Idaho Licensing Bill Signed by Governor – There is NO Action to Take at this Time

On April 3rd, 2012, Governor Otter signed Senate Bill 1295a into law. The law requires massage therapists to become licensed by the state and establishes a Board of Massage Therapy to implement the process. The law also establishes minimum training requirements, defines a scope of practice, provides an avenue for consumer complaints, and pre-empts local regulations.

Qualifications for licensure the first 2 years (grandfathering)

The qualifications for licensure are outlined in the law. For a period of two years from the time applications become available, massage practitioners will be able to qualify for a state license by meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. Has completed a massage program consisting of a minimum of 500 hours; or
  2. Has completed a massage program of at least 300 hours and has practiced massage for at least 5 hours a week (on average) for a period of 3 years; or
  3. Has completed a massage program of at least 200 hours and has practiced massage for at least 5 hours a week (on average) for a period of 5 years; or
  4. Has been an active professional member for at least a year, as a massage therapist, of a national massage therapist association (such as ABMP) which provides professional liability insurance; or
  5. Has passed an examination approved by the board.

The Board of Massage Therapy will have the responsibility of providing the details regarding how and when to apply. ABMP will alert members when applications become available. In other states, this process has typically taken at least a year.

After two years, the qualifications for licensure change and all new applicants will have to demonstrate they have completed a massage program consisting of at least 500 hours and passed an examination approved by the board.

Several practices will be exempt from licensure as long as practitioners do not practice, or advertise that they practice massage therapy, including: reflexology, movement education (Feldenkrais, Trager, and Body-Mind Centering), energy work (Reiki, Shiatsu, Asian Bodywork, Polarity), and structural integration (Rolfing and Hellerwork).

Next steps

Governor Otter will need to appoint members to the Board of Massage Therapy. The Board will consist of five members, four of whom will be massage therapists who are residents of the state, and have been for at least 3 years, and have practiced massage therapy for at least 3 years. The remaining member will be a public member with no connection to the profession.

ABMP encourages members looking for a meaningful volunteer experience within the massage profession to consider applying for a position on the Board. The Board will receive guidance from professionals within the Idaho Bureau of Professional Occupational Licenses (IBOL) to write rules and regulations to implement the new law.

ABMP will provide more information regarding how to apply for a position on the Board of Massage Therapy in the upcoming weeks.