The NCBTMB created an online map of state ce requirements. Click here to view it.
State Guidelines and Professional Ethics
The common areas of focus for most states include massage continuing education coursework in state massage practice guidelines, along with professional ethics classes. Training in state guidelines and regulations is needed to keep massage therapists up to date with the most current legislation, as rules and regulations may change within the common two-year renewal period.
Making sure each massage therapist refreshes his or her memory regarding state law is in the state’s best interest, as well as the client’s. Due to the literal hands-on nature of massage therapy and the potential issues surrounding sexual misconduct, yearly continuing education classes on business ethics and maintaining professional boundaries with clients are also strongly encouraged throughout the country.
In some states, four continuing education hours must be on state massage rules and regulations, professional ethics or communication. Half of those hours must be dedicated to professional boundaries and roles, which demonstrates how committed the state is to maintaining high integrity among its massage practitioners.
Much of the required training is also classroom coursework with hands-on training in new massage techniques or modalities. Specialty classes for clients with migraines, lymphatic conditions or certain cancers, for instance, may comprise part of the on-going training. Reading your state guidelines is the first step on your journey to earning CE credits.
Taking courses is a great way to stay competitive in the ever-changing marketplace, and the benefits of learning something new and challenging yourself are well worth the investment. The following grid outlines the current CE unit requirements for each state, the restrictions on taking online classwork, and the approximate cost of completing the CE coursework.
These requirements are subject to change. Some states restrict the number of hours that may be completed online versus in the classroom. When fulfilling your continuing education requirements, make sure you have consulted the chart below and followed up with your local governing body to ensure that the number of hours you complete will be successfully applied toward your renewal.
|STATE||REQ CE HOURS||ONLINE||EST COST||LICENSE RENEWAL|
|Alabama||16 Hrs / 2 Yrs||16 Hrs||$240||Biennially, on or before the anniversary date|
|Arizona||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||During the two-year period immediately preceding license expiration|
|Arkansa||18 Hrs / 2 Yrs||6 Hrs||$90||Every two years on your birthday|
|California||Not Required*||NA||$0||Every two years before the license expiration date|
|Colorado||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||January 31st every odd year|
|Connecticut||24 Hrs / 4 Yrs||6 Hrs||$90||October 1st every four years|
|Delaware||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||August 31st every even year|
|Florida||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||August 31st every odd year|
|Georgia||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||October 31st every even year|
|Hawaii||Not Required||NA||$0||June 30th every even year|
|Idaho||6 Hrs / Yr||6 Hrs||$90||Every year on your birthday|
|Illinois||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||December 31st every even year|
|Indiana||Not Required||NA||$0||May 15 every 4 years|
|Iowa||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||6 Hrs||$90||Every two years from date issued|
|Kansas||Not Required||NA||$0||October 31st every two years|
|Kentucky||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||Every two years from date issued|
|Louisiana||12 Hrs / Yr||12 Hrs||$180||Every year March 31st|
|Maine||Not Required||NA||$0||Every year from initial lisence date|
|Maryland||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||October 31st even years|
|Massachusetts||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||28th day of birth month every year|
|Michigan||18 Hrs / 3 Yrs||18 Hrs||$270||NA|
|Mississippi||12 Hrs / Yr||12 Hrs||$180||Every two years before the license expiration date|
|Missouri||12 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||January 31st every odd year|
|Montana||12 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||July 1- August 31 every year|
|Nebraska||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||7 Hrs||$100||November 1st every odd year|
|Nevada||12 Hrs / Yr||12 Hrs||$180||The last day of the month in which it was issued every year|
|New Hampshire||12 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||NA|
|New Jersey||12 Hrs / Yr||12 Hrs||$180||November 30th every even year|
|New Mexico||16 Hrs / 2 Yrs||16 Hrs||$240||October 31st every two years|
|New York||36 Hrs / 3 Yrs||36 Hrs||$540||NA|
|North Carolina||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||November 1st the year license expires|
|North Dakota||34 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||December 31st every year|
|Ohio||Not Required||NA||$0||Dependent on licensee’s last name|
|Oklahoma||Not Required||NA||$0||Not Required|
|Oregon||25 Hrs / 2 Yrs||13 Hrs||$190||by the first day of the month that the license expires|
|Pennslvania||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||8 Hrs||$120||January 31st every odd year|
|Rhode Island||Not Required||NA||$0||June 30th every year|
|South Carolina||12 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||June 30th every even year|
|South Dakota||8 Hrs / 2 Yrs||8 Hrs||$120||September 30th every year|
|Tennessee||25 Hrs / 2 Yrs||8 Hrs||$120||December 31st every even year|
|Texas||12 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||The last day of the registrant’s birth month|
|Utah||Not Required||NA||$0||May 31st every odd year|
|Virginia||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||NA|
|Washington DC||12 / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||December 31st every odd year|
|Washington State||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||12 Hrs||$180||Every year before your birthday|
|West Virgina||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||NA|
|Wisconsin||24 Hrs / 2 Yrs||24 Hrs||$360||February 28th every odd year|
- To meet state requirements
Understanding your state guidelines is the first step on your journey to earning CE credits. Even if your state does not require you to obtain a license or CE credits, knowing the basic guidelines set by other states in your region will give you a better comprehension of the standard curriculum that many other massage therapists are pursuing.
