Ohio Massage Therapy Schools, Licensing & Certification

Ohio was the first state to offer a license to qualified massage therapists and to also classify it as a “limited branch of the practice of medicine.”  The state licensed its first applicant in the year 1916.

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

Brief Summary of the Main Highlights

You must attend an Ohio-approved Massage Therapy School, take the state licensing exam, pay a $150 application fee, and obtain a vendor’s license to practice massage therapy in Ohio.

Schooling Details and Requirements (Credit Hours)

You must complete a minimum of 750 credit hours of schooling in no less than nine months from an institution that operates on an approved curriculum.  Finally, you must take and pass the MBLEx.

Licensure Qualifying Programs

There are 68 approved schools in the state.  Some of these include:

  • Beckfield College: 225 Pictoria Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45246 – mhollis@beckfield.edu
  • Ehove Career Center: 316 West Mason Road, Milan, OH 44846 – kfox@ehove.net
  • Hamrick School: 1156 Medina Rd., Medina, OH 44256 – val@hamrickschool.edu
  • Kentucky Academy of Medical Massage: 5016 Main Street, Mays Lick, KY 41055
  • Miami-Jacobs Career College: Columbus 150 E. Gay St., Columbus, OH 43215  –  joanie.krein@staff.miamijacobs.edu
  • Stark State College: 6200 Frank Avenue NW, Canton, OH 44720  –  JBeacon@starkstate.edu
  • Stautzenberger College-Brecksville: 8001 Katherine Blvd. Brecksville OH 44141 – jebruml@stautzenberger.com
  • The Gibbons School of Massage Therapy: 3690 Orange Place, Beachwood, OH 44122
  • Wayne College: 1901 Smucker Rd. Orville OH 44667 –  jbeacon@starkstate.edu
  • Northcoast Medical Training Academy: 1832 St. Rt. 59, Kent Ohio  44224.  330-678-6600

You can click this link for the entire list of Approved Schools.

Licensing/Certification Requirements

You must have a massage therapy diploma to be able to practice in Ohio.  If you have any type of derogatory mark on your record, you will be licensed on a case-by-case basis.

You can get all the applications, instructions, and other forms here.  The application fee is a flat $150.  Make sure to enclose all forms and required documents or the license will not be issued and the fee will not be refunded.

Key Agencies/Boards Involved and their Contact Information

Rules and licensing are handled by the State Medical Board of Ohio which can be found at the State Medical Board office website.

You can contact the Ohio Medical Board of Massage Therapy for more information here:
30 East Broad St. 3rd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-466-3934

Requirements to Start a Massage Business in Ohio (Massage Establishment License)

You must collect sales tax from your clients and report, remit, and relinquish the information to the state.  The wall certificate you receive must be displayed in the place where a major portion of your practice is conducted.

To practice, you must then obtain one vendor’s license for each location at $25 per license.  If you operate at a fixed location, you must contact the county auditor where your practice is located for the required forms.

However, if you have no fixed location, you must obtain a transient vendor’s license from the State Department of Taxation for $25, the application of which can be found here.

Massage License Renewal Process

You have to renew your license every two years; and the cost is $50/ 2 years.   You will need to send in your application along with your money at the same time.

Applications are processed in the order that they are received, so make sure that you don’t cause yourself unwanted delays by forgetting to complete the application.

You can download the application form here.  You can find more information on fees and other charges on the State board’s website.  In any event, you may renew by mail or online.

Massage License Reciprocity

Ohio does recognize licenses issued by other states, if you have practiced massage therapy for the last five years.  While reciprocity is not generally practiced, holding a current massage therapy license from another state does qualify you to take the MBLEx and to apply for an Ohio license for $150.

Here are some other requirements:

  • If your license is not current, you may apply for an Ohio license as long as you attended an Ohio-approved school.
  • You should request an application for approval be sent to your school if you graduated from a non-approved institution. 
  • Approval time is about ten to twelve weeks.
  • If you are without an Ohio issued massage therapy license, you are only allowed to practice relaxation massage.
  • Ohio will verify your license information to another state for a fee of $50.

