Government Relations

By Jean Robinson

Changes in Calfornia

Renewing current certification is very important if you want to avoid having to meet the new requirements.

On January 1, 2015, the qualifications    for voluntary certification by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) will change. All new applicants must complete at least 500 hours of education and pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) in order to qualify for certification.
Current Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) certificate holders must renew on time every two years in order to avoid having to reapply for CAMTC certification under the new requirements.
Current Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) certificate holders also must renew on time every two years in order to keep their certification active. If you remain active, you will be able to renew in perpetuity. Individuals issued a Conditional Certified Massage Practitioner (CCMP) certificate prior to January 2, 2012, will continue to work toward their goal of 250 hours of education, at which point they will be issued a Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) certification. When issued a CMP certification, they must renew on time in order to maintain this credential. No new CMPs will be issued.

NCBTMB Will No Longer Offer Licensing Exams

At the October 2014 Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards’ (FSMTB) Annual Meeting, it was announced that the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) will no longer offer or accept licensure exam applications as of November 1, 2014, and will cease offering licensure exams effective February 1, 2015. The NCBTMB exams used for licensing include the:

• National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)
• National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
(The National Exam for State Licensing (NESL) was discontinued when NCBTMB started issuing Board Certification.)

Moving forward, there will be only one licensing exam in the profession—the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) offered by the FSMTB. NCBTMB will instead only focus on voluntary certification programs. Remember, NCBTMB certification, whether the Board Certification credential, or the original national certification, has never been a national license. It has always been a voluntary credential; you must obtain a state license in order to practice in most states. Only five states do not regulate massage therapists.
ABMP believes this is an exciting change for the profession, as it decreases confusion and facilitates licensure portability for therapists. For more information on how this change may affect you, scroll down to “News & Resources” at

Jean Robinson is ABMP’s director of government relations. Contact her at