Massage Therapy School Requirements in Arkansas

Arkansas, also known as “The Natural State”, is one of the most beautiful and accomplished places in the United States to start and operate a successful massage therapy business.  Here, tourism is one of the state’s most budding and essential industry, which includes that of relaxation and serenity.  Arkansas is known for its clear lakes, streams, giant mountains and low valleys providing your massage business with a beautiful backdrop.

Becoming a massage therapist in this particular state, you will find the opportunity and income potential is beyond your imagination.  The yearly income of an average massage therapist is that of $40,000 and up. The kicker is the low cost of living.

Why not settle down and enjoy all of the benefits and opportunities that the land of Arkansas has to offer you as an aspiring massage therapist?  As you continue reading, you will find out all of the requirements, as well as the rules and regulations, for working in the therapeutic massage industry in Arkansas.

If you would like to find out more, feel free to visit all of the included links and websites within this article.

Scroll straight to the bottom to see a list of the top massage therapy schools in Arkansas.

Brief Summary of the Main Highlights

In the state of Arkansas, you must become licensed and certified before you can practice as a massage therapist.  As an applicant for a massage therapist license, you are now required to pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) prior to receiving your certification.

The Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy feels that you will be better measured and qualified for becoming a successful massage therapist by only taking this exam.  In addition to taking the MBLEx, the state of Arkansas requires you to pass additional examinations, obtain a standard education and practice under certain guidelines and regulations.

If you would like to find out more about the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy rules and regulations, you may visit their website by following the link provided here.

Schooling Details and Requirements (Credit Hours)

The general requirements for acquiring your massage therapy schooling are set by the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy.  These rules and regulations are simple, but you must successfully complete and obtain a certain amount of schooling prior to receiving your certification.

If you have received your massage therapy schooling outside of the state of Arkansas, then the Board must accept and approve your training hours.  The program that you attended must include in-classroom instruction and meet the same required in-state school rules set by the Board.

In the state of Arkansas, to be considered eligible for clinical practice, you must complete the following requirements:

  • Successfully complete one hundred (100) hours of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and contraindications for massage therapy.  Additionally, the Board requires you to complete another one hundred (100) hours of technical training.  Technical training includes personal hygiene, sanitation, ethics and professional standards as they apply to your massage therapy licensure.
  • You must have on file at the school you attend, a recently issued statement declaring that you are in good health and have tested negatively for tuberculosis.
  • Have student liability insurance and provide proof thereof.

All of your hands-on, clinical style massage courses must be met and supervised by a qualified instructor.  You must have no more than fifty-hours of student massage to meet this particular requirement.

Total, the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy requires you to obtain 500 in-class hours of education credits.  After you have completed this requirement, you may then take the MBLEx to further reach your goal of becoming a licensed Arkansas Massage Therapist.  The following is a breakdown of the exact hours you must obtain:

  • 175 hours of anatomy, physiology, pathology and contraindications of massage therapy;
  • 225 hours of technique;
  • 25 hours of hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and heliotherapy;
  • 25 hours of hygiene and infection control;
  • 25 hours of massage therapy law, business management, and professional ethics; and
  • 25 hours of related subjects as approved by the Board.

Licensure Qualifying Programs

The following information is a partial list of some of the approved massage therapy schools available to you in the state of Arkansas.  Take the time to contact and research these schools before you make a decision as to which one you would like to attend.  For additional school listings, you can visit this website.


Body Wellness Massage Academy

1212 Military Road, Suite D

Benton, AR 72015


Phone: 501-315-4325


Touch of Health (website is in process)

School of Massage & Bodywork

Camden, AR 71711


Phone: 870-231-9515


Northwest Arkansas School of Massage

3-A Dogwood Ridge

Eureka Springs, AR 72632


Phone: 479-366-3583


Blue Cliff College

2503 Hiram Davis Place

Fayetteville, AR 72703


Phone: 800-960-3346


The Edge School of Massage

1211 W. James Street

Fayetteville, AR 72703


Phone: 479-443-3646


Arkansas Institute of Massage

2120 South Waldron Road, Suite 306C

Fort Smith, AR 72903


Phone: 479-484-0100


Licensing/Certification Requirements

Once you have taken and successfully passed the MBLEx, the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy deems you as better-qualified and ready to finish pursuing your licensure.  In addition to taking the MBLEx, you must also pass the Arkansas Law Exam and a 150 question written text covering anatomy and physiology.  This particular test includes multiple-choice questions, true/false questions and matching exercises, which incorporate massage anatomy charts.

After your schooling and exams are successfully completed, you may then apply for your massage therapy license.  To access the application along with the instructions for applying, you may visit this website, which includes a printable version of the application.  The following are the instructions and requirement for applying for your massage therapy license in the state of Arkansas:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age, or older.
  • Meet all qualifications set forth in the Arkansas Massage Therapy Act, which can be found by following this link provided.
  • Have a High School Degree or a GED
  • Be medically tested and determined free of infectious tuberculosis (TB)
  • Submit to a criminal background check with the results sent directly to the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy from the issuing agency.
  • Complete 500 hours of in-classroom coursework from a Board approved massage therapy school.
  • If you graduated from an out-of-state massage therapy school, then you must meet the required schooling regulations and submit your transcripts to the Board.
  • Pass the MBLEx and the Arkansas Massage Therapy Law examinations.

