Existing practitioners can dowload the application here.
The state of Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for licensing in massage therapy. Applications for licensing can be found on the State Board of Massage Therapy’s website.
Choosing the right form
If you completed a massage program of at least 600 hours and passed either the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) or one of the national certification exams offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), it may be easier to complete the form called “Application for Massage Therapist Licensure by Examination.”
If you have practiced massage therapy for at least one year and did not complete a massage program of at least 600 hours and pass an examination, you will choose the form called “Application for Massage Therapist Licensure for Existing Practitioners.”
You will need to prove that you have been working as a massage therapist. One way to demonstrate you are an existing practitioner is through membership in a professional association. If you are a current member of ABMP, we have already sent this verification to the board. There is no need to contact us. If you are an expired ABMP member and would like to request ABMP send the board information about your membership dates, contact Jean Robinson and ABMP will send the verification. This will satisfy your obligation to provide proof that you are an existing practitioner.
In addition, you will have to qualify for a license. One way to qualify is by showing that you have been a member of a professional association for at least five years. If you have been a member of ABMP for at least five years, we have already sent verification to the board. There is no need to contact us. If you’re not sure how long you’ve been a member, check the active date on your ABMP membership card.
If you have not been a member of ABMP for at least 5 years, don’t panic. There are several other ways to qualify for the license that are outlined on the application form.
Other required information
All applicants are required to submit the completed application, the $65 fee, a copy of your legal identification card, proof of high school graduation, the Certificate of Good Moral Character, an official Criminal History Record Information check, and current CPR certification.
Criminal history check
More information can be found at the Pennsylvania State Police website. If you don’t have a criminal record you can choose the first option, “Online Request,” and the result will likely be available immediately.
Online CPR courses are not acceptable. Courses must be hands-on and taken through the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or an agency substantially similar which will need to be approved by the board.
If your school is closed
If your school has closed and it was state-approved and licensed in Pennsylvania, call (717) 783-8228 and they will further direct you.
Exempt from licensing
Professions exempt from obtaining state licensing—as long as practitioners do not practice or advertise that they practice massage therapy—include reflexology, movement education (Feldenkrais, Trager, and Body-Mind Centering), and energy work (reiki, shiatsu, asian bodywork, polarity).
Avoid common mistakes:
- If you have changed your name because of a marriage or divorce and the name on the application is different from the name you used in school, send a copy of your marriage or divorce documentation along with your application.
- Don’t lie on the screening questions. An arrest, criminal conviction, or disciplinary action will not automatically disqualify a candidate for registration. Lying on the application will not help your cause and could be considered a violation of ABMP’s Code of Ethics.
- Don’t skip any lines on the application.
- Send all of the documentation requested in the application. It only delays your application to not be thorough.
Questions can be directed to:
State Board of Massage Therapy
P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
Phone: (717) 783-7155, Email: RA-Massagetherapy@state.pa.us