Oklahoma Adopts Emergency New Rules Affecting Criminal History

The Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering (Board) has adopted emergency massage therapy rules that identify a list of crimes that will disqualify a person from being licensed as a massage therapist. The crime(s) or criminal charge(s) has to be largely related to the practice of massage therapy and pose a sufficient threat to public safety, health, or welfare. The adopted rules also elaborate on the initial license determination process.

ABMP has summarized the rules for you below. If you have questions, email John.Funderburk@cosmo.ok.gov. The rules became effective January 16, 2023.

Disqualifying Criminal History and Opportunity for Initial Determination
The misdemeanors and felonies listed below may disqualify an individual from holding a massage therapy license.

  1. Crimes involving fraud, theft, lying, falsification, and/or deception:
    Massage therapy often occurs in an unsupervised room where the client is in a state of undress, physically separated from their financial information, personal belongings, and valuables (credit cards, cash, checks, jewelry, etc.). Licensees may have unrestricted access to these items. Through intake forms, licensees may also have access to personal health information, such as medications and prescriptions.
  2. Crimes involving violence and/or threatening behavior, including sexual misconduct:
    Massage therapists frequently provide services to partially clothed or fully undressed clients, who may be vulnerable to exploitation.

Initial License Determination
A person who has pleaded guilty, nolo contendere, or has been convicted of a crime on the lists above, or who has a criminal charge pending, may request an initial determination, which establishes whether a person’s criminal history may disqualify them from licensure. An initial determination can be requested any time, including before educational training or applying for an exam. The rules detail what information a person should submit when requesting an initial determination:

  1. The nature and seriousness of the offense
  2. The amount of time that has passed since the offense
  3. The age of the person at the time the offense was committed
  4. The circumstances of the offense
  5. The specific duties and responsibilities for which the license is required
  6. Other supporting documentation relating to rehabilitation, treatment, mandatory supervision, community supervision, parole, professional work conduct, personal testimonials or reference statements, etc.

Note: A person who has pleaded guilty, nolo contendere, or has been convicted of a crime on the lists above, or who has a criminal charge pending, may not be eligible for licensure for a period of at least five years from the date of conviction, plea, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.