Are you moving to Georgia, plan to work in Georgia while living in another state, or a Georgia resident just finishing up massage school?
Simply having an active massage license in another state, a current NCBTMB certification, or a 500 hour transcript is not enough to legally practice massage in Georgia. You will need to obtain a Georgia massage license.
Georgia Massage License Requirements
Every state has unique requirements to get a license, and Georgia is no different. Here are the basic requirements you will need to complete to get your Georgia massage license.
Show That You Completed the Educational Requirement: 500 Total Clock Hours
To qualify for a license, a massage program must have a minimum of 500 total clock hours of supervised classroom and hands-on instruction.
“Supervised” means the supervisor is physically on-site. This means online massage programs, where an instructor is not physically on-site, do not fulfill the educational requirement.
Tips for School Transcripts
To provide proof of your education, you will need to contact your massage program and have an official school transcript sent to the massage Board.
The transcript must:
- Be original, certified, or notarized
- Be on school or program letterhead
- The name and contact information of the school or program official certifying the document
- The curriculum (courses) taken and clock hours obtained
- If credits for your massage program were not recorded in clock hours, the program or institution you attended will need to convert the credits into clock hours. The Board will not accept transcripts that have not been converted to clock hours.
- The start and completion or graduation dates
- The applicant’s name and date of birth
- Reflect all of the hours earned and credited and the associated subject areas
- If applicable, it must identify the hours transferred in from another program or school.
- Multiple, incomplete transcripts will not be accepted
Applicants may include the original transcript with their application as long as it is in the original sealed envelope from the school (Do not open it!). The other option is for you to submit a request for your school or program mail the transcript document directly to:
Georgia Board of Massage Therapy
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, Georgia 31217-3858
Out of State Education
Please see Board Rules concerning acceptable education (Chapter 345-8). You can compare your hours to the required hours in Georgia.
I have had numerous people contact me over the years about issues obtaining a Georgia license because their school did not have a NCBTMB School Code number.
If Your Education Was outside the United States
Applicants with foreign education must provide an original credential evaluation report, in English, completed by International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. The evaluation must include a certified copy of the school transcript which has been translated into English.
Submit Proof of Completing an Approved Exam
In addition to 500 hours of acceptable education, the Board requires successful completion of an approved entry-level examination.
The Board will accept a passing score on any one of the following exams:
- National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) Exams:
- National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
- National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)
- National Examination for State Licensure (NESL)
- Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) Exam:
- Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx)
If you have previously taken one of these exams, you will need to contact the organization and have a score report sent directly to the Georgia Board. There is no need to retake one of these exams if you have passed one previously. Even if your NCBTMB certification has expired, you can still use your exam scores as they do not expire.
If You Have Not Taken an Exam
If you were grandfathered into licensure without taking an exam, or your state did not require an exam, you most likely will need to take an approved exam to qualify for a Georgia license.
Experience or just completion of required hours are rarely enough to qualify in most states. Contact the Georgia Board of Massage if you have any questions about the exam requirement.
If You Find That You Must Take an Exam
The NCBTMB no longer provides an entry-level exam, so the MBLEx is the only testing option currently available.
Massage Exam Academy is a MBLEx prep and information website for recent massage program graduates, as well as therapists who have been out of massage school for years.
Obtain a License Verification, If Needed
If you are, or were, licensed as a massage therapist in another state, you will need to obtain verification of licensure as a massage therapist.
To do this, you will need to contact the state agency where you were or are currently licensed and have an original verification of licensure sent to the Georgia Board. The state agency can mail, fax, or email (PLB-Healthcare2@sos.ga.gov) the verification directly to the Board. The State’s seal must be on the document.
Don’t forget to ask your state agency for applicable fees and processing time (I forgot to do this when I transferred my license).
Are There Any Additional Courses Required for Obtaining a Georgia License?
No, neither a Georgia Laws and Rules course or jurisprudence exam is a requirement for licensure at this time.
However, licensees are expected to be familiar with the laws and rules regulating the practice of massage therapy in Georgia. The Board website contains links to all applicable Laws and Rules.
Complete the Background Check
Notes about Fingerprints
The fingerprints and processing must be completed at a Georgia COGENTS/GAPS location. This is important for applicants that are not currently located/living in Georgia.
The Board does not process fingerprint cards, so do not mail them to the Board office.
Filling out the Online Application
Now that you know what you need to do, it is time for the first step, filling out the application!
The online application allows you to fill out the application, pay the application fee, and submit some of the supporting documents.
License applications expire one year from the date of receipt. Once you apply, you have one year to submit all required materials to the Board office.
You can find the online application here.
You can check the status of an application on the Board website.
Reactivating or Reinstating a Georgia License
The online application is only available to individuals who have never held a license to practice massage therapy in Georgia. If you have previous held a license to practice massage therapy in the state of Georgia, do not complete the online application.
You need to fill out the appropriate application for reactivation or reinstatement.
The application fee for a massage license is $125. All application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.
The license renewal fee is $75. All licenses expire on October 31st of every odd year.
You can view the current fee schedule here.
How Long Does It Take to Apply and Get Licensed?
The Georgia Board FAQ page says, “Application processing may take up to twenty-five (25) business days from the receipt of the application in the Board Office.”
However, the following can create processing delays:
- Criminal history
- Disciplinary history
- Incomplete applications
Is There A “Temporary” License Option?
Yes, but this is only available for non-residents of Georgia.
See Board Rule 345-3-.01 for more information about eligibility and requirements for temporary licenses.
Contact Information for the Georgia Board Office
Georgia Board of Massage Therapy
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, Georgia 31217-3858
(478) 207-2440 (Customer Service)
(866) 888-1308 (Fax)