North Dakota Massage Therapy Schools & Licensing

There are less than 1,000 credentialed massage therapists in North Dakota making it a good place to become a therapist, particularly with the population growth the State is experiencing. Majority of the growth in population is in the blue collar sector, making massage services even more sought after. More information you need to become one is provided below.

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

Brief Summary of the Main Highlights

You need to be at least 18 years old, be of good moral character, and have good temperate habits.  A student must receive the appropriate education and pass the requisite exam.  Having a criminal record does not bar a person from obtaining a license unless the Board determines that the offense has a direct bearing on the applicant’s ability to serve as a  massage therapist or if the person is not sufficiently rehabilitated.

Schooling Details and Requirements (Credit Hours)

You must have 750 classroom hours of education received from one or more schools within 5 years of the date of application for licensure.  Correspondence and on-line courses are not accepted; however, live, remote education by an instructor is acceptable.  The 750 hours include:

  • Pathology – 45 hours
  • Anatomy and Physiology – 150 hours
  • First Aid, CPR, Hygiene – 10 hours
  • Kinesiology – 90 hours(includes action, insertion, and nerves)
  • Professional Ethics – 30 hours
  • Business Practice – 30 hours
  • Practical Instruction – 300 hours
  • Benefits, Contraindications, Universal Precautions, History, Legalities, Body Mechanics, Ethics, Standards – 125 hours

Costs vary by institution. For a rough idea on cost to attend a good school, read this article.

You must have a passing score on any one of the following exams:

  • The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
  • The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
  • The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB).
  •  The Board requires you to continue with your education after licensing and obtain 18 continuing education (CE) credits a year.

Licensure Qualifying Programs

Currently only three schools are listed on the North Dakota Board of Massage website:

  • Josef’s School of Hair Design, 2011 S. Washington, Grand Forks, ND  58201, (701)-772-2728
  • The Salon Professional Academy, 4377 15th Avenue SW, Fargo, ND  58103, (701)-478-1772, ext. 103
  • Williston State College, 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND  58801, (701)-774-4293

These schools are listed on the board’s website and can be accessed at this link of Approved Schools.

Licensing/Certification Requirements

When you receive your test results, you are required to send a photocopy of your test results to the Board with a $150 fee.  You are also required to send a copy of your high school diploma (or equivalent), a passport-sized photo, a statement from a licensed physician verifying that you are free of contagious disease or that you have been sufficiently trained to prevent the spread of communicable disease, as well as the three forms found at these links:


Compliance Affidavit

School Affidavit

You need to mail all forms to:

North Dakota State Board of Massage

Attention:  Office Administrator
PO Box 218
Beach, ND 58621

Key Agencies / Boards involved and their Contact Information

Massage licensing is controlled by the North Dakota Board of Massage. For more information you can reach them at (701)-872-4895 or check their website:  ND Board of Massage.

Requirements to Start a Massage Business in North Dakota (Massage Establishment License)

To establish a massage business, you must provide a therapy room, hallway, and waiting room that are clean and sanitary.  Mirrors and windows must be maintained in a fashion that provides privacy for the person receiving massage therapy.

You must provide a proper place for dressing and undressing for those receiving massage so that they are comfortable. You may not serve alcohol to clients and your license must be prominently displayed at the place where you practice.

Most governments require businesses to register the name of the business in an Assumed Name Index located at the county courthouse.  Before opening a business in North Dakota, you should check with your local city or county government for any requirements, licenses or fees they may have for opening a business.

Massage License Renewal Process

Licenses must be renewed yearly, but CE credits only have to be sent in every other year.  You must submit sufficient proof of your continuing education which includes the date, time and place of the instruction, the name of the program or course, the name(s) of the instructor(s) and what institution provided the program or course.  All courses have to be pre-approved by the Board.

You may receive your CE credits by telephone, internet, correspondence course or videotape as well as classroom, but it must be approved by the Board ahead of time.  If your license ends in an odd number, you will submit your CE credits on odd numbered years and if your license ends in an even number, you will submit your documentation on even numbered years to the address listed above.  A list of courses can be found on the Board’s website at this link:  Approved CE Courses.

It costs $100 to renew your license and it can be done online.  The online system can be accessed using this link:  Online Renewal.

The application fee must be received on or before January 1 of each year or the license is deemed expired.   A license that has expired may be renewed within a year of the expiration date as long as the fee is paid and evidence of continuing education is submitted.  If it has been over a year since the license expired, the applicant will have to pass the current licensing examination again.

Massage License Reciprocity

If you have graduated from a school of massage that is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education, the Board may approve this alternate education.

Any person licensed in another state that is a member in good standing in that state and whose education is commensurate with North Dakota requirements may obtain a North Dakota license for $150.  For this you must submit a copy of your license and proof of your good standing to practice massage in that state. You will also have to provide a proof of being employed continuously and legally in the field in a state with similar licensure standards. If you meet all these requirements, the board may grant a license without asking for another exam.

Each state has a different procedure and fee for obtaining proof of licensure in good standing so you should check with your state to determine what you need to do to have them verify your license for North Dakota.

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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Learn how to become a massage therapy school instructor in North Dakota 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+

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