Are you a Massage Therapist Moving To Florida? ~ Getting Licensed By Endorsement

Are you a massage therapist moving to Florida?

If you are or already have, you have found the application process is not easy, nor cheap.  As you can see from the comments below,  I field a lot of questions from people who want to move to Florida.  This includes people permanently moving or the occasional Iowa “snow birds” looking to winter there and would like to have a dual license.

Licensed By Endorsement

For those who are already licensed massage therapists in another state, they have to go through a route to licensure in Florida called, “Licensed by Endorsement.”  They need to meet the normal required massage CEUS for HIV/AIDS, Prevention of Medical Errors. However, they also need ten contact hours of Florida Law for Massage Therapists instead of the normal two required hours for renewal.

Previously this could not be done through home study or be provided by Florida Approved Continuing Education Providers. So, people had to travel to take the course in Floirda, then wait for the next board meeting to get their licensed approved.  This is a major problem and inconvenience for most people.  If they move to Florida, they cannot practice until their license is approved.  The only way around this is to travel to Florida (which costs money and takes time), take the course, go home, and then wait for board approval.

Luckily, this rule has been changed recently at a board meeting, and is now approved (see update below).  Now that is is approved, people are able to take this course in a home study format and from a Florida approved continuing education provider. Less red tape is good!

Get the Required Courses

I have a Florida Endorsement Package, including 10 Hour Florida Law and Rules, available for those who will be moving to Florida to become massage therapists now that this rule is changed. The other required courses to obtain a Florida massage license are 3 hours of HIV/AIDS and 2 hours of Prevention of Medical Errors.

I have also put together a free, printable checklist to walk you through the Florida licensing process.

Here’s a list of some frequently asked questions.

Here was the official notice I received from CE Broker:

UPDATE!!! FEB 8th 2011

I received this email today from CE Broker.

To: Florida Board of Massage Therapy approved educational providers

The Florida Board of Massage Therapy has made a change allowing Board approved educational providers to offer the 10 hour Laws & Rules of the Board course required for initial licensure. (This course can also be used by those who are renewing their Florida license.)

Good News!

~ Ivy


  1. Krystal Brown says

    I am a massage therapist living in NC. I plan to move to FL by the end of June 2011. I am currently in the process of getting my application together for FL. I need the class for Florida Laws and Rules still and if the approves the online classes I would be incredibly happy!!! Please update on the status of the rule change. If it is approved, how long until you will have a class up on your website? THANKS :)

    • says

      The board was supposed to meet and discuss this issue this weekend (1/28/11). I will contact the board and try to get an update or hopefully they post it to their website soon. I will update this page when I find out. I hope to have our course available within a couple months. You may sign up for our newletter on to receive updates on this course. Thanks!

      • says


        I received this email today:

        To: Florida Board of Massage Therapy approved educational providers

        The Florida Board of Massage Therapy has made a change allowing Board approved educational providers to offer the 10 hour Laws & Rules of the Board course required for initial licensure. (This course can also be used by those who are renewing their Florida license.)

  2. Jamie Johnson says

    Have all my requirements but CEU’s for Florida. Any news yet? Planning on moving to Naples in June from Colorado. How often does the board meet to approve apps? Thank you for your work.

  3. Shonna Bender says

    My husband & I are relocating from Pennsylvania to the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete area in March…seems like a long way off! So glad I stumbled on your blog. The information is wonderful, and I’ll have plenty of time to take the Florida Laws class. I’ll be in touch to take the CEUs. Thanks!

  4. vicki says

    ten years ago i went to school in florida for massage. i never got licensed there but was in nevada. my license lapsed and now i want a florida license. i was told the endorsement won’t work now but the examination application is what i need. i’ve already passed the nationals. is there another test i need?

  5. Mariea says

    Oh happy day! I am very happy I have found this site. I tell you you are correct on the difficulty level in order to transfer from out of state. I call the state board and pretty much get the run around. I’ve gotten plenty of opinions but nothing that is quite a fact.

    My problem of the day: The 10 hours of Florida Law. I attended massage school in FL 5 years ago. Graduating with 4 hrs of FL law, but never getting a FL license, Now I am trying to transfer from NC to FL and make up my 6 hrs of FL Law required. I was told I could take the 2 hr FL law course online, at 3 different on line company’s to make up the 6 needed hrs. I have already purchased 2 out of the 3 and was just informed that OH WAIT! maybe that won’t work at all and I need to take the 10hr course regardless of my 4 hrs already existing. Humm.. any feed back would be appreciated!

