The rules change the term “certificate holder” to “license holder” and also outline licensure requirements for certified and noncertified practitioners. The rules will be effective July 13, 2022. This means Indiana law now requires all massage therapists to be licensed. For those currently certified in Indiana, your certifications will roll over to licensure in the next six months.
Those not currently certified in Indiana have six months (January 11, 2023) to apply to the Board for licensure providing the following documentation:
- Proof you have passed a nationally recognized exam approved by the Board (the MBLEX will suffice) and an affidavit that you have at least five years of work experience in the state; or
- A certificate of completion from a massage therapy program or school with at least 500 hours of education.
Everyone practicing massage therapy in Indiana will need to be licensed by January 11, 2023. After this date, applicants will need to have 625 hours of education and pass a national exam. It will be a misdemeanor to practice without a license.
Licensure Update in Detail
Certified Massage Therapists
Indiana massage therapists are currently certified by the state, but this has been voluntary. In 2017, Indiana passed a law that requires massage therapists to become licensed (IC 25-21.8-4-1). The law was written so that the licensure requirement becomes effective only when the Board adopts massage therapy licensure rules. These rules are final as of July 13, 2022.
Who Does This Impact?
As of January 11, 2023, all individuals calling themselves massage therapists in Indiana or receiving compensation for massage therapy services will need to obtain a license from the Board.
The definition of “massage therapy” is:
A health-care service involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft tissue for the purposes of enhancing health, providing muscle relaxation, increasing range of motion, reducing stress, relieving pain, or improving circulation of the human body; and includes
a) the use of touch, external pressure, friction, stroking, rocking, gliding, vibration, percussion, kneading, movement, positioning, nonspecific stretching, stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement, and holding, with or without the use of massage devices that mimic or enhance manual measures; and
b) the external application of heat, cold, water, ice, stones, lubricants, abrasives, and topical preparations that are not classified as prescription drugs. IC 25-21.8-1-4
Anyone performing any of these services will need to be licensed to practice massage by January 11, 2023.
Those Currently Certified in Indiana
If you are certified in Indiana, you don’t have to do anything. Your certification will roll over into licensure automatically. There will be no additional applications or fees. Your renewal date will remain the same as your certification renewal date. IC 25-21.8-4-6(a)
Those Not Currently Certified in Indiana
Those not currently certified in Indiana must obtain licensure within 183 days from July 13, 2022, when the licensure rule takes effect. You are allowed to practice without a license through January 11, 2023, after which a license to practice is required. (IC 25-21.8-4-6)
There are two ways to obtain a license by January 11, 2023:
- Submit proof you have passed a nationally recognized exam approved by the Board (the MBLEX will suffice) and an affidavit that you have at least five years of work experience in the state; or
- Provide a certificate of completion from a massage therapy program or school with at least 500 hours of education
A criminal background check is also required, as is the requirement to obtain liability insurance, which is part of your ABMP membership.
If you need to obtain your transcript from a closed school, visit these websites—one of these entities may have your transcripts, depending on the year the school closed:
To request transcripts:
Indiana State Archives
6440 E. 30th St., Indianapolis, IN, 46219
317-591-5222 or 317-232-3380
For more information go here: https://www.in.gov/iara/transcripts/
- Current certificate holders’ licenses will renew on their current renewal dates. IC 25-21.8-4-6(a)
- New licenses will renew every four years. IC 25-21.8-6-1
- 24 hours of continuing education, two of which must be in ethics/boundaries/safety, will be required upon renewal. The first requirement for continuing education will occur four years after your initial license. IC 25-21.8-6-2(2)
- Newly licensed individuals will have renewal every four years.
If a license is valid for:
- 12 months or less: No continuing education will be required
- 13–24 months: 12 hours of continuing education will be required
- 25–36 months: 18 hours of continuing education will be required
- 37–48 months: 24 hours of continuing education will be required
The licensure rule defines approved continuing education subjects that satisfy continuing education requirements 847 IAC 1-5-2. View approved continuing education subjects here (page 6). Continuing education credits are only valid for those that are completed in the four-year renewal cycle and cannot be carried forward.