Massage Therapy Certification Requirements in Virginia

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In order for one to become a professional massage therapist in the great state of Virginia, one must first fulfill certain education and training requirements. Therapists must have at least 500 hours of educational credit and then pass a national certification examination to graduate from an accredited massage therapy degree program. This exam is administered through the country’s leading therapist licensing organization, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCBTMB. Professionals who hold this certification are recognized as qualified therapists who have undergone appropriate training and have shown a consistently high level of ability.

If you plan to become a massage therapist in Virginia, read through this career guide to understand the certification requirements you must fulfill before starting to practice in a professional capacity.

Massage Therapy in Virginia


Because a high quality education can lead to better employment opportunities and higher salaries, the most important part of beginning this career is to choose an accredited institute at which to study. Students must successfully complete an educational program in massage therapy of no less than six months duration. These educational programs include intensive training in subjects such as anatomy, deep tissue massage, kinesiology, and business ethics. Students must complete at least 500 hours of educational training conducted by licensed professionals.


Before beginning to work after graduating from a massage therapy program, a new professional to the field must first ensure that he or she fulfills all the requirements of certification as outlined by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. The certification process begins with the submission of an application via mail or e-mail. Each applicant must submit a copy of his or her government issued photo ID, along with a sealed copy of his or her educational transcript. Additionally, a copy of the official results must be transferred to the Department of Health Professions in the state of Virginia. Applicants should be prepared to undergo a background and criminal check as part of the licensing process. Once the application has been approved, the graduate will be granted ATT status, or Authorization to Test. Individuals will sit for examination and receive an official certification upon successful completion of the test. (Click here to find massage therapy schools in Virginia)

The purpose of so much training and necessary certification is to ensure that an individual has proper knowledge and skill to practice on real patients. The examination is also fundamental in preparing a newcomer to the field for what will be required of him or her as a working, professional massage therapist in Virginia. As well, because there are such thorough guidelines, one might be eligible to practice in other areas of the country if one relocates. This is especially true in nearby areas, as states in the same region tend to follow similar guidelines.

Virginia’s Department of Health Professions

One might also need to apply for certification from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Health Professions Board of Nursing. At the Board of Nursing, one must contact the health regulatory board to attain certification as a massage therapist. The last step in the application procedure is to mail it to the Department Of Health Professions.

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