You have your massage license, and now you are moving to another state.
How do you obtain a new massage license in the state where you will be residing?
Will their massage board accept your school, your hours, or the licensing exam you took?
What about “Reciprocity”?
Reciprocity is a mutual exchange of privileges. An example of this is that the Board of Massage in the state you are moving to recognizes the validity of your current license, or the educational requirements/training in the state where you currently reside. Reciprocity allows massage therapists to obtain a new license and practice without a lot of extra paperwork, delays, and hassle.
But, reciprocity in the massage field is a little complicated.
The massage field has talked about license portability and reciprocity for years. But as of right now, no two state massage licensing regulations are identical. Most massage therapists have to navigate the licencing process in a new state, which is not always clear or without extra costs.
So, here are some tips to help make your career move less complicated.
Are you moving to Florida?
Click here. I will answer all of your questions about obtaining your Florida massage license, and then some.
As for the rest of you. What do you need to do?
If you can, start preparing early. Your current massage license will likely be of no use once you move. The process of transferring a license can take time. So plan on it taking a few weeks, to a few months to get your new license in hand. Most people cannot afford to be without work for a few months while they wait for their license to arrive.
The first thing to do is look at the Massage Board’s website where you are moving. Most do a good job of explaining what new licensees that are transferring licenses need to do. Some states do a less than decent job of explaining their process. You can always email or call the state boards to find out what needs to be done for someone in your position if the website is unclear.
Do I need to take the NCETMB or MBLEx again, or maybe for the first time?
Luckily, one time is usually enough. Now if you are moving to one of the few states that have their own exam (Hawaii), or only takes either the NCETMB (Connecticut) or MBLEx (Arkansas), then you may need to take the exam accepted in your new state.
Rarely you will have to complete a jurisprudence exam. This is a short exam about the massage laws in the state where you are moving. This test is nothing to lose any sleep over.
I have 500 hours of massage training, but the new state I am moving to requires 600-1000 hours. Do I need to go back to school?
It depends. Some states will accept your previous hands-on work experience. If you have been in practice since you graduated from massage school, those hours will often count towards the hours you are missing. However, this is not always the case. People transferring their licenses to Florida, need 500 hours. So, if you only have 300 hour and been in practice for years, you will need to return to school to make the remaining hours up.
Moving to an unregulated state?
Some of you may luck out. If you are moving to one of the few unregulated states, such as Minnesota, you will not need to obtain a license. But, do not forget to contact your local city/county governments. Some of these municipalities do regulate massage therapy within their jurisdictions.
If you have any questions about transferring your license, leave a comment below. I would be happy to help!