The Washington state massage therapy bills discussed in our prior Washington legislative update were signed into law on March 29, 2016.
HB 2425 changes the words “massage practitioner” and “animal massage practitioner” in the state massage therapy law to “massage therapist’ and “animal massage therapist.” Beginning July 1, 2017, the Washington State Department of Health will issue all new licenses and renewals as they become due on the birthdate of the licensee using the term "massage therapist." Active licenses using the term "massage practitioner" remain valid until required to be renewed on the licensee's next birthdate after July 1, 2017. Starting July 1, 2017, any person who holds a massage therapy license in Washington may use the title “licensed massage therapist” and the abbreviation “L.M.T.”
HB 2781 requires that the Washington Massage Therapy Board must write rules allowing board-approved massage education programs to establish transfer programs which accept an individual’s prior education in a program that has not been approved by the board. The non-approved school must be a school that is either accredited by a national or regional accreditation organization, approved by a state authority with responsibility for oversight of vocational programs; or approved by a state agency that regulates massage programs and is a member of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). The details will be fleshed out in the board’s rules. The law goes into effect June 9, 2016, with the board rules to be written after that date.