South Dakota Massage Therapy Schools & Licensure

South Dakota is home to some of the United State’s largest attractions including Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park and the Black Hills. Here, you can choose from many cities and towns to begin your massage therapy business. Being such a tourist driven state, South Dakota is a desirable place to pursue your professional career.

Become a part of a budding industry with only 730 registered credentialed practitioners, the competition is very low and you can reach great heights here. In this article you will find all of the information you need to pursue your massage therapy license in the state of South Dakota. To further your research, be sure to visit the South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy website, or contact them directly by following this link here.

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

Brief Summary of the Main Highlights

Similar to that of other states, South Dakota has its very own massage therapy board known as the South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy. As an aspiring massage therapist, you must meet certain criteria and requirements set by the Board before you can begin practicing professionally.

You must meet certain education and training requirements along with submission of a completed application and supporting documents. Continue reading to find out more about what is required of you in the state of South Dakota.

Schooling Details and Requirements (Credit Hours)

In order for you to become licensed as a massage therapist, the state of South Dakota requires you to have at least 500 hours of in-class, supervised education and training from a Board approved and recognized school or program. These 500 hours must consist of the following:

  • 125 hours of training in the body’s system and anatomy, physiology and kinesiology.
  • 200 hours of training in massage and bodywork assessment, theory and application.
  • 40 hours of pathology training.
  • 10 hours of business and ethics trainings with a minimum of 6 hours in ethics
  • 125 hours of additional training in a related field to complete the entire study program.

After you have completed the above-mentioned education and training requirements, you must take and pass one of the national exams for licensing. The Board has approved the following examinations:

  • NCETM – The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage; this exam costs $225
  • NCETMB – The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork; this exam also costs $225
  • NBCA – Massage Therapy Certification Exam; this exam costs $275
  • MBLEx – The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards; this exam costs $195

Licensure Qualifying Programs

The South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy currently recognizes certain “facilities”, schools and programs that are approved for you to take your massage therapy education and training. These include the following:

Spring Bath House School of Massage
1111 S. Miller Avenue
Mitchell, SD 57301
Phone: 605-999-0064

Headlines Academy of Massage
508 6th Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: 877-395-9809

Globe University
5101 South Broadband Lane
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Phone: 866-437-0705

Sioux Falls Therapeutic Massage & Education
4201 South Oxbox Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Phone: 605-328-1612

South Dakota School of Massage Therapy
902 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Phone: 605-334-4422

As an addition to these approved schools and programs, the Board has also recognized other facilities if it has been approved by a state board of massage therapy in the state where the facility is located or is an accredited facility by one or more of the following accredited bodies:

  • Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS)
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSCT)
  • Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

Licensing/Certification Requirements

To apply for your massage therapy license, the South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy requires the following to be submitted directly to their office:

  • A completed application, which you can find by following the link here.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75.
  • A licensing fee of $45, which is refundable if your application were to be denied.
  • A copy of your Birth Certificate or driver’s license.
  • A copy of verification of any name changes.
  • Proof of education, including the following:
    • A copy of your high school diploma, or equivalent.
    • Proof of at least 500 hours of massage therapy training.
    • Complete the Verification of Education Form and submit it as well.
  • Proof of a passing score on one of the national massage therapy certification exams.
  • A Verification letter from each state you are or have been licensed in along with a copy of your license.
  • Proof of Professional Liability Insurance of at least $250,000.

Key Agencies/Boards involved and their contact information

The South Carolina Board of Massage Therapyis the governing organization that oversees and regulates the massage industry in the state of South Dakota. The Board’s mission is “to protect the health and safety of the public by mandatory licensure of qualified persons and enforcement of the statutes, rules, and regulations governing the practice of massage therapy, including processing and investigating properly filed complaints and holding hearings as warranted.”

If you would like to contact the Board, please feel free to consider the following information:

Jennifer Stalley
Executive Secretary
P.O. Box #340, 105 S. Euclid Ave. Suite C
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-224-1721
Fax: 1-888-425-3032

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

If you are interested in starting and owning your own massage business, a good place to start is the “Business” page of the Official South Dakota State Government Website. Here you will find all of the information you will need to pursue your dreams of owning your own massage business in the state. You must consider and complete the following:

  • Write a Business Plan.
  • Get Business Assistance and Training.
  • Choose a Business Location.
  • Finance Your Business.
  • Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business.
  • Register a Business Name.
  • Get a Tax Identification Number.
  • Register for State and Local Taxes.
  • Obtain a Business License and Permit.
  • Understand Employer Responsibilities.

Massage License Renewal Process

To renew your massage therapy license, you must complete at least 8 hours of continuing education credits every two years. The continuing education courses must follow the guidelines and rules set by the Board. Additionally, the course provider must be approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or American Medical Massage Association, or both.

To see the full continuing education requirements for the state of South Dakota, you may visit this webpage.

As of 2014, you must show proof of the 8 hours of required continuing education in even-numbered years. Additionally, you must submit a completed application with the necessary renewal fee of $75.

Massage License Reciprocity

Application for massage licensure by reciprocity in the state of South Dakota includes the following:

  • Complete the Application for Licensure by Reciprocity and submit it to the following:
    • South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy
      P.O. Box 340
      105 S. Euclid Avenue, Suite C
      Pierre, SD 57501-0340

Other details are:

  • Nonrefundable renewal fee of $75.
  • Licensing fee of $45 (refundable if your application is denied).
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or driver’s license.
  • Verification of any name changes.
  • Proof of Education:
    • A copy of high school diploma, or an equivalent.
    • Proof of at least 500 hours of specific training in massage therapy.
  • Proof of Licensure by a State that offers licensing reciprocity (a copy of license).
  • Verification of State Licensure and Reciprocity from each state licensed in.
  • Proof of a passing score on an accepted national certification exam.
  • Proof of Professional Liability Insurance of at least $250,000.

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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Successful careers begin at the Milan Institute. We offer quality hands-on training, experienced faculty and a staff committed to helping you realize your goals.


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Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.


  • Massage Therapy
Locations:  Vista

Learn how to become a massage instructor in South 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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