New Alaska Massage Therapy Licensing Law

Alaska House Bill 328 was signed by Governor Parnell on August 11, 2014, and is now the law in Alaska.  The law requires that all massage therapists practicing in Alaska must have a state-issued massage license. The new law does not go into effect until July 15, 2015There is nothing that you need to do immediately, since a State Board of Massage Therapists has not been appointed by the Governor yet, administrative regulations have not been issued yet, and license applications are not available yet. We will keep you informed about these developments as they occur. Important Provisions of the New Massage Law (1)      Establishment of a State Board of Massage Therapy.  The Governor will appoint a five-member Board of Massage Therapy, which will consist of four massage therapists and one public member.  The Board will be responsible for issuing regulations concerning massage licensing and practice, establishing continuing education requirements, and imposing disciplinary sanctions. (2)      Licensure Requirements for Current Practitioners (Grandfathering).  Anyone who applies for their license before July 1, 2017 can qualify by grandfathering by showing that they owned, operated, or worked for a massage therapy business and performed the practice of massage therapy before July 1, 2017. (3)      Applicants who do not qualify for grandfathering must have completed 500 hours of approved massage education and passed a national massage exam that has been approved by the Board.  All applicants must have a current CPR certification. (4)      Exemptions.  Numerous practices are exempted from the licensing requirement, including structural integration/Rolfing, energy work, Native American Healing, and massage in the athletic departments of state-funded institutions and schools approved by the Board.  Please see section 08.61.080 on pages 6-8 of the law for the full list of exemptions. (5)      Titles and Marketing Materials.  Licensed massage therapists will be required to use as professional identification appropriate letters or title (such as “LMT” or “Licensed Massage Therapist”) after their name on all signs, business cards, and other marketing materials. (6)      Preemption of Local Massage License Requirements.  The new state law preempts local massage licensing laws.  This means that municipalities will not be able to require local massage licenses, although they can still require general business licenses. Again, we will keep you informed about what you will need to do, and when, once a Board is formed and regulations are issued.  In the meantime, we encourage you to read over the new law here, since it directly impacts you and your profession. Please contact ABMP’s Government Relations Coordinator, Nancy Potter, at nancy@abmp.com with any questions you may have.
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