  6. elizabeth gomez says

    HELP!!!!!! i got my license in 2007, then i got pregnant so i never have the opportunity to work, now that my son is going to vpk y can star working, does anybody kwon what is the process to follow?????

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth, I believe you would need to reinstate your license, which is different than the endorsement process. So, I have a couple questions. Have you completed any CEU’s? Did you file for inactive status with the board? The license renewal date is coming up very soon. I would contact the board quickly and tell them your situation. You may be able to get a medical waiver, or reduced hours since you were expecting. Every state is different. Please let me know what they say. I am very interested.

  7. says

    I have a question which i think i know the answer but want to know for sure. I got my original license in Florida then moved to North Carolina and became duly licensed but then let my Florida one expire. Can I just get reinstated or do I have to take that course too!

    • says

      How long ago did your license expire? If it is over a certain amount of time (don’t quote me, but I think it is 4 years), you may need the courses again, if not you may be able to reinstate your license like you said. You can email me @ with when your license expired. I will look into it from there :)

  8. Kim says

    Dear Ivy, I’ve been a massage therapist for eleven years now in Tennessee. I am planning on moving to Clearwater. The problem is, eleven years ago in TN there was no State exam, therefore I was grandmothered in.

    So, will I have to take the Florida State exam? Thought I’d check with you before I called the State and got the “run around”!!

    Thank You.

    • says

      I get this question quite often. I have new checklist on our website. One is for endorsement candidates and one is for examination candidates.
      From what you are saying, I am going to assume you have never taken the NCETMB or MBLEx (“national” exams). This would mean you would be an examination candidate. The process is pretty similar. You still need the 10 hour law, 3 hour HIV, and 2 hours of medical errors prevention. Look at the checklist and let me know if you have any other questions!

      Examination Candidate Checklist

    • Suzi says

      Dear Ivy,
      I have a situation that is somewhat complicated … I was issued a massage license in Florida in 1992 at the time NCTETMB was new and I took the Fl. state test. I later moved to Tennessee in 1998. I got my Tennessee license in 1999 which I still currently have 2012. The Florida license I did not renew due to monies and small children I did not renew and it has been more than 5 years. I have now moved back to Florida the Clearwater area and am in the process of attaining my LMT license here what is the procedure? and “WHY?” would the test that Florida offered at the time not be acceptable? Especially now that they do offer others Mblex etc. I have taken ceu’s here in Florida which included Florida law. ?? Please help with any info you can. Thank you! Good luck to Kim moving to Clearwater from Tennesse! Does she want a study buddy? :)

      • says

        Hi Suzi,
        I understand your frustration and situation. I have kids, and they are expensive. They take precedence over holding onto a dual license. When we let a license lapse, we take the chance that rules change. These rules may include a change in approved examinations. So, in order to get our license back, we sometimes have to take unnecessary exams. They definitely do not let me make the rules.

        Have you contacted the FL BOM about your previous exam? It is a long shot, but they may bring your case before the BOM and let the BOM review your case. Who knows? I cannot say for sure what they would do unfortunately.

        When did you take the 10 hour Law, Med Prevention of Errors, and HIV? Was it recently?

        Here is my examination checklist (IF Fl does NOT accept your previous exam)
        Here is my endorsement checklist (If Fl DOES accept your previous exam)

        I hope this helps. Please get back to me and let me know what you find out, or if you have other questions.

        • Suzi says

          August 30, 2011 BTW I have signed up for the Mblex in September 2012. I understand
          you have rececntly taken it. Good for you!! GO GIRL! :)

          • Suzi says

            Do you care to share your experience regarding the MBLEX test? I really would like to know. thanks for being active and having this blog to connect with others and sharing information.

  9. Pat says

    Hello Ivy! My licence is from GA and will expire in October 2012. I am moving to FL in July 2012. I know licenses in FL expire this August. I am not sure if now would be a good time to start endorsement process while still in GA, also would like to take your package classes now since I have time. What do you think? First I am going to file application online, should I write my current address in GA or use the future address in FL even if I’m not there yet? How long approximately will take the process from the time I file online the application til the time I get the FL license? Any other advice? Thanks for your time and help.

    • says

      Hi Pat,
      I would suggest starting the process a few months before you plan to move. One, because it takes time to get all of your information to the Florida board (transcripts, test scores, proof of current license, course transcripts). Second, if you are going to open a business, you will most likely need to get a massage establishment license also. I was able to get my license by endorsement in about six weeks. That included me sending a second school transcript because my first one never arrived at the Board office (hint: this seems to be a pretty common problem).