Along with your application, you must also submit the following required documents to the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy:

  • Your completed application for licensure
  • $180 Cashier’s Check or Money Order
  • A Valid Photo ID – this may include your driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, passport or US Military ID
  • A copy of your Social Security Card
  • A copy of your High School Diploma and/or Transcripts, College Diploma and/or Transcripts, or your GED
  • TB Test results on an official letterhead from a qualified medical doctor (excluding Chiropractors)
  • Massage School Diploma
  • Massage School Transcript
  • MBLEx or NCBTMB exam Score Report
  • Criminal Background Check

To receive a criminal background check, please contact or visit the Arkansas State Police Headquarters.  The following is the contact information that you will need:

Arkansas State Police Headquarters

1 State Police Plaza Drive

Little Rock, AR 72209


Phone: 501-618-8500

To mail in your completed application, along with the above-mentioned required documents, you may send it to:

Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy (ASBMT)

P.O. Box 2019

Little Rock, AR 72203

Phone: 501-683-1448

Fax: 501-683-1426

Key Agencies/Boards involved and their contact information

The Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy is main governing organization that oversees and regulates the massage industry in the state of Arkansas alone.  This Board was created to upgrade the standards of practice and education for those, including you, who wish to pursue a massage therapy practice in the state of Arkansas.

This Board consists of seven members, who are all appointed by the Governor for a term of three years.  Six of these members are actual licensed massage therapists under the Arkansas chapter and only one is an owner of a massage therapy school.  Additionally, one of these members represents the general public as a whole and does not engage in any massage therapy actions.

If you would like to contact the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy or any reason, feel free to consider the following:

The Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy

101 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 206

P.O. Box 2019

Little Rock, AR 72203

Phone: 501-683-1448

Fax: 501-683-1426


Requirements to Start a Massage Business in Arkansas

Starting a massage therapy business in Arkansas is quite easy.  First, begin by visiting the Arkansas Business Center for further assistance.  As an entrepreneur you are required to pay and submit to the county, city and state tax laws.

To find out more, visit this link provided for you.  Additionally, you will need to decide whether you would like to operate as a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation.  Whatever you decide upon, be sure that you understand the tax information associated with each entity.

For further information regarding starting your own business in the state of Arkansas, you can read about it here.

Massage License Renewal Process

In order for you to renew your massage therapy license in the state of Arkansas, you must complete eighteen (18) hours of Continuing Education (CE) hours.  Additionally, you must also fully complete and return the renewal application along with all required CE documentation.

The renewal application can be found by following this link provided for you.  If your application is not completed in full, then it will be returned to you and you may be subjected to late fees or penalties deemed necessary by the Board.

As for the required Continuing Education hours, you must submit and approve them by the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy.  If you have any Continuing Education courses that require approval, please visit this webpage where you can find the Continuing Education Provider Application and Request form.

For renewal, you are not required to submit a tuberculosis test, however you are required to pay the Board a renewal fee of $80 as a Cashier’s Check or Money Order ONLY, payable to ASBMT.  Practicing without a renewed license is against the law and if you do so, you may be subject to penalties and fines as assessed by the Board.

Massage License Reciprocity

If you are an out-of-state applicant and hold a current massage therapy license issued by another state and after receiving an Arkansas massage therapy license, then you may apply for an upgrade to master massage therapist or massage therapy instructor by providing appropriate continuing education credits.

Note: Specific personnel information, office addresses, fees, payments etc. may change over time. Although we do our best to keep this site up to date, please ensure you contact the state board to obtain the most recent information at the time of your application.

Here is a list of the top massage therapy schools near you. We have an arrangement with all of them that allow you to request information for FREE. Please do so and take that first step toward a better future.

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Video lesson

Learn how to become a massage therapy school teacher in Arkansas here.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

6 comments on “Massage Therapy School Requirements in Arkansas
  1. nancy says:

    What would it take for me to transfer my Lisc. from texas to Arkansas? I have been a therapist for 15 years and am still active in massages.. Let me know what I would have to do to attain a Arkansas Lics..
    Thank you,

  2. Has the Arkansas market become over saturated with too many therapists? How long does it take a new massage therapist to establish a firm foothold in the market?

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Jeff – most markets are seeing a growth in massage professionals due to the economic forecast over the growing demand. That said, demand for services is outpacing the growth of supply (practitioners). Anyone can carve out a niche in this market as it is very fragmented. Your own skills, expertise, networking and approach to the profession will determine your success. We have seen folks with the right mindset and approach do very well within their first year or two.

  3. Mary says:

    In Arkansas for the 500 hours hands on, how long is that? EA. months, years?

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