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Saving for Your Massage Career as a Student


While you’re in school, it’s easy to forget about the fact that, whether you work as an employee or start your own practice, you will have some expenses related to obtaining your license and starting your career. Aim to save $600 to pay for testing and fees as you graduate. These fees include:

MBLEx Testing Fee: The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination is the national test you are required to take to obtain your license in most states. (Only a few states don’t require an exam, or use their own test instead). The MBLEx testing fee is currently $195, which is similar to testing fees in states that use their own exam.

State Licensing Fee: Your state will require a fee to provide you with your license after you meet all eligibility requirements. These fees run from $80–$175. In addition, your state may have other requirements and fees related to obtaining your license. For example, Oregon requires practitioners to pass a practical examination in addition to the MBLEx. The fee for the practical exam is $150.

Professional Membership and Liability Insurance: You want to make sure to protect yourself from professional liability claims with insurance. Most practitioners align with a national membership association (like ABMP) that provides liability insurance and other benefits useful to massage and bodyworkers. These fees run from $99–$200+, and while a low-cost provider may seem like a good way to save a few dollars, a full-service professional association like ABMP provides a lot more resources that can help you get your career started right. Bonus tip: The best deal out there is the $75 first-year Professional membership to ABMP, which is only available to subscribers of ABMP Exam Coach, the best MBLEx test prep in the profession.

If you start a private practice, you will also want to save for your business start-up costs. Sign up for a free ABMP Student Life membership for access to helpful massage business start-up resources like our “Business Start-Up Projector” and “Master Equipment and Supply List” forms that include a list of potential costs related to starting a private practice, plus a monthly budgeting form to help you get your personal finances in order. A little planning will help you be ready to start practicing in no time.

Sign up for a free ABMP Student Life membership here.