      I would give them your current address with your application. Once you move, you will need to contact them (as soon as you move) and give them your new mailing address. Oh, and the licenses are renewed every odd year. So, we do not renew until August 2013. The courses will cover all this fun information in more detail.

      It is great you are planning ahead, many do not :) Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Pat says

        I truly appreciate your prompt valuable answer, thank you so much, sure I will contact you again as soon as start my process and of course to get my package! One more thing, we are so blessed to find your site very handy and helpful. Thanks a lot :)

  10. Veronica says

    Hi, I have a diploma in massage, ITEC International. I want to practice in Florida, I have been living here for 2yrs. Now my problem is I have 350 hrs and need to make up 150. Can I transfer my International hrs to USA. How do I go about this. Thank You.

    • says

      I actually have someone in your situation that I just helped get their FL license. Yes, you will need to make up the 150 hours in classroom time. What I would do first, is contact the board and ask when you need to have the FL BOM review your international transcript. They may not accept all of your hours, which means you would need more than 150 hours. You will then need to take the MBLEx, NCETMB, or NESL exam before you get your license. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions.

      • Veronica says

        Hi Ivy Thanks for reply. Is it possible to put me in contact with the person you helped. Or give them my email address. Where can I put in classroom time, without having to do a full massage course again. I had a practice for 7yrs in Ireland and worked with Doctors, so I have the experience. Just need to get make up hours. Thank you..Veronica

  11. LIlia Sanchez says

    I am a massage therapist for 5+ years in Chicago. My lisence has expired and havent bothered renewing because I plan to live somewhere in fl. (not yet decided) in aug. 2012… What do I have to do before I go so I can get everything done by the time I arrive?

    • says

      Hi Lilia,
      Were you grandfathered in when Illinois started licensing, or did you take either the MBLEx or NCETMB? If not, you will need to take one fo those first.

      Actually, the expiration of your license in IL does not matter that much in getting your FL license. They will still want proof from the IL Board that you were licensed at one time.

      So, before you go….Go to this link on our website (Examination Candidate Checklist” target=”_blank”>Candidate by Examination). It is a checklist we made for people who are examination candidates. Also take a look at our massage endorsement checklist on the website. Let me know if you have other questions.

      I would start taking your courses (10 hours of Florida Massage Law and Rules, 3 hours of HIV, and 2 hours of Medical Errors Prevention) 4-6 months ahead of time to ensure that you have your license when you move. The checklist will give you all of the other documents you need to have sent to the Board of Massage You will pay the same price to get your license now as you will in 6-12 months. Everyone renews on the same day 8-31-13, so it will not cost you any less by getting your license early.

  12. Landa says

    Hi Ivy
    I live in Atlanta….moving to Orlando area to further my education. My question is, how often does the FLMB meet to issue licenses? I’m aware that I need the medical errors, 2 hr class and FL law 10 hr class….I already have 8 hrs HIV from the school I attended here in Atlanta. I want to plan my departure and it depends on timing.

    Thanks in advance

    • says

      Good morning Landa,

      Most times when all of your information is received by the BOM and they have check marked (CE courses, application, transcript, exam score, previous license infot), they automatically kick out your license within a few days.

      But sometimes, if something does not look right (usually in a school transcript), the BOM will need to review the information. In that case, you will need to wait until the next board meeting to have the Board review your application and information.

      I do not know what they would do with your HIV hours. If they are printed on your transcript that gets sent to them, then you might be okay. To be safe, I would just take one from a FL approved provider (it does not cost anymore for the 3rd course on the Endorsement package), or call/email the BOM to make sure the 8 hours will be accepted.

      Hope this helps.

  13. Misty Dawn says

    Hi I live in Florida, and have been practicing for over ten years in-home massage. I have decided to find a more stationary place to work from. I was offered a room, in a 55 over community. Do I need to get my massage license establishment to do so. Set it up like a small business to do work from here? I spoke with the director, as they do have a hair stylist on the premises as well, who has her own business license and such, and said I could work under her. She said I would have to pass inspection. Not sure how this would work, as it is not a storefront business but inside a club.. Can you help me with any direction.. Thanks so much

    • says

      Hi Misty,

      Massage establishments seem to be misunderstood by a lot of people. They can be a little confusing.

      Here is the general rule for massage establishments – If your client comes to you (your home, office, or room at 55 and over community), then you need a massage establishment license. Because of this, I am going to assume you already have one.

      If you go to your client’s place (their home, apartment, or business) then you do not need one.

