What Is a Licensed Massage Therapist?

Whether you are looking to hire a massage therapist or are considering a career in massage therapy, one term you will see regularly is “licensed massage therapist.” Just what does this mean, and how does it affect the quality of care received by a patient? Here’s a little more about what licensure means.

Licensing Requirements for Massage Therapists
The licensing requirements for massage therapists vary from one state to the next. In some areas, the city and county government also regulates who can be licensed in massage therapy. If licensure is required, then it is illegal for someone in that state to work as a massage therapist without a license. Typically, licensure requires a specific number of hours of coursework from an accredited massage therapy school, and it may also require passing a test. Therapists typically have to pay a fee to apply for licensure, and it needs to be renewed every few years. Renewal requires continuing education credits.

dddBoard Certification
Board certification is not necessarily required to become a licensed massage therapist, but it can help. Massage therapists can be certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Certification requires the individual to pass “boards,” which are a series of tests designed by the NCBTMB or similar agency. These tests show the knowledge and abilities of the therapist.

In North Carolina, for example, students who have successfully completed a NC Board approved school of at least 500 hours and have passed the MBLEx exam may apply for licensure.

The Difference Between Certification and Licensure
A licensed massage therapist and a board certified massage therapist are not necessarily the same thing, because licensure and board certification are not the same thing. Licensure is required by law to operate as a massage therapist in certain states. The license comes from the state. Certification comes from a private agency and shows that the individual has met a high standard. Certification is not required in order to practice, but it shows that the individual has met a certain level of professionalism.

Because of the requirements for licensure, finding the right massage therapy school is essential. NC Massage School has a comprehensive program that provides the necessary training for licensure and board certification, allowing graduates to start their careers as licensed massage therapists in North Carolina.

Kristy Serdinsky, Owner, and Director of Education at NC Massage School. With a background in teaching and administration in charter and private schools, Kristy’s dedication to helping others led her to open a massage spa in Cornelius in 2015. Now, she brings her expertise in education and the massage and bodywork industry to NC Massage School, blending her two passions to create a transformative learning experience.


We provide personalized training in the art and science of therapeutic massage, focusing on advanced-level professional careers, continuing education, and personal growth. Our philosophy is rooted in a holistic approach, which encourages our students to explore personal development of the mind, body, and spirit.


“What has impressed me the most is the instructor’s teaching style. While it is accepted that certain protocols must be followed, their hands-on approach is informative and encouraging.”

– Kaitlyn Boullosa

Our Location

NC Massage School
20525 North Main Street Cornelius, NC 28031
Phone: (704) 896-2636

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