To work as a massage therapist in Florida, there are several regulations you will need to follow so that you can qualify for a Florida massage license. Becoming a massage therapist takes a combination of practical and theoretical learning, as well as developing an understanding of the regulations that surround the profession. So, if you're looking to find out how to become a massage therapist in Florida, this article should help you to navigate the process.
Education Requirements Florida massage therapy license requirements require all candidates to follow training before being certified as a Licensed Massage Therapist. You'll need to complete a 500-hour course at a board-approved massage school. There is also a mandatory Florida laws and rules course that must be taken before you can receive your license. Completing your course at a massage school in Florida makes it easier to become certified to practice in the state, but some out-of-state qualifications may be able to be used to apply for a license. During your training, you will learn crucial skills to help you master the art of massage, as well as how to operate safely and how to work with your clients to build a loyal following. Examination Requirements To be able to apply for a Florida massage therapy license, you will need to pass a licensing examination. There are a few that are accepted as part of applications for Florida massage therapy licenses, but the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is the current exam that is accepted by the Board. There are also some older certificates are no longer offered but are still accepted if you passed the exam before the organizations retired: the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB), the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) and the National Exam for State Licensure (NESL). Background Screening The State of Florida has requirements for massage therapy licensees to have a criminal history free from certain convictions. This means that when you apply for your license for the first time, you will also need to go through a background screening process. This involves you submitting your fingerprints to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for them to check them against any records both in the state and nationally. For applicants who have a criminal history, there are lists available of criminal offenses that will prohibit you from being able to qualify. If none of those are included in your criminal history, you may still be able to apply for a license, but there are extra steps to follow. You can find out more about these on the Board of Massage Therapy's website. Renewing Your License Florida massage license renewal regulations will require you to apply and renew your license every two years. To do so, you will need to complete some Continuing Education (CE) hours and follow the current guidance on the state's board certification website. If you choose not to renew your license, you will still be able to get a new license within four years of your last license expiring as long as you are up to date with CE hours. If you wish to renew your license after not practicing for longer than four years, you may be asked to prove your competency to practice by taking a specific exam. Requirements for Those Who Want to Open Their Own Establishment After qualifying as massage therapists, many students choose to open their own massage establishment. This does mean that you will not only need to meet Florida's requirements for massage therapy but also comply with regulations for a massage establishment license in Florida. There are a few different categories within the regulations, but the main ones relate to insurance and business assets. On top of this, you would also need to ensure the premises complies with Department of Health standards for massage establishments. Those who are interested in becoming a massage therapist in Florida and have questions on the licensing, examination and CE requirements should connect with us to find out if this is the right career path for you!