“Congratulations! You have passed the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).”
If you did not read beyond this line on your score report, it’s understandable.
This right of passage done, there is likely more work to do. You may have been so focused on your exam, you have not thought about what is next.
Below the good news about your passing it says:
“PLEASE NOTE: Your result of PASS does NOT indicate that you have a right to legally practice or that you have received a license to practice. You must apply for a license through your State licensing board of agency. Contact information for State licensing boards and agencies is available at fsmtb.org.”
Passing the MBLEX does not give you the right to practice massage without a license. The exam is just part of the licence equation.
Most states require you meet all of their requirements and qualifications:
- Minimum Age
- Passing a Licensing Exam
- The MBLEx is currently the only licensing exam being offered, except states that issue their own exam.
- You should have selected a state to have your passing results sent to when you took the MBLEx. If you did, your score results will be sent to your state board within 24 hours.
- If you did not select a state on your MBLEx application for your results to be sent, you need to fill out a mobility form on the FSMTB’s website.
- Minimum Massage Training Education Hours
- Most states require education requirement (500-1000 hour program)
- Background Check
- Like many other health professionals, laws are designed to protect the public, not the other way around. Background checks help the board protect the public from applicants with criminal backgrounds.
- Submit an Application and Fee
- Applications for massage licenses can be found on your State massage board’s website. Links to the FSMTB member boards and agencies are listed at the FSMTB website.
Other items for legal practice in your state may include:
- Establishment License
- Establishment licenses may be required at any location that offers massage services.
- Occupational or Business License
- DBA (Doing Business As)
- Practical Exam
- Hands on demonstration
- Jurisprudence Exam
- This applies to Texas and Oregon therapists
Fill out your applications, and patiently wait for your license in the mail.
For the most part, your scores are good for eternity. They do not expire, meaning you can use them for license portability for years to come. However, laws can change, and some states, like Louisiana, want you to take the MBLEx within two years of applying for a license. This means if you pass the MBLEx today and wait beyond two years to apply to Louisiana, a simple score report and $20 will not suffice. You would need to take the MBLEx again.
Please, don’t procrastinate!
My state board is not listed with the FSMTB, what should I do?
Your state may not require a massage licence to practice massage. A few states, like Vermont and Minnesota, do not regulate massage at a state level. Within these states, you may find massage therapy is regulated at a local level.
Now that I have passed the MBLEx, can I practice massage in every state?
Have you ever been told passing the NCETMB or MBLEX allows you to practice anywhere, or that it is a “national license?”
This “pass the test, practice anywhere” misconception has been around for decades. The former NCETMB exam was called the “national exam.” This led many people to believe if they passed that exam, they could move anywhere and practice massage without obtaining another licence. Not so; it’s slightly more complicated.
You still need to apply for and hold an active license in every state where you practice massage.
I am moving and want to get a license in another state, do I need to take the MBLEx again?
If you want a license in another state you most likely do not need to take the MBLEX again. Yay! Over 40 states accept the MBLEx for their state licensing exam. Exceptions to this would be if you move to a state that has its own licensing exam, like New York or Hawaii.
If you would like to “reuse” your scores to get a license in another state, you need to contact the FSMTB, fill out a mobility form and pay a $20 fee.
The only issue you may run into with moving is having enough education hours, so be sure to check that requirement. License reciprocity, or one state board recognizing the educational requirements of another state board, in the massage field can be frustrating when moving.
Can I have more than one massage license?
Yes, you can have multiple state licenses. I do. It is not as difficult as you may think to manage multiple licenses. Just follow the laws in the state you are currently practicing in. Pay all renewal fees and complete your continuing education requirements for all the states where you want to keep a valid license.
In my opinion, it’s in a person’s best interest to keep a massage license valid in their former state even after moving. Some people who have planned to “never return home” do, and then find getting re-licensed is difficult because the laws and requirements have changed. If you keep a license valid while you are away, this problem will likely not exist.
Finally, I wish you the best with your professional career and thank you for including me on your journey if you are ending your time here at Massage Exam Academy. I have never regretted choosing massage therapy as a career. The opportunities massage has provided me and witnessing the benefits of touch are beyond what words can express. I hope you enjoy the adventure and opportunity to serve others!
If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me.