- To best serve your clients’ changing needs
As your career develops and your client base grows and changes, you want to meet the new demands of your clients to the very best of your ability. CE courses can provide a wealth of information on how to make adjustments to your practice to ensure that your clients can have a consistently great experience.
- To differentiate yourself from the competition
To stay competitive in your field, keeping in touch with the massage industry trends and best business practices is essential and will help you become an industry expert. As massage is a multi-faceted industry, CE courses offer new learning opportunities to help you become more marketable.
- To stay inspired and enthusiastic about your work
Continuing education courses for massage therapists cover a wide range of topics to help you develop in every aspect of your career. From new massage techniques to creative ways to market your business, CE courses can also help you reconnect with and reenergize your passion for massage and bodywork.
- To reduce exposure to risks
Many CE courses will help you prevent injury and other risk factors. By learning to use good body mechanics, you will be able to reduce these risks and know how to answer important questions when they arise.
- To meet state requirements
CE courses give you the opportunity to interact with others in your field. This networking can lead to new career connections, clients and contacts for your practice.
Most states require training in state law and regulations, as well as coursework regarding what is needed to avoid medical complications or errors, and will often recommend additional training courses. Classes you may expect to find will be in areas such as the following:
- Professional ethics
- Massage techniques
- History of massage
- Massage insurance
- Professional ethics
- Effective communication
Coursework in other areas relevant to the individual therapist may be included, based on the practitioner’s background and career aspirations.
Massage CE courses are offered in a variety of formats and are available through many different providers. Most commonly, CEs are earned through:
- Home study courses
- Live/classroom courses
- Distance learning courses
Each format has its strengths and weaknesses, and you should consider which one will work best for you based on your learning style, schedule and the type of class(es) you need. As noted earlier, some states also have restrictions on the number of CE hours that can be completed online, so you need to make sure you achieve the right balance between online and classroom coursework. The best bet is to refer first to the state guidelines, then to the number of hours needed, and finally, to double check the type of hours required to make the most informed decision before you commit your time, money, and effort. The last thing you want is to complete a class that will not be applicable to your renewal when you are counting on it. While you’ll have the satisfaction of achieving some personal development, it may not comfort you that much when you can’t get your license renewed.
Nationwide, massage therapy is a popular career choice – and an area that’s growing. However, since massage therapists may operate independently, and since massage itself is so diverse, the massage industry has struggled with creating uniformity in massage therapist regulation. This includes the areas of training, education, and licensure – all of which will help ensure the credibility of the field as a whole. Regarding continuing education, the NCBTMB has moved to the forefront of the charge in trying to create some basic guidelines for massage practitioners and massage instructors to follow. As such, they started to evaluate both what should be required of massage therapists as they advance in their careers, along with what CE providers should have to offer their students. In 2011, after facing criticism that they had not been stringent enough with their standards in evaluating massage education providers, they determined to redesign their approval criteria. As of 2013, they now have an upgraded CEU provider evaluation process. If you’d like to become a CEU provider or instructor, it’s a good idea to visit the NCBTMB website to get a baseline understanding of what they look for in an approved provider. While their benchmark is not law, it does suggest that at minimum, you’ll need: • Some prior teaching experience with a small group • A class description and objectives • A syllabus outlining coursework If you want to be NCBTMB approved, you can find out more information here. As with everything, with a little due diligence, you can find exactly what you need to enhance your career as a massage professional.