therapy, exercise, and electrical stimulation to help patients with pain management, muscle relaxation, improved range of motion, and postural correction.
It typically takes between one to two years to complete the certification process for a CNT. To become certified, you must complete an accredited program from an approved educational institution or board-approved organization that meets the standards set by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). You will also need to pass a written exam and demonstrate proficiency in your chosen field.
The cost of becoming certified as a CNT varies depending on where you are taking the courses and what type of program you are enrolled in. Most programs cost between $500-$3000 USD. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with taking the certification exam and/or renewing your certification every few years.
In order to maintain your certification status, you must complete continuing education credits every two years to keep up with new developments in neuromuscular therapy.
9. Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage Practitioner (CMLDP)
Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage Practitioner (CMLDP) is a certification program offered by the Academy of Lymphatic Studies. The program is designed to train practitioners in the use of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), a gentle form of massage that helps reduce swelling and improve circulation in the body. It is used to treat various conditions, including lymphedema, post-surgical edema, and chronic venous insufficiency.
The CMLDP certification requires a minimum of 60 hours of instruction, including both classroom and hands-on learning. Topics covered include anatomy and physiology, MLD techniques, patient assessment and treatment protocols. The course also includes an examination which must be passed in order to receive the certification.
The cost of the CMLDP program varies depending on where you take it; however, most courses range from $1,500 - $3,000 USD. You can find a list of certified programs on the Academy's website.
In order to become certified as a CMLDP practitioner you must complete all course requirements and pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have completed the program and passed your exam you will receive your certificate from the Academy of Lymphatic Studies.
10. Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT).
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT) is a certification that demonstrates the highest level of proficiency in manual therapy. It is an advanced credential for physical therapists and other healthcare professionals who specialize in treating musculoskeletal conditions. The COMT program focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders using manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue manipulation, and stretching.
It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the COMT program depending on the individual's prior experience and knowledge. To become certified, individuals must pass both written and practical exams. The certification requires a minimum of 50 hours of coursework including lectures, lab sessions, clinical practicum, and independent study.
The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the institution offering the program. Generally speaking, it can range from $1,000-$3,000 or more. In addition to tuition fees, students may also need to purchase textbooks or other materials required for the coursework.
Overall, obtaining a COMT certification is an investment in one’s professional development that can help improve patient care outcomes and increase job opportunities within the field of physical therapy.
Do You Really Need a Licensed Massage Therapist Certificate?
Yes, you do need a licensed massage therapist certificate. A certified massage therapist is someone who has gone through the necessary training and education to become qualified in the field of massage therapy. This certification ensures that the therapist has been trained in proper techniques and safety protocols to provide a quality massage experience for their clients. The certification also shows that the therapist is knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology, as well as being able to identify any medical conditions that may require special attention or care during a massage session.
In addition to having a certified massage therapist certificate, there are other important skills and qualifications that are needed in order to provide quality massage services. For example, some states require a license or registration with the state board of massage therapy, which includes taking exams and completing continuing education courses. Furthermore, many states have specific requirements for insurance coverage for massage therapists, such as liability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance.
Having a certified massage therapist certificate demonstrates to potential clients that you are knowledgeable and experienced in your profession. It also provides them with peace of mind knowing that you have met all of the necessary qualifications, including knowledge of anatomy and physiology, safety protocols, and an understanding of any medical conditions that may be present during a session. All of these things help to ensure that your clients receive a safe and effective therapeutic experience from you as their masseuse.
Related: Licensed Massage Therapist Resume Examples
FAQs About Licensed Massage Therapist Certifications
1. How do I become a licensed massage therapist?
Answer: To become a licensed massage therapist, you must first complete an accredited massage therapy program and pass the required exams. After completing the required educational and examination requirements, you must then apply for licensure in your state.
2. What are the educational requirements to become a licensed massage therapist?
Answer: To become a licensed massage therapist, you must complete an accredited massage therapy program and pass the required exams. The specific educational requirements vary by state, but most require at least 500 hours of training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, and other related topics.
3. What exams do I need to take to become a licensed massage therapist?
Answer: Most states require applicants to pass either the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB) or the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). The exact exam requirement varies by state so be sure to check with your local licensing board for specific details.
4. How long does it take to get my license once I’ve passed my exams?
Answer: Once you have completed all of the necessary requirements and taken your exams, it typically takes around 4-6 weeks for your license to be issued. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the state that you are applying in so be sure to check with your local licensing board for more information.
5. Are there any continuing education requirements once I am licensed?
Answer: Yes, most states require licensed massage therapists to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their license in good standing. The exact number of hours required varies by state so be sure to check with your local licensing board for more information about their specific requirements.