Update on Indiana Massage Licensure Changes and Implementation

The Indiana State Board of Massage Therapy is working to finalize licensure rules stipulated by HB1289 (passed in 2017), which creates mandatory licensure in Indiana. 

What you need to know:

HB1289 requires individual massage therapists obtain licensure in order to practice massage therapy in the state as of the date the rules are finalized—see IC 25-21.8-4-6(a) and (b). Pursuant to IC 25-21.8-4-6(a) anyone who is certified as of the date the rules are finalized will automatically roll into licensure with no additional steps needed. Those who are not certified by the time the rules are finalized will have 183 days from the date the rules are finalized to apply for licensure through grandfathering—see IC 25-21.8-4-6(b).

To throw a wrench in things, we are most likely 12–18 months out from the rules being finalized. The Board just finished drafting the rules and the rules are now with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA). There will be an opportunity for the public to read the draft rules and to comment on them before they are final. We believe this will take at least an additional 12 months.

Additional issue: A second bill passed in 2018 that requires 625 hours of education effective July 1, 2019. The State Board of Massage Therapy recently posted a notice on their website that indicates effective July 1, 2019, 625 hours will be required for those applying for Indiana certification. ABMP believes the 625 hours is for licensing, which won't be required until the rules are finalized, and the licensing process is in place. That said, the Board is interpreting the law to be in effect for people applying for certification as of July 1, 2019, and they are the ones in control of implementation of the law.

Applying for certification or licensure:

Your best opportunity for seamless licensure is to get certified now, before July 1, 2019. Certification at this time requires that you are 18 years old and have graduated from high school, have completed 500 hours of massage education, have passed a national examination, have completed a criminal background check, and have proof of liability insurance. If you get certified through these requirements, once the rules are finalized your certification will roll over into licensure.

As per a notification on the Board's website, those applying for certification after July 1 will need to have 625 hours of education unless they apply during the grandfathering period, at which time they will only need 500 hours.

Applying through grandfathering once the rules are finalized:

You will have 183 days after the rules are finalized to apply for licensure through grandfathering. We will notify you when that 183-day clock starts ticking. To apply through grandfathering requires (a) passing a national certification examination (NCBTMB or MBLEx) with an affidavit proving five (5) years of work experience, or (b) providing certification and transcript of a 500-hour education program.


In summary, after the rules are finalized, a massage therapist must have a mandatory state license in Indiana to practice massage therapy or call themselves a massage therapist. There will be three ways to obtain this license at that time:

  1. Those already certified will roll over to licensure.
  2. Those who are not certified can apply through grandfathering.
  3. Those new to the massage therapy profession will apply for licensure with 625 hours of education, national examination, criminal background check, and proof of liability insurance. 

Again, the rules are not final at this time, so licensure is not applicable until they are. In addition, per a notice on the Board's website, one is required to have 625 hours of education to apply for certification after July 1, 2019.

Please contact us at gr@abmp.com if you have any questions.