Getting Licensed as a Massage Therapist in North Carolina: A Complete Guide

How to Get Licensed as a Massage Therapist

In North Carolina, massage therapy is not just a professional service but a regulated profession with strict guidelines and requirements. Here’s an in-depth look into how the licensing process works and the broader regulations for the sector.

Licensing Requirements for Massage Therapists

Every individual providing massage and bodywork therapy in exchange for compensation needs to secure a license. Whether you work full-time, part-time, self-employed, or under an employer doesn’t matter. Notably, there are exceptions. Professionals practicing specific energy-based or movement repatterning techniques might not need a license if they meet the stipulated criteria. Also, the state offers a waiver for the initial application fee of ~$150 for military-trained applicants or their spouses, given they furnish the necessary military documentation.

Step-by-Step Application Process

  1. Acquire the Application: A tailored application can be online for a ~$20 fee. Once the “Online Application Request” is finished, the system generates an application, sending you login credentials and instructions through email.
  2. Submission: After entering the required details, forward the application for the Board’s examination. It’s important to note that there could be instances where the Board might wait for additional third-party documentation.
  3. Tracking Application Status: The state provides a handy “Check Application Status” online link, allowing applicants to monitor their application’s progress in real time.

Post-Submission Tips

  • The Board’s staff starts on an initial review to ensure the application’s completeness.
  • If everything seems in order, the application could get a green signal or be referred to the License Standards Committee for further recommendations.
  • Applicants with a criminal history might experience a longer waiting period due to an extensive review of their records.
  • Using the “Check Application Status” is recommended to follow your application’s trajectory instead of inundating the Board with calls.

Receiving Your License

Once you’ve crossed all the hurdles and your application is approved, your license number will be showcased on the official website. Within 10-15 business days, your licensure certificate will reach your mailbox.

For a more detailed overview, visit the official website,

licensed massage therapist

Regulations in the Massage and Bodywork Therapy Realm

North Carolina champions an efficient system for overseeing massage and bodywork therapy, ensuring the protection and well-being of professionals and clients. Check out the specific details of what is involved:

  • School Choices & Costs: If you’re exploring massage therapy schools, whether it’s enrolling for the first time or checking renewal processes, there are specific fees. These cover application costs, program approvals, inspections, and renewals. And don’t forget, schools may undergo renewal inspections at least every three years, sometimes even sooner.
  • Standards for Schools: North Carolina’s Board is strict about maintaining standards. Schools that don’t follow the rules might face penalties like suspensions or revocations. This can result from various reasons, including deceit, not meeting graduation standards, or operating without permission.
  • Starting Your Practice: Planning to set up your own massage establishment in the state? You’ll need a license. It’s North Carolina’s way of ensuring everyone’s safety and wellness.
  • Getting Licensed as a Business: Beyond the usual fees, there are other steps for your establishment’s licensing. This includes having insurance, sharing ownership details, and even background checks. And for those looking to establish as a corporation, there’s a unique application process.
  • Your Business Name: While you can choose any business name, it must be registered with the Board. Plus, always make sure it’s prominent in your marketing efforts.
  • Detailed Guidelines: If you like to know all the details, the Board provides a thorough rulebook. This covers everything from facility standards to inspections.
  • Costs for Your Business: Just like schools, your massage establishment will have a fee structure, including license applications, renewals, and potential penalties.
  • Business Conduct: Keep in mind, the state takes any misconduct seriously. Missteps, like fraud or anything endangering public safety, could lead to your establishment’s license suspension or revocation.

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North Carolina’s regulatory tapestry for massage and bodywork therapy aims for excellence, ensuring that institutions and establishments operate at the zenith of quality and safety. It serves as a beacon for students, practitioners, and business owners in the sector, underscoring the importance of staying updated and in line with state directives.

If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist in North Carolina, learn more about our program!

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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