Continuing Education

You can add services to your practice by attending classes to gain certification for things like acupuncture, cosmetic therapy, and even chiropractic services.  You can get all the information you need about how to continue your education on the State board’s site.

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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Link to video lesson.

Find out how to teach massage in Ohio 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+

Posted in Certification, Massage Therapy Schools, State by State Requirements
15 comments on “Ohio Massage Therapy Schools, Licensing & Certification
  1. Jess says:

    thank you, this guide is really useful. I’ve been researching massage programs in Ohio, scratching my head at how to figure out which ones are worth the tuition, time and effort. I wish I could meet each of the professors because to me, the people teaching the classes make all the difference. Your list included a couple of schools I had not considered. Can you provide any detail on what makes the schools on your list, in your eyes, better than others in the state? Thank you!!

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Jess, the schools listed here are examples, not endorsements from us. we are in the process of compiling the best schools that we think are the best. now that said, have you downloaded our free checklist which walks you through everything you need to consider when evaluating schools? this will help you narrow in the best school for you. please let us know your feedback. this is the number one resource downloaded by prospective students and the feedback we have had to date has been stellar

  2. Candie says:

    I am very interested in massage therapy, are there any approved online schools for Ohio that I can apply to?

  3. Raymond Mason says:

    Is the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy valid for an Ohio license?

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Raymond, this depends on Ohio’s massage license reciprocity requirements. You will have to run your Costa Rica credentials by the board and obtain a determination. Where are you in the process right now?

  4. Ashley C says:

    I am from Kentucky and I am wanting to transfer my license. am I allowed to do ONLY relazation massage until I am fully licensed in ohio?
    and is there any website i can find out how many hours i need in each subject to apply for my license. since the fee is 150 and is non refundable i want to be 100% sure that I will be approved before I send them my check.

    Thank you
    Ashley

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Ashley, we recommend calling the board directly because sometimes the websites are inaccurate. Yes, you have to be licensed to practice as a professional. You can practice leisurely or voluntarily regardless of certification however.

  5. ashley says:

    So what do you mean by Leisurely or Voluntarily. I do have a Massage Therapy diploma just not in the state of ohio. would I be able to just have my kentucky License verified for $50 and then start working as a massage therapist for the time being until I can get my application submitted. (SO MUCH PAPERWORK!!!)

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Ashley – the rule of thumb is “no license no pay”. In other words you cannot legally professionally charge for work that you are not qualified to do, or better said, the client is not required to pay you. In your case, you need to have what the state you are practicing in requires, a license/certification. Thus you must fully go through the reciprocity process and validate your credential before you start. That said, not one can stop anyone from physically giving someone a massage anytime you want, whether or not a person is qualified. Does this make sense?

  6. steve says:

    I have a question. I haven’t been able to find the answers on any state website.

    I am currently living in Thailand. I have studied several types of massage here and been certified in this country. I have been practicing massage for awhile now here, but I’d like to know if I am able to transfer these certificates back to Ohio ? After all, isn’t the best place to learn the Thai massage in Thailand ??

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Steve

      The US has its own regulations. In most cases, you will have to fulfill the US requirements. That said, depending on the school you get in touch with, and the State Board’s rules as of the time you apply, we suggest you go through a full credit evaluation process so they can tell you which of your credits are transferable and applicable to the US requirements.

      • steve says:

        Yes. I have been researching the regulations required by my state. It appears it’s all about the money. They want me to get a degree in massage, which would cost somewhere around $10,000. Then I am supposed to get a certification, which is another $9,000. I’ve looked over the ‘classes’ required and it’s a joke. Then you have testing to take for another fee. A lot of it is book work and NOT hands on.

        This is the sad part about America. We make things more expensive and waste more time than we actually need to.

        • Neal Lyons says:

          Because your education and training is likely overseas, unfortunately the US does not consider that sufficient. It is the same for the highest level of medical practitioners (surgeons) as well.

          • steve says:

            Yes, I know the US does not consider it enough. It’s all about the money and NOT what you know.

            This is for massage. It is a lot different than being a surgeon.

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