Massage Therapy Certification Requirements in California

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Prior to 2009, massage therapists were required to gain certification from the county or city in which they intended to practice massage therapy professionally. At that time massage therapists had to gain new certification in the event they were relocated to different regions of California. In 2009, however, certifications were provided on a statewide level in order to ensure one’s eligibility to practice anywhere in California, without the need to re-certify if one moved to a different part of the state.

massage certification requirements in california

Requirements for Certified Massage Practitioners

In order to be certified as a massage practitioner, one has to fulfill certain basic requirements. Massage practice students must complete 250 hours at a state-approved massage therapy school. Students must have a license which proves they have 1,000 hours of practical work experience in massage therapy, and at least one hundred hours of educational training. Students must complete 1,750 working hours and at least 250 educational hours. The latter can be allocated in divisions of 30 hours per year. (Click here to find massage therapy schools in California)

Requirements for Certified Massage Therapists

Certified massage therapists are individuals who have moved beyond the stage of certified massage practitioners. By the year 2016, certification will no longer be provided for massage practitioners;instead, all professionals in this field must gain certification in massage therapy to be able to practice in the state of California. Therapists must have at least 500 hours of training from a massage therapy school,with at least 250 of those hours earned from an accredited educational institute.

To gain certification to practice as massage therapists in California, professionals must pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or the examination administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

State Specific Requirements

Individuals who want certification as massage therapists must fulfill all necessary requirements and pre-screen for employment, such as undergoing a criminal record and drug use check. In the case of certified massage practitioners, students must complete between 250 and500 hours of educational training. Once students graduate from an accredited educational institute, they can apply to a wide variety of work sites, including hospitals, chiropractors’ offices, spas and resorts, or as part of the training staff for a sports team. A professional massage therapist might also consider establishing a private practice after gaining a few years of experience and developing a reputation as a competent and qualified therapist in the area. As with every career, the best opportunities await those professionals who constantly better themselves through continuing education and certification to improve existing skills, learn new skills, and maintain compliance with national, state, and regional mandates.

Although California might seem to have stricter certification requirements than other regions of the country, one must understand that these regulations are in place to protect consumers as well as therapists themselves, who might suffer a poor reputation if poorly trained therapists were allowed to practice and possibly injure clients. In addition, because California has such thorough requirements, therapists who are licensed to practice in the state might find they have already met or surpassed the requirements to be licensed in another part of the country, should they ever choose to relocate.

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