      So, yes, you likely will need to have another location added to your current establishment license, or have the place you are working at apply for an establishment license. I would assume the hair stylist does not have a massage establishment license. Another inspection will be required. You will also need to show proof of insurance on the premises (the owners should have this, or you need your own). It escapes me right now if the insurance needs to be in the name of the establishment owner. You may need to verify that with the FL Board.

      Does this help? Good luck!

      • Misty Dawn says

        Yes thank you that was helpful.. The site does have it owns insurance, however wasnt sure if I would have to get my own, since i would be bringing clients of my own to the community. Or if its best to be under the umbrella of the salons insurance, so as to cut out any additional costs to myself. I of course have my own independent insurance (liability) but not for property, since most of my Independent work has been in-home massage of my clients home. And if in that case if it best for the salon to do the paper work for establishment license and i just pay the cost of it, since the only thing i will be responsible in paying is the rental of the room cost, without any percentage being divided up.

  14. says

    Hi! I currently live in Cali, which is regulated by city. I just sent my application in to NCTMB. I am from Florida and plan on moving back soon. What are the necessary step I need to take to get licensed after nationally certified?

  15. says

    Dear Ivy,
    I currently live in Cali, which is regulated by city. I plan on moving back to Florida. What is the process I need to follow in order to get my Florida licensure if nationally certified through NCTMB?

    • says

      Here is the page from my website with all of the updated information for you. You will be a license by examination candidate since you live in an unregulated state. I also have a checklist on that page that will guide you through the rest process. Please let me know if you have any questions! Good luck on the NCE!

  16. Jason McDaniel says

    My wife has just submitted her application to the State of Florida to get her massage license for Florida due to me relocating for my job. She took and passed the MBLEX in Louisiana but will not be able to take the state test here until the end of August. Can you tell me or direct me in the right direction of where to get study material of what is on the state test in Florida. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  17. ls133 says

    I took massage therapy classes back in 2006 in Illinois. I do have experience as a massage therapist and have my liability insurance but i’m not nationally certified out state license. I do have 800 accumulative hours though. I am moving to FL on two Weeks and would like to start doing massages there. What are the steps that I must take in order to become license? Is there any websites I can go to so I can start the process?

    • says


      Here is the link to a page on my website. It has all of the requirements and checklists for everything you need to do to get your FL Massage license. If you never took the NCETMB or MBLEx, you will need to take at least one of those, but again it is all on the website link I provided. Let me know if you have questions after you go through the information.


  18. Julie says

    Hi, Ivy, I recently bought a home in FL, at some point will be moeing there. I currently live in MA and hold a NCTMB cert and state Lic. Ive beenence in practive for 16 years.
    Can I copy my Lic from the state along with my schooling lic which has a stamp, and my NCTMB licence??? and next I will be ordering the packett you have put together for practiceing in the state of FL. AM I missing anything, Also I have recently takeing two course which AI will be recienving 16 credits for, can I use the packett you send me includeing the HIV to cover me here also, I plan to practice in both states if possible
    Thank you
    stay well

    • says

      Good Morning Julie,

      You can email the FL BOM about your school transcript, but the other items need to be sent directly from the NCB and the state of MA. My school charged $5 for a sending a transcript, so you may want to inquire to your school. It may be worth it just to have them send it.

      Did you find the endorsement checklist on this page? It has the links for all of the items you need to have sent to the FL BOM. If you do all of the things on the checklist, you will be good.

      And yes, you can use the 3 hour course for you MA renewal.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  19. roxane says

    I took the ncbtmb your site says ncetmb. whats the difference? I looked it up and they seem to be the same.

    • says

      Hi Roxane,

      The NCETMB is the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. That exam is administered by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork). So yes, we are all talking about the same thing. People often interchange NCETMB and NCBTMB.

  20. Val says

    I have transferred all my school credits to a FL school. Taken FL law, ethics, errors at the fl school. all I need is the online aids class . Do you provide this? If so I would like to take it? Do I need a acct with a CEU broker to prove I have taken it?


  21. nicky lake says

    I am a trained Massage Therapist from UK I wish to finally get my license in Florida. I did take Florida laws and HIV but in 2010, but I have been back and forth to UK. I am now full time here in Florida, So, one question is…are they still good or should I re – take them?
    I know I have to do medical errors and take the MBLEx exam. I also have my transcripts from my UK school, but they are not sealed !!
    So what would you suggest as my best course of action.

    Thank you for your help

    • says

      Hi Nicky,
      I would think your hours should still be valid. You may want to take an update class, or just look around for the changes since 2010. Or, I guess can just list the two major ones :). There is no longer an HIV requirement for renewal (there still is one for your initial license) and you need to display a recent 2×2 photo with your license. Not too much has happened.

      You may need to have your school resend the transcript. Maybe. Call/email the board and ask. Since it is an international transcript, I assume they are really going to look it over.

      Here are a couple links that may be helpful. One is to my Prevention of Medical Errors course and the other is for my MBLEx study guide and practice questions.

      Take care and let me know if you have other questions!

  22. Kelly Hubbard says

    Hi there. The information on this blog is so helpful. I live in VA, am state licensed and NCBTMB certified. I am moving to FL in December and am wondering if the same information you stated above, applies now for 2013 such as needing 500 hours for school, etc? I am a little intimidated and unaware on where to start with this whole process. Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Kelly,

      This is the 3rd questions I have had about VA massage licenses today! The others were FL moving to VA (which I am not as familiar with). There have been no major changes to the process of getting your FL massage license. 500 hours and completion of a board-approved exam (which you have done) are still the major minimum requirements.

      Here is a page with the courses you will need to get your Florida massage license. Be sure to print out the Endorsement checklist on that page. IT will guide you through the entire process. You can always email me to if you have any other questions.

  23. Goretti Ferreira says

    to renew a license in New york I have to take some classes 36 hours Co , I’m wondering the class that I will have with you to complete florida requirement will be good to also renew my license here, how I could find out? can you tell me more about that? and how many hours it is included after I finish? thanks

  24. Lisa H says


    I am a qualified and experienced massage and holistic therapist from the UK. I would love to consider employment in a spa in the Florida Keys. I am aware that I would need a work permit and license, do you think gaining employment there would be a realistic option?

    Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you!

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      If your education was over 500 hours and you complete a board approved exam, you would have most of the requirements completed. Contact the board about your foriegn education and what you need to do to get it approved. The Keys are sounding awfully good right now!

  25. Goretti Ferreira says

    I’m license massage therapist in State of New York moving to florida, I would like to received all the information step by step, what I should do to get a license also in florida, which classes I should have to do to complete the petition by Florida Law
    thank you appreciate your help

  26. says

    Hi Goretti~

    Here is the checklist for you. Since NYS has its own license, you will be considered an examination candidate even if you have your NYS license. If you have already taken the NCETMB or MBLEx, just have those scored forwarded to FL, if not – you will need to complete on of them. Here is the Florida Endorsement/Examination classes that I offer that you will also need. There are lots of other answers to common questions about the process to on that page. If your question is not answered, you are always free to email me anytime.

  27. Goretti Ferreira says

    I m follow what you advised I will ask the department of New york to send the information to florida, also my school and also the Nacional certification, now I want to know after that I have to get in touch to take the course that you provide, after all do you think I will be okay in florida?

  28. says

    Hi Goretti,

    It sounds like you are well on your way! If have completed 500 hours, the national exam (NCETMB, NESL, or MBLEx -this does not include the NYS exam), have your transcript sent, and finish the courses I offer~ that takes care of most of the work. While I cannot guarantee what the Board will do with your information, from my end, I would not think you should have a problem getting your license.

  29. Goretti Ferreira says

    Hello I still have 2 question I have the Nacional certification NCTMB is that what I have to have in florida? this is from 2003 also how I get in touch with them? If it is spired I want to know how I can renew it.
    Also do you apply any course thru the internet that is approval here in New York as a continue education? thank you

  30. Goretti ferreira says

    Hello ivy I will like to do the courses to complete the Florida Ceu how I should start? What to do first I want to do this on line

  31. says

    If you passed the NCETMB, then there is no need to renew your NCTMB credential. The FL board of massage just wants to know that you passed the exam at some time (even if it was in 2003). Contact the NCBTMB and have them forward your scores to the Florida Board of Massage after you apply for your license. The NCBTMB now has a new system where they may give you a login and password and explain how to access and forward your scores yourself.

    I am not sure I understand your second course. As a NCBTMB provider, our courses are accepted in NYS provided you give me your NYS license number on your exam. The 10 hour FL law and rules course does not count for NYS CE credit.

  32. Goretti Ferreira says

    I need to take 3 hours HIV 2 prevention medical and 10 hour florida law can you help me on that this is the only thing I will need write now

  33. Goretti Ferreira says

    Hello thanks to replay, today early in the morning I gave my information and credit card number to get the package that I need for License in Florida, but I don’t know why I did not get any answer, can you check before I send it again? if did not go thru I will do this tomorrow